The Satan Sleuth Series – Michael Avallone

michael avallone satan sleuth seriesPhilip St. George III, aka the Satan Sleuth, is wealthy, vengeful, sexy, equipped with ridiculous gadgets, and he loves solving spooky mysteries. Yeah, he’s basically a mix of Batman, James Bond and Scooby Doo. This is a series of three novels that I first read about in Paperbacks from Hell. I spent a stupid amount of time and money tracking down old paperback copies, but I saw a few days ago that you can actually buy kindle versions off Amazon.

satan sleuth fallen angel avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #1:  Fallen Angel
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1974)
This is the Satan Sleuth’s origin story. A gang of weirdos break into a young millionaire’s house and kill his wife in the name of Satan. He gets super upset and decides to hunt them down for revenge. Luckily for him, the Satanists come back to his house right after he has filled it with Satanist catching equipment. What follows is essentially a slightly less violent version of Home Alone.

This is the most dated book in the collection. Of the four criminals, one is described as “A walking moron, even if she was the best and free-est piece of tail in the world. With the biggest boobs.” She is repeatedly and brutally beaten and berated by her boyfriend for being dim. The Satan Sleuth shows her no leniency despite the fact that she was clearly coerced into partaking in the murder by her brutal and manipulative partner.

Another of the Satanists is “gay as a green goose when the bare asses were down”. He is also referred to as a “Fruitman”, and a “damn pineapple”, and it is insinuated that he gets off on brutally murdering a woman because he is gay. This kind of stuff is pretty distasteful in 2019, but this book was a written almost half a century ago by a man who was approaching 50. It’s hardly surprising.

satan sleuth avallone

Early on in the novel, the hero decides to do some research on Satanism so that he can understand his enemies. He gives his lawyer a list of books on the occult and has him track these down. I recognised a few of the names on the list, but some I had never heard of before, despite their amazing titles. I had to do some sleuthing myself to figure out which were real and which were Michael Avallone’s own creations.

satan sleuth book list.jpg

Possession by T.K. Oesterreich, The Satanic Mass by H.T.F. Rhodes, During Sleep by Robert Crookall, The Magus by Francis Barrett, Timeless Earth by Peter Kolosimo, Gypsies, Demons and Divinities by Elwood B. Trigg, Your Sixth Sense by Brad Steiger and The Satanic Rituals by Anton La Vey are all very real books.

Where the Devil Walks by Marcel Alevoinne sounds great, but the author’s name struck me as rather similar to Michael Avallone. It turns out that Marcel Alevoinne was actually a pseudonym that Avallone used to use to order take-out.

Lucifer, My King by Jean-Anne de Pré also sounds incredible, but I discovered that Avallone used Jean Anne de Pré as a pseudonym for several gothic novels including The Third Woman, A Sound of Dying Roses, Warlock’s Woman, Die, Jessica, Die and Aquarius, My Evil. Unfortunately, I can find no evidence to suggest that a book called Lucifer, My King was ever written

Mark Dane, the author of Beyond our Ken is yet another of Avallone’s many pseudonyms.

This leaves one book, The Blask Mass (sic) by Sidney Stuart. I couldn’t find anything on this one online. It turns out that Sidney Stuart was the name of one of Michael Avallone’s early agents, so it’s likely that book is also a fake.

 

satan sleuth the werewolf walks tonight avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #2: The Werewolf Walks Tonight
Warner Paperback Library – 1974

This one is about a werewolf instead of Satanists. It was not published as part of the UK Mews edition of the series, so my copy of this book and my copy of Devil, Devil (the third book in the series) are both labelled #2 on their covers. I didn’t like this one as much as the other two. Maybe the Brits felt the same and that’s why they chose to leave it out.

satan sleuth number 2Two #2s

The most interesting part of this book was the way it pushes the reader back and forth between believing/not believing in the supernatural. There are times when the text flat out says that nothing supernatural is occurring and other times when it says the opposite. In truth, I’m a bit unsure as to whether this was intentional or just sloppy writing. The time sequence in this one is confusing too, and I can’t help but feel that it would have benefited with a bit of proofreading.

Oh, and this book features another mentally challenged woman with “splendid round breasts” being brutally raped. She is referred to as both “a peacherino” and “prime cut beef”.

satan sleuth devil, devilThe Satan Sleuth #3: Devil, Devil
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1975)

This was probably my favourite out of the three. Not only does the Satan Sleuth find himself in the clutches of a coven of evil Satanists, but the ringleader of the coven is named Catharine Copely! Any Satan Sleuth worth their salt will surely recognize the Satanic relevance of the name Copely. Canon Copely-Syle, the strange mix between Montague Summers and Aleister Crowley, is the antagonist in Dennis Wheatley’s classic To the Devil – a Daughter. The Satan Sleuth series was written more than 20 years after Wheatley’s book, so maybe Avallone had read it and decided to pay homage. (If not, there’s some weird synchronicity going on. Copely Woods is also name given by Budd Hopkins to an area of high UFO activity in the Eastern United States.)

The women in this one still have big jugs, but they’re not as dim as the ladies in the other entries of this series. The main antagonist here is female, but unfortunately, she meets her doom after being charmed by the Satan Sleuth’s snake. She decides not to sacrifice him to Satan after seeing him lying naked, unconscious and strapped to the altar. “But this man – this intruder – whoever he truly was – was gifted in every conceivable department. He was superbly endowed. Pan would envied him for his incredible appendage. The principal male tendon was a thing of beauty, even dormant and idle. The Ram’s staff!” Sister Sorrow may not have been mentally deficient, but she was unable to resist a nice juicy cock.

 

Avallone is infamous for the rate at which he wrote paperback fiction. To be honest, I got the sense that these three books were churned out fairly quickly. There’s a few spelling mistakes in each of these novels, and Avallone is remarkably fond of sentence fragments. Really. So many it’s silly. Seriously. Also, in the last book it seems that he’s using the word “cockamamie” at least once every two pages.

When my copies of these books arrived, I saw the following line on the back cover of Fallen Angel and was instantly satisfied with my purchase.
satan sleuth dennis wheatleyDennis Wheatley, for any Philistines reading this, is the author that made me want to start this blog. After having read all three Satan Sleuth novels, I have to say that aside from dodgy writing and less than progressive depictions of women and homosexuals, Avallone’s books have very little in common with Wheatley’s. Black magic is a powerful force in Wheatley’s novels, but the supernatural is always presented as a farce in the Satan Sleuth series. Avallone would later claim that this was the reason that this series didn’t get more attention (source). I reckon he was right about this. By the time I got to the third book, I knew that anything spooky that happened would be explained away later on. This cuts out a lot of suspense. Why did he write his books this way? Well, I reckon that it had something to do with the fact that Avallone, despite what it says on the blurb at the back of Fallen Angel, was not nearly as knowledgeable on Satanism and Black Magic as our Dennis.

satan sleuth avallone occult expert

At one point he refers to the werewolf as a Lycanthrophobe, and when his hero is going up against a team of Satanists, Avallone has him read a bunch of books on ESP, Ancient Aliens and fairies. There’s no rhyme or reason to the Satanism presented in the Satan Sleuth novels either. The Satanists in the first novel are Satanists by name only. Sure they murder a woman for the glory of Satan, but there’s no real spiritual or philosophical motivation behind their crime.  None of them believe in what they are doing. They’re just a bunch of drugged out social outcasts who occasionally say dumb things like, “God sucked. Lucifer was right. Make way for Beelzebub!”

The last book presents a Satanism far closer to the Satanism presented in Wheatley’s novels, but unlike Wheatley, Avallone doesn’t manage to explain why the Satanists are acting the way they are. They’re just bad for the sake of being bad here. There’s a few references to the Church of Satan that suggest that Avallone didn’t really know what he was talking about.

2

Anton LaVey’s Satanism deserves to be criticized, but it’s not fair to present his followers as the kind of people who murder and decapitate young women. I’m not misrepresenting things here either. Sister Sorrow, the villain of Devil, Devil is seen reading from The Satanic Bible only a page after Avallone quotes from the Satanic Rituals, LaVey’s companion text to his Satanic Bible. I can’t imagine any way of reading this that doesn’t suggest that the fiends in this book are LaVeyan Satanists.

satan sleuth lavey quote

Satanism exists in so many forms, and it’s such a silly concept to begin with, that I’m not going to hold it against an author if they mix it up a bit. The Satan Sleuth series is far more straight forward than Paradise Lost or Goethe’s Faust. In Avallone’s work, Satan and his followers are categorically bad. I’m fine with this. I wasn’t exactly expecting profound philosophical fiction when I bought these books. These are fun adventure stories, and they work as such.

In Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix writes that “Avallone planned two more Satan Sleuth novels—Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot—but Warner Books never bought them, so he never wrote them.” This is not true. Both Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot were written, but as of today they remain unpublished. David Avallone, Michael’s son, has confirmed that he is working on having the final two Satan Sleuth novels published later on this year. (David also helped me figure out where some of the books mentioned in Fallen Angel came from. Thanks David!) I’ll be reviewing the final entries in the series as shortly after they’re released as possible!

The Book of the Circle – K. Whalen

k whalen the book of the circle.jpgThe Book of the Circle – K. Whalen
Self Published – 2006ish

I’ve never been able to accept the atheistic Church of Satan’s incorporation of ritual into their practice. Performing a theatrical black mass as an inversion of Christian ritual is effective as a form of entertainment or parody, but through repetition, it becomes a rite in itself. By codifying and repeating these rituals, the practitioners lose self awareness and become hypocrites. I guess LaVeyan Satanists need this though. Without it they have nothing to suggest that they’re anything but a club of unpleasant losers. This little bit of superfluous mumbo-jumbo makes them a club of mysterious, unpleasant losers.

I thought this when I read The Satanic Bible years ago, and I never bothered reading my copy of The Satanic Rituals for the very same reason. Unfortunately for me, I found myself on the bus on Tuesday morning with nothing to read except a pdf copy of K. Whalen’s Book of the Circle on my phone. I had downloaded it a few weeks earlier with no idea of what it was about.

This book is about the different Satanic Feast Days and their corresponding rituals. It’s specifically LaVeyan Satanism being discussed here; the text repeatedly references La Vey and his work.

I’m not even going to bother writing anything more about this book’s contents. By any standards, this is an absolute load of shit. Who fucking cares about this rubbish? If anyone, it must be a bunch of loser geeks.

Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy – Doris Sanford

don't make me go back, mommy - doris sanfordDon’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book about Satanic Ritual Abuse
Doris Sanford

Multnomah – 1990

Jesus Shitting Christ, this book is miserable.

I searched for a copy of this book for several years. I went so far as annoying random people on facebook that lived in towns where the local library had a copy cataloged. I’d message these folks and ask them to go to that library to scan/photocopy the book for me. That plan never worked. When I finally saw a copy going for one cent, I bought it without thinking.

I was very excited when it arrived in the post, but as soon as I glanced inside, all excitement was replaced with sadness and discomfort. This book is truly horrible.

This is the story of 5 year old Allison. Allison attends a preschool where the teachers make her and the other children take part in depraved Satanic rituals. These kids are drugged, raped and forced to worship the Devil.

perverse satanic ritualWhat the fuck lads.

I think I thought I’d read through this and do my usual “haha, look how dumb and misinformed this evangelical Christian author is”, but this book is depressing, not amusing. Doris Sanford wrote this book to counsel the survivors of despicable child abuse, and while the events it depicts aren’t real, reading it is still a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

While we can rest assured that the events depicted in here never actually happened, we can not so easily discount the suffering that this book caused. It doubtlessly scared the shit out of any child unfortunate enough to get their hands on it, and I’m sure it terrified a few parents too. People will err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of their children, and when confronted with something as horrifying as this book, many people will throw rational thought out the window and join the witch hunt. This book is exactly the kind of thing that makes problems worse instead of better.

library slip mommyAt least I know that nobody in recent history had borrowed this book from the church library it originally belonged to.

I would be willing to forgive anyone for overreacting if they solemnly believed that children were being abused, but Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy is more than just an overreaction; it is particularly insidious fearmongering. It was released in July 1990, the same month that saw Raymond Buckey acquitted for the second and final time. Buckey was the defendant in the McMartin Preschool trial, perhaps the most notable case of “Satanic Ritual Abuse” and to this day the most expensive criminal trial in American history. While child abuse doubtlessly does occur, there has never been ever any proof of the existence of an organised Satanic cabal of paedophile pre-school teachers.

monster in meI got seriously bad vibes off these pages.

The Satanic Panic had been in session since 1980 when Michelle Remembers was published, and after 10 years with hundreds of claims but no evidence, things were beginning to cool off. Sanford’s book stoked the embers of paranoia and kept the conspiracy alive. Both the Martensville Satanic Sex Scandal and the Oak Hill Satanic Ritual Abuse Trial took place after the publishing of Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy. The latter case resulted in an innocent couple spending a combined total of over 40 years in prison. I’m fond of being dramatic, but realistically, this book could be partially to blame for either or both of these cases.

Doris Sanford wrote quite a few other books for children. While none were quite as mental as this one, the rest of her catalog is certainly curious. Some of these books like Brian is Adopted or Maria’s Grandma Gets Mixed Up, a classic tale of senility, are merely strange, but her 1989 opus, David Has Aids,  confirms her sadistic desires to petrify suffering children.david has aids sanfordmy body is filled with aidsdavid dying from aids

Children dying of AIDS isn’t remotely funny, but it’s hard not to laugh at how ill-conceived this book was. Seriously, what kind of a mental case would give this horrible rubbish to a child?

Sanford didn’t work alone though. Graci Evans worked as an illustrator for loads of her books, and the whole team at Multnomah publishing must have been mental to put this garbage out. Also, although the exact nature of her input is unclear, Lauren Statford was at least marginally involved in the creation of Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy (source). Statford is famous for writing Satan’s Underground, a discredited book in which she claimed to be a Satanic Ritual Abuse survivor. During the aforementioned McMartin Preschool trial, Statford sought out the parents of the supposedly abused children and told them that she had insider information on the abuse (source). Her story was so ridiculous that even these frightened parents didn’t believe her. After the whole Satanic Panic thing blew over, Statford changed her name to Laura Grabowski and claimed to be a Holocaust survivor. Statford was clearly a depraved, egomaniacal psychopath, and yet she was involved in the creation of a book for children. It is hard to believe that Sanford and co. meant this book to have a positive effect on anyone. Everyone involved in its creation of his horrible book was either a complete idiot or a sadistic pervert.

To this day, my post on Michelle Remembers is the largest source of traffic to this site. Because of this, I have considered reviewing more books on this topic, but while the Satanic Ritual Abuse phenomenon is fascinating, it’s also very depressing and I don’t enjoy reading books about it. I read gross, violent, perverted books all the time, but it’s these books by “Christian authors” that are the most ludicrous and upsetting.

 

 

The Catechism of Lucifer – Johannes Nefastos

catechism of luciferThe Catechism of Lucifer – Johannes Nefastos
Ixaxaar – 2013 (First published 2003, I think)

This is another one of those fancy boy Ixaxaar books. I enjoyed the first 3-4 pages and then got very bored. I guess a muggle like me just doesn’t have the brainpower to figure this stuff out.

The Catechism of Lucifer is a Luciferian version of Luther’s Catechism. I did enjoy the fact that the work of a Protestant was being attacked, but that fact also rendered this work a little less blasphemous. I mean, attacking the work of an enemy of Catholicism actually aligns you with the one true church, amirite? I haven’t read anything by Luther (and I hope to John Paul II that I never have to), so i’m sure a great deal of Nefasto’s sinister parody went over my head.

I liked the naughty version of the 10 commandments at the beginning, but the rest of the writing in here is extremely boring. Seriously dull stuff. I mean, I’m sure that some people find it really profound and all that, but I honestly had no idea what this Nefastos lad was talking about. Theosophical Luciferian Gnostic philosophy? Haha, no thanks bud. Thank goodness this was short.

I wonder about the type of people who take these books seriously. I reckon they’re either humourless black metal fans, or neckbeards who collect swords and use an image of an anime character as their Facebook profile pic.

This book doubtlessly looks cool on your shelf and will probably worry your Christian friends if they look through it, but if you want to gain insight from it, good fucking luck. It’s just a load of old crap if you ask me.

The Satanicons

satanicon - adrian clavex

Satanicon – Adrian Clavex
Blackstar Church – 1993

Picture this:

Times are hard. You’re trying to cut corners to make rent at the end of the month, and in a desperate attempt to avoid spending money on dinner, you ate half a jar of smooth peanut butter and most of a bag of dodgy chicken nuggets from the freezer last night. You consequently spent a good quarter of an hour on the toilet bowl this morning, expelling a behemoth shite from your cankered anus.

Now you’re halfway through your morning jog, but an itching from your hideous rim is making you terribly aware that you weren’t thorough enough when you were wiping your well-greased anal opening after this morning’s crap.

You race back home, and upon getting to the loo, you speedily grab a handful of toilet paper and use it to dab your now sweaty, turd besmirched, hemorrhoid-ridden shit-portal.

If Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible was the original massive shit, Adrian Clavex’s Satanicon would be the fouled piece of toilet paper you now hold in your hand.

I downloaded a PDF copy of this zine (I don’t think it’s fair to call it a book) out of curiosity after seeing images of a hard copy posted on a Facebook group. I don’t think I ever intended to actually read it, but I found myself with nothing else on the bus yesterday and decided to give it a lash.

adrian clavex
It isn’t worth reading. This is childish rubbish. There’s nothing of any merit in here. It’s an atheistic grimoire of “satanic” rituals. Truly, a piece of a trash. Anyone who could possibly follow the rituals outlined in this book without feeling terribly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves must be a loser indeed.

blackstar church

 

As I was researching this text, I came across a two-piece metal band also named Satanicon. As far as I can tell, there’s no link between the book and the band, but the band is definitely interesting enough to discuss here. I’m actually going to give y’all a trigger warning right now. I don’t like the idea of trigger warnings, but this is actually about to get very creepy. (Not creepy in the spooky, cobwebs and tombstones sense of the word either; I mean creepy in the depressing “Jesus Christ, the world is a sick place” sense of the word.)

I was quite surprised to discover that I had actually encountered one of Satanicon’s members’ music before. Almost a decade ago, I downloaded mp3s of a recording called Prayers to Satan by an act called Lord Asmodeus. It was awful crap, some loser ranting about Jesus through a pitch-shifter, but it’s still on my hard-drive. It turns out that the guy behind it also played bass in Satanicon. In 2015, he murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself. There’s a youtube video that was filmed in his apartment in which you can see his collection of occult books (mostly Crowley and Simon Necronomicons) and the Nazi flag on the wall in his living room. (Check out 45 seconds into that video for a serious cringe.)

nazi flag

Surprisingly, the bassist actually seems to have been the more normal of the duo. Joe Aufricht, the guitar player and now sole member of Satanicon recorded a tape full of rape jokes in the 90s that seems to have been more widely circulated than you’d imagine.  He was also the butt of the joke on a skit on one of nu-metal band Mushroomhead’s albums. He seems like the type of loser that everyone in the Ohio metal scene knows about and avoids.

joe aufricht is paedophile.jpgA physically repulsive scumbag with a low IQ

The more I look into this guy, the scarier he becomes. He used to distribute material around Ohio encouraging the legalization of intergenerational love. He ran/runs his own satanic order, and I made the mistake of downloading some of his literature. It’s genuinely disgusting, and I won’t be reviewing it. It’s just grooming material to trick kids into having sex with him. The guy is a fucking creep. He currently runs a very strange youtube channel of him making stupid noises and acting like a spastic. You’d imagine a disgusting paedophile would avoid using their real name for their perverted internet presence, but this guy is clearly very, very stupid. Check out this screenshot of his youtube feed:
joe aufricht is a sick man
This isn’t funny. It actually makes me feel a bit sick. This guy is a scary fucking creep. There’s an online petition out there calling for him to be barred from certain venues in Ohio because of his sexual misconduct, but I reckon it would be better to lock him up where he can’t do any damage. As childish and petty as it is, I couldn’t resist leaving him a comment:

brasseye joe

It’s not every day that you come across a band comprised of a murdering Nazi and a mentally deficient paedophile comedian. Perhaps the only thing about Satanicon that wasn’t surprising is the fact that they are absolutely terrible. Here’s a video of the two losers playing some awful shit. It’s a real pity that the bassist didn’t kill his bandmate instead of his girlfriend. I mean that sincerely.

I want to again highlight the fact that the band Satanicon has nothing to do with the aforementioned zine or its author. Sure, the zine was a bit lame, but Adrian Clavex seems like a very, very cool guy indeed when compared with the dorks from the other Satanicon.

One for the Rockers – Shelia Bristow Garner’s Night Music, Garrett Boatman’s Stage Fright and Frank Lauria’s The Foundling

horror rock
Heavy metal has a long history of borrowing elements from the realm of horror fiction. Anthrax wrote Among the Living about Stephen King’s The Stand, Iron Maiden have Phantom of the Opera, Moonchild and lots of other songs about literature, Metallica did Call of Kutulu and The Thing that Should not Be about Lovecraft’s work (their Ride the Lightning album also got its name from The Stand), and Reverend Bizarre were clearly big Dennis Wheatley fans, penning songs titled They Used Dark Forces and The Devil Rides Out. (This list is far from exhaustive; I’m limiting my examples to books I have reviewed on this site.) Its pummeling cacophony, sludgy riffs, piercing shrieks and gutteral growls make heavy metal sound like the events in a horror novel, and it’s not at all surprising that several authors have tried to switch things around by writing horror stories involving heavy rock music. (I’ve previously reviewed Ghoul, an awesome novel about an evil rock band, and Shock Rock, an anthology of rock’n’roll themed short fiction.) This post looks at three more horror novels that have chanced their arm wrestling the rock monster.

night music shelia bristow garnerNight Music – Sheila Bristow Garner

Pinnacle – 1992

This was an awful book. It’s about Kitty, a boring, plain-jane nurse, who falls in love with Michael, the singer in Fiasco, a shitty covers band. Soon after Kitty and Michael meet, a new guitarist joins the band, brainwashes Michael with a combination of hypnosis and rohypnol and then initiates him into a satanic cult. As Michael gets deeper and deeper into Satanism, his relationship with Kitty falls apart.

The characters are frustratingly flat – the good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad. Also, the members of Fiasco, the band, are suspiciously familiar – Michael leads, and David, he plays keys. Freddy’s cool but rude, and Jocko, well, he’s a party-dude.

The Satanism in here is never explained. To Sheila Bristow Garner, Satanists are just people who cut out other people’s hearts to worship the Devil. She assumes that her readers think so too. I was hoping that the horror in here would be of the supernatural variety because of cool skull on the cover, but I was sorely disappointed. The Satanic character is a good musician, and while he wouldn’t be the first character to receive his musical prowess from Satan, the book never explicitly suggests this. The most horrifying thing about this book is how dull it is. The main characters are so bland that I spent most of the book hoping that they would die horribly. This book is the literary equivalent of eating a stale cheese sandwich when you’re not hungry. Reading it feels like sitting on a train beside a person who has just farted. As soon as you realise what’s going on, you just want it to be over.

shelia bristow garnerThe author

This isn’t a horror novel. It’s a shitty romantic thriller that mentions Satanism. (There’s a surprising amount of loving, tender, consensual sex in here.) The rock ‘n’ roll element is limited to a few mentions of the blues-rock covers that the band perform. Everything about this book was disappointing. The cover art is by far the best part, and it doesn’t have much to do with the story. Look carefully and you’ll see that it pictures a bass guitar. The bassist in Fiasco is one of the least important characters in the story. He is never involved in any of the Satanic activity, yet the hand on the bass guitar is wearing a pentagram ring! Bullshit.

 

the foundling frank lauria
The Foundling – Frank Lauria

I quite liked Frank Lauria’s Doctor Orient series, and the cover of this book is an image of a devil-child playing an electric guitar. I had to read it.

I had read a rather unenthusiastic review of The Foundling before sitting down with the book, but it really wasn’t that bad. Sure, there’s only 4 or 5 real horror moments throughout, but I found the characters interesting enough to keep things afloat. This is the story of a retired rock-star and his wife adopting a preteen girl in an attempt to save their failing marriage. Unfortunately, the girl is sex-crazed, evil and magic. Whenever somebody annoys her, they end up dying horribly. The fact that the girl is evil is established early on, but the surprising reason for her evilness is only revealed towards the end. (Skip to the next paragraph if you’re planning to read this book.) It turns out that she is evil because she was brought up as part of the Manson family. That’s right. Not content with ripping off Carrie and the Omen, Frank Lauria decided to throw in a bit of Helter Skelter too. Surprised? It doesn’t make much sense in the context of the book either.

As far as rock’n’roll content is concerned, there’s not much to say. The dad character produces an album in the family’s basement, and the little girl writes a song, but that’s pretty much it. The rock’n’roll could be entirely removed from the story with just a few changes. Frank Lauria has played in a band, and the first Doctor Orient book features rock’n’roll mind control, so I guess he just likes it.

This was a quick read. It’s nothing special, but it was enjoyable enough.

 

stage fright garrett boatman
Stage Fright – Garret Boatman
I have been planning this post since the beginning of 2017, but tracking down this book delayed things considerably. I knew on seeing the cover that I would some day read it, but at that time copies were going for about 20 dollars, just a little more than what I feel comfortable paying for a trashy paperback. After being included on the cover of Paperbacks from Hell, this book became very difficult to find, and I had to spend a ludicrous amount of time and effort tracking down an affordable copy. I am delighted to announce that it was worth it.

This book is just as deadly as the cover would have you believe. While not really about a keyboard playing skeleton rocker, Stage Fright is a gory, slimy, slab of entertaining sci-fi horror. The instrument on the front cover is presumably the controller to a Dreamatron, a machine that allows its user to project their imagination into the dreams of an audience. Isidore Stark, the world’s most famous Dreamatron artist, decides to ingest the blood of schizophrenics to enhance his dreamscapes, but this leads to him losing control of his mind and the machine, and the results are very, very bloody. Characters from classic horror movies, the paintings of Bosch, and the books of Tolkien and Lovecraft show up in the “dreamies”. There are certain discrepancies to the story (how does the dream machine actually work?), but it’s pretty easy to let this stuff slide when you’re being confronted with flesh mazes and grotesque monsters tearing people’s limbs off. While this book isn’t about music, its intensity made it feel far more rock’n’roll than either of the other two books reviewed in this post.

I’ve only found one other full review of Stage Fright online. It’s quite a bit more critical than this one, but I suspect that Joe Kenney hadn’t slogged through two very mediocre (boring) rock novels directly beforehand. He is correct in claiming that some of the characters are overdeveloped and that the book is probably longer than it should be. Stage Fright is pure trash, but I prefer pure trash to diluted trash.

Joe Kenney also, very perceptively, notes that the inside cover of Stage Fright advertises another novel by Boatman Garrett called Death Dream. No such novel was ever published, and Kenney suggests that Death Dream might actually have been the original title for Stage Fright. This could explain the fact that the cover and title don’t have much to do with the plot of the novel; Death Dream would be more appropriate for this story.
death dream garrett boatmanDoes this then mean that Onyx had originally commissioned this cover art for an actual novel about a keyboard playing skeleton that was never published? Is there a manuscript of the real Stage Fright in some forgotten archive? We’ll probably never know.

 

I have reviewed these books in the order I read them. If I had ordered them by ranking, they’d be in the same position, Stage Fright being the best, Night Music being the shittest. Despite their incredible cover art, none of these books are really about rock music. My search for the perfect blend of horror and metal continues. Fortunately, I have these two books lying on my shelf for later.
the scream and kill riff

Bob Larson’s Book of Rock

bob larson book of rockLarson’s Book of Rock – Bob Larson
Tyndale House – 1987

I don’t think anyone gives a shit anymore, but pop music was a scary thing in the 80s.  Sure, conservative/religious types had been upset by Elvis and the Beatles before, but MTV and the popularization of music videos made it harder for parents to avoid the boldness that was popping up in the pop music of the day. While Lou Reed’s make-up and naughty lyrics might have been able to slip under some parents’ radars in the 70s, Twisted Sister’s music videos weren’t quite as subtle.

Bob Larson, evangelical preacher, talk show host, exorcist extraordinaire and all-round obnoxious cunt, was concerned. As a young man, his experiences playing guitar led him to become convinced that rock music could be used as a tool of destruction and evil. Larson’s Book of Rock is his 5th book on the subject. Written as a self help guide for good church-going parents of the 80s who were upset by their child’s interest in popular music, The Book of Rock offers insight into how this music can fill an impressionable youth’s head with homosexuality, violence, occultism, satanism, Eastern Mysticism and the desire to do drugs and alcohol.

bob larson ugly faceTwat.

Larson clearly has no concept of art or expression, and he seemed to view the music industry as a state institution that owed the general public respectable output. I suppose this attitude towards the music industry is probably confusing for people who have grown up with internet access. There would have been fewer sources of new music available to young people at the time when this book was being written, and the music industry probably looked like a unified whole to a person whose sole source of new music was MTV. The idea that people wrote songs to express how they were feeling never seems to have struck Larson. He views music as a means to tell other people how to think and how to act.

Most of his complaints about specific songs and artists are ridiculous. I don’t know much about Madonna or Cyndi Lauper, but I noticed quite a few untruths and mistakes in his depiction and description of heavy metal bands. On page 53 he mentions Rulan Danzig from Sam Hain, a rock band that got their name from the “Luciferian Lord of the Dead”. He presumably means Glenn Danzig from Samhain, the band that got their name from a traditional Gaelic harvest festival. He says of Anthrax, “Onstage, they dress in a sinister array of biker gear.” Anthrax are famous for introducing bermuda shorts into heavy metal attire. Here they are onstage in 1987, the year this book was written, looking far more like geeks on their way to the beach than a troop of bikers. He refers to Tony Iommi as the one-time lead singer of Black Sabbath. I suppose that could be true (Iommi is Sabbath’s guitarist and the only permanent member of the band), but I couldn’t find any evidence of it. At one point he mentions King Diamond’s ‘Metal Forces’ album. Metal Forces was actually a magazine that featured King on the front cover, not a King Diamond album.

0fb7d4bb5e1c67f123d110cc7afe1bacAnyone who would complain about something as cool as this deserves to be shot.

Judas Priest are one of my very favourite bands, so I was pretty excited when I came to the section on them in this book. After reading Larson’s description of Rob Halford’s habit of baring his ass on stage, I realised that I had heard of this book before. This is the book that Nardwuar was quoting from in his interview with Halford. One can only wonder about the kind of vitriol that Larson would have spewed about the Metal God if he had known that he was gay.

Most of Larson’s claims and the evidence he provides for them are pure nonsense, but his idea that listening to Heavy Metal leads youths away from Christ might well have something to it. I stopped going to mass a few months after buying my first Slayer album. It’s hard to tell if it was the heavy metal that led me away from the church or if it was the realization that Christianity is dumb that led me towards anti-Christian music, but there was definitely some correlation. Either way, any person who writes a book warning parents to prevent their children from listening to Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate, Dio, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Twisted Sister and WASP deserves to be swiftly executed. Heavy metal is one of the few things that makes life worth living.

In fairness to Larson, he does repeatedly point out that a parent’s relationship with their child has more influence on the child’s mind than their tastes in music. I would have thought that this would be obvious to any parent, but this book was obviously written for idiots. I’m quite serious about that – regardless of Larson’s own intelligence, his writing makes it entirely apparent that he was very deliberately and consciously writing for morons. His condescending, know-it-all attitude is embarrassing. There’s one chapter explaining in embarrassing detail why children like loud music and another where he scolds his braindead imbecile readers for listening to country songs about sex and booze and having the audacity to complain about their kids’ Madonna records. The only people who could stomach this nonsense would have to be lowest-of-the-low, seriously stupid rubes.

bob larson is a virgin Seriously, what a damn virgin.

I first encountered Bob Larson in a video of him interviewing Satanists in the 80s. Vice have done a documentary on him, and there’s loads of videos online showing him to be a con-man and a crook. He has a youtube channel that is updated quite frequently. I have another one of his books lined up to read soon.