We Sold Our Souls

We Sold Our Souls

A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor, My Best Friend's Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell.In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania.Two decades...

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Title:We Sold Our Souls
Author:Grady Hendrix
Rating:
Edition Language:English

We Sold Our Souls Reviews

  • Char

    "

    "

    As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

    WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate

    "

    "

    As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

    WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate the good. But when the lead singer decides that this isn't enough for him, he investigates...other avenues. Will the band survive his efforts and appeals to be something greater? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

    I loved how the background of each band member was related, but I especially liked the lead character Kris, because she wasn't the stereotypical female protagonist that we so often see. (Well, let's face it-we don't see that many female leads of rock bands, in real life or especially as believable characters in books.) She was bad-ass but she didn't think so-maybe she didn't even realize it. But she was resilient and she kept on keeping on even when there was no chance of success. I think I have my first fictional girl crush.

    As the tale progresses, several twists occurred that I didn't foresee at all. I will never look at a UPS truck in the same way again, (and I bet you won't either). I'm sure my mouth dropped a couple of times and it probably wasn't pretty, but hell, I don't care. (I won't even speak about how late last night my Kindle hit me in my face because I was so intent on finishing this story but I just couldn't say awake any longer.) The bruise was worth it!

    At the end of each chapter you'll find little tidbits from radio or news broadcasts and some of them won't make sense until later on. I really liked them and they provided background at times, and foreshadowing at others.

    Grady Hendrix blipped my radar with his beautiful book PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and since then I've been a big fan. This book, however, this one is truly something special. I rank it right up there with a few other books about bands that I've greatly enjoyed like Robert McCammon's THE FIVE.

    At this point, if I haven't won you over I'm probably not going to. However, I will say, if you're a fan of well written, fast paced, dark fiction,

    you love Rock & Roll, you will miss the boat by a wide, wide margin if you don't read this book.

    My highest recommendation!

    Available everywhere on Tuesday, September 18th, but you can pre-order here:

    *Thanks to Quirk Books via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

  • Bark

    Everybody has been raving about this book. I haven’t read one negative thing and that’s rare in blogland. We like to complain and pick things apart. Or at least I know I do. I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone else. But I think that’s what makes us (or me) so fantastic, haha. Now that I’ve finally read it, (sorry Netgalley, I am late again but you really should know this about me by now) I totally understand why this book is being treated like horror gold. Author Grady Hendrix knows the horr

    Everybody has been raving about this book. I haven’t read one negative thing and that’s rare in blogland. We like to complain and pick things apart. Or at least I know I do. I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone else. But I think that’s what makes us (or me) so fantastic, haha. Now that I’ve finally read it, (sorry Netgalley, I am late again but you really should know this about me by now) I totally understand why this book is being treated like horror gold. Author Grady Hendrix knows the horror scene and he’s created a modern day classic that gives the old “sold our soul to the devil” trope a fresh new spin. It’s firmly earned its place in a future Paperbacks From Hell volume.

    This story is a lovingly written present to all heavy metal loving horror fans. If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s listening to that stuff you

    to buy yourself the beautiful physical copy of this book with the black binding. I’m going to do so as soon as I can. It’s seriously that good.

    Kris is having a “what the hell happened to my life” moment. She’s 47 and works the front desk at a Best Western when a customer decides to piss all over the front desk. She was once a guitarist in an almost famous metal band when it all when to shit and she was forced into abandoning her dreams. When she sees a billboard with her nemesis’s face on it that declares he’s going back on tour, she decides to track down her old bandmates in order to stop the man who ruined them all.

    Nothing goes as planned. And that’s what I enjoyed so much about this book. It takes turns and twists and I predicted none of them. Not a single one. It is filled with dark and disturbing surprises. I loved that the lead guitarist and main character is a strong, kick-butt kind of woman. I adored this character.

    “Kris wasn’t a hugger. She had a body like a bag of knives.”

    She’s also very sympathetic and determined.

    “Kris wanted to press her fist to the planet and leave a mark.”

    And she thinks some very funny thoughts:

    “Men never know when to shut up.”

    Sorry, guys, but sometimes it’s true (though the same can be said about me, I suppose!).

    Music plays an enormous part in the story. It’s not a little set piece or an afterthought. This book would not exist without the music and the end is simply magical. I don’t know what else to say without giving too much away. I’m no good at writing 5 star reviews. I guess I’ll leave you with a drop everything and READ THIS BOOK RIGHT THIS MINUTE! If you hate it, you can always send your copy to me.

  • Julie

    We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix is a 2018 Quirk Books publication.

    It’s the 90s and heavy metal rules the rock and roll music machine.

    Dürt Würk is right on the cusp of fame when suddenly their singer, Terry Hunt, pulls out, goes solo, changes his name and becomes a mega-superstar. He leaves his former bandmates in the dust, taking everything with him, including the rights to their music.

    Decades pass, and Dürt Würk’s guitarist, Kris Pulaski, is barely scraping by, working as the night manage

    We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix is a 2018 Quirk Books publication.

    It’s the 90s and heavy metal rules the rock and roll music machine.

    Dürt Würk is right on the cusp of fame when suddenly their singer, Terry Hunt, pulls out, goes solo, changes his name and becomes a mega-superstar. He leaves his former bandmates in the dust, taking everything with him, including the rights to their music.

    Decades pass, and Dürt Würk’s guitarist, Kris Pulaski, is barely scraping by, working as the night manager at a Best Western motel. Her dreary, miserable days suddenly explode into a fight for her very soul when she makes a shocking discovery about Terry’s meteoric rise to fame. It is imperative she reconnect with her former bandmates and get the band back together.

    Meanwhile, Terry, aka, ‘Koffin’, is headlining a massive rock show in Las Vegas with record breaking crowds expected to attend. If Kris doesn’t get there in time, many more souls may be lost.

    Full disclosure- I read Grady Hendrix’s ‘Paperbacks from Hell’ and loved it. The book highlighted pulp horror novels from an era I was familiar with, and it was done with humor, and intelligence. So, when I saw this book by Hendrix, I couldn’t resist. The thing is I don’t read horror novels a lot, except around Halloween, and I was never into the type of metal featured in this story, but…

    I have a son who was just at the right age to appreciate pure metal and I heard my fair share of it bleeding through his bedroom walls. The 'nu-metal' was also in the house, which is, evidently, according to this novel- frowned upon by purists. Anyway, my point is, I am familiar enough with the culture to recognize the bands and understood most of the references.

    At the end of the day, the story is one that has endured for ages- the classic myth of selling one’s soul for fame and fortune, with the devil getting the last laugh. Except in this case, souls were sold without their knowledge, and they are desperate to free themselves from the contract which has sealed their fate. This is a nice twist, and I loved that Kris is a kick-butt female guitarist in an overwhelmingly male dominated environment.

    Of course, this is a cautionary tale and there is a moral to the story. I love that about this book. It’s a gory, supernatural, futuristic horror story, featuring hardcore metal music, but there is still message and a lesson to be learned from it. While the legend of ‘selling one’s soul’ conjures up woo-doo, a thing about chickens, and visions of crossroads, and is often taken in the literal sense, I think it’s allegorical and yes, many a musician has fallen into the trap.

    There are other points the author zooms in on, that while not entirely original, will still make you think. The one downside was the ending. I was expecting a huge, epic showdown, but it ended up being a whimper instead of a roar. Other than that, this story is an homage to heavy metal, to rock and roll, and horror novels. It’s a little tense, has some gross out gore, but also a healthy dose of humor and satire. It will also give you nightmares about UPS trucks, but overall, this is rip-roaring, spine-tingling tale of horror, but was also a whole lot of fun to read!

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I’d been meaning to read something by Grady Hendrix for ages, so I jumped at the chance to review

    I’d heard so many of my friends rave about his writing in general, but as a metalhead, I was especially sold on the idea of an entire horror story revolving around this washed-up former metal star and her old bandmate’s essential deal with the devil to gain his fame.

    First, let’s talk about Kris Pulaski, our former guitarist protagonist who’s

    I’d been meaning to read something by Grady Hendrix for ages, so I jumped at the chance to review

    I’d heard so many of my friends rave about his writing in general, but as a metalhead, I was especially sold on the idea of an entire horror story revolving around this washed-up former metal star and her old bandmate’s essential deal with the devil to gain his fame.

    First, let’s talk about Kris Pulaski, our former guitarist protagonist who’s in her forties now, working the night shift at a hotel, miserable, empty, and alone. And let’s talk about

    Kris is an absolute badass, full of flames and rage and a need for vengeance and justice; she’s tough, a total fighter, and frankly, she’s

    of being held down by the men in her life. She’s incredibly aware of how warped the metal community’s treatment of women can be, much less how society at large treats powerful and self-confident women, but she refuses to let

    get in her way for even a second. She’s constantly plotting her next move, and she’s just brilliant.

    Kris isn’t the only enjoyable character, though—even some of the bad guys are pretty likable in their own way, and everyone, good or bad, feels flawed and authentic. I loved cycling through Kris’ former bandmates as she met up with each one, and learning about her memories of them, especially when she would couple in band-specific relations (things like, “like every guitar duo in metal, they were a little bit in love and a little bit in hate all at the same time”). It’s also incredibly fascinating to watch Kris piece together her broken memories as the story slowly reveals what drove apart the members of Dürt Würk, and why Kris has been an outsider ever since.

    While

    absolutely has horror elements and a wonderful plot that kept me engaged from start to finish, what I loved most about it was the fact that, at its core, it reads like a love song to metalheads and music lovers everywhere. So much of what happens revolves around the music scene, the power of metal (and the darker sides of the community, too), and the ways that music can teach us and guide us to the light. There are loads of pop culture references (don’t be offended if a few of your faves get insulted—it happened to me twice, and all I could do was laugh), feminist undertones for days, and a few incredibly creepy (and/or disgusting) mental images that have followed me in the days since finishing this story.

    Altogether, I adored every single page of this book, and see it as the kind of story I would happily read over and over again in the future. If you enjoy horror with a touch of weirdness to it, and especially if you’re a fellow metalhead, I can’t urge you strongly enough to pick up a copy of

    right away. There’s not a single negative thing I have to say about it, and I can’t wait to read everything else Grady Hendrix has to offer.

  • karen

    i’ve read all three of grady hendrix’s novels, and while none of them have scared me, they’ve all entertained me.

    this is the least

    of his books. there are occasional smiles, like when you notice that all the chapter titles are the names of metal albums, or when he sneaks something cheeky in, like citing nick sharman as a rock journalist from

    maga

    i’ve read all three of grady hendrix’s novels, and while none of them have scared me, they’ve all entertained me.

    this is the least

    of his books. there are occasional smiles, like when you notice that all the chapter titles are the names of metal albums, or when he sneaks something cheeky in, like citing nick sharman as a rock journalist from

    magazine when we all know that nick sharman is this guy:

    and this guy.

    it’s a loving power chord tribute to metal, full of utterly anthemic lines:

    and a deep appreciation for the music and culture of RAWK. actually, i take back what i said about this not being funny, because the concept is hilarious, it involves a concept

    and it’s so SO inventive and clever in its use, it’s worth a giggle or two. but it’s much sadder overall; the regret of the “almost-was,” and the cost of fame and the answers to the question, “whatever happened to…”

    i loved the residual affection between kris and her former bandmates (two of them, anyway), all of those scenes were really moving. and AAAAHHHH, scottie rocket!!!

    dammit.

    there are also two excellent scenes of horror perfection - one in a car and one underground. the underground one taught me that under certain circumstances, i would be claustrophobic. i read and reread all of those pages because that situation was completely harrowing. dammit2.

    but this book is also what happens when grit lit meets horror. its focus is on the same segment of struggling, disenfranchised america; one of the characters lives in west virginia, having seen thirteen people from her graduating class die from opioid overdoses, while she waitresses at a place that encourages waitress-groping all to pay back her student loans and maybe someday get out of her dead end life. this sounds pulled right up out of any of my beloved grit lit novels:

    but this one’s also got monsters, so WIN.

    keep up the great work, grady hendrix!

    ROCKTOBER IS SPOOKY!!

  • Kimberly

    4.5*

    , by Grady Hendrix, is a psychologically intense novel involving a one-time metal band and the power inherent in their music and lyrics. Years ago, five people formed a band called

    --a band that was good, and had the potential to be great. Then came the day that their lead singer, Terry Hunt, decided he wanted more . . .

    Kris Pulaski--now nothing more than a motel clerk--clearly remembers her triumphant struggle to where she

    they had something special. Her me

    4.5*

    , by Grady Hendrix, is a psychologically intense novel involving a one-time metal band and the power inherent in their music and lyrics. Years ago, five people formed a band called

    --a band that was good, and had the potential to be great. Then came the day that their lead singer, Terry Hunt, decided he wanted more . . .

    Kris Pulaski--now nothing more than a motel clerk--clearly remembers her triumphant struggle to where she

    they had something special. Her memories of after Terry are more fuzzy.

    Her meaningful guitar riffs had a power she worked years to cultivate into that perfection. They were not entirely forgotten, but clearly pushed aside for a mundane job she had no passion for.

    After a particularly depressing work night, Kris notices a billboard on her way home, proclaiming the farewell tour of Koffin--The Blind King.

    The band Terry Hunt left them to start up on his own.

    Suddenly, half-remembered images of their final night together start coming back to her. Although missing some crucial elements, Kris has an inexplicable feeling that something larger than all of them--and much worse--was about to happen.

    Grady Hendrix weaves this tale of a heavy metal group--before and after its heyday--with such accurate descriptions that you'll feel you were with them all along. His characters are real, complex individuals that make the story come alive. The urgency and pacing increase perfectly as the novel keeps going, bringing crucial revelations and scenes from the past to complete the picture in our minds.

    As Kris rallies herself and sets off on a journey she never anticipated, the gaps in her memory take form as much for the reader as for her mission. Although completely from Hendrix's imagination, I couldn't help but get a "Lovecraftian" vibe from this novel--I mean that as the highest compliment.

    The music--both tone and lyrics--play an integral role here. Anyone who's ever felt the

    or

    of a song can relate to this. The dynamics of the band, their roles and talents, made them seem more like a family in their early days.

    This story worked so well on an emotional level, as well as the terror, fear, psychological, and physical horrors that are portrayed. The feelings evoked become real to us, and I think that many will be able to identify with some of the more "universal" themes brought up here.

    As the novel progressed further into

    , I still felt as though it was the "natural" way this story had to unfold.

    Overall, I loved Hendrix's style and the way he incorporated the band's beginning, end, and things that occurred in between, in such a manner that it all felt

    --that this was the only way it

    have happened. There was never a point where I felt that too much information was being thrown at me just to get it out there. Rather, the pacing was set so well that we are able to glean just as much information as we need, when we need it.

    Personally, I'd love to visit this world of Hendrix's again in the future.

    Highly recommended!

  • Eilonwy

    4-1/2 stars

    4-1/2 stars

    I had no idea what to expect from this book. The cover caught my eye and hooked me. The title seemed to promise supernatural horror, but when I read the jacket flap (not what I wrote above), it sounded more like

    than like a genre novel. I had to check GR to determine that there is indeed a supernatural element. And when I saw the mostly very positive reviews, I knew I had to read it.

    This is the book I was hoping for with

    : Straightforward, breathless action with decent emotional depth, and without all the irritating screenplay formatting and distracting wordplay.

    I zoomed through this book in about two days, because it’s fast-paced and exciting. Once Kris set out on her journey, I needed answers to her existing, and newly developing, questions just as badly as she did. The twists are shocking, and the surprises are numerous. This is a clever, very darkly humorous, plot which maybe doesn’t entirely hold together, but is so enjoyable I didn’t care. It made enough sense as the story progressed, and I really loved and was completely impressed by how Dürt Würk’s final album tied into the present action, so I’m disinclined to nitpick anything.

    I also loved that the characters are mostly pushing 50, which seems like a bit of an unusual age group for this kind of story. There’s a subplot featuring a 20-something named Melanie, but she only gets a few chapters.

    While the chapter names are all titles of heavy metal albums, mostly by bands I never heard of (I recognized exactly four chapter titles), and I suspect there are some metal references in the story that I didn’t get at all, not being a fan of or intimately familiar with heavy metal music does not detract from enjoying or appreciating this book.

    Since this is a horror novel, there are several disturbing scenes, although fewer than I was afraid there would be. Warning: One is extremely gruesome and I tried very hard not to imagine it too clearly, but it’s still haunting me.

    Weirdly, in addition to

    , this book made me think of

    , which had, to me, a deeply flawed and failing social parody element.

    felt like a modern, actually enjoyable answer to SiaSL (which I hated with a passion).

    I was really positively surprised by this book.

  • Ivy H

    Grady Hendrix. We Sold Our Souls (Kindle Locations 217-220). Quirk Books. Kindle Edition.

    Well, I've kinda

    Grady Hendrix. We Sold Our Souls (Kindle Locations 217-220). Quirk Books. Kindle Edition.

    Well, I've kinda developed a minor addiction to horror novels once again ! Lol. But this wasn't really scary, even though there were a couple of horrific scenes. Each chapter is also titled after selected heavy metal songs.

    This novel was full of batshit craziness, but still managed to tell a meaningful story that even incorporated an important existentialist message, with a tinge of absurdism thrown in for good measure. This novel’s main message is that individualism ought to be celebrated and that we must fight to escape the encroaching bonds of dominant forces that seek to turn us into sheep who follow blindly where others lead. Grady Hendrix does this by using his storyline about a washed up heavy metal guitarist who is fighting against the forces that destroyed her 11 years ago. This story becomes an allegory of one's woman's lifelong journey to find her identity in an indifferent world.

    Kris Pulaski is the female protagonist of this tale. She's a 47 year old musician who now works as the receptionist at a motel. As a teen in the '80's, all she'd ever wanted to do was to rock and roll; heavy metal music had been her escape from a dreary world of impoverishment and her Gibson guitar was her muse. Kris had dropped out of High School to form an Indie heavy metal band, with 3 guys, called

    . Her band had never managed to make it to the big time but she'd been happy because she was a heavy metal purist who would never dilute her music by bending to the demands of a commercial record label.

    Unfortunately, Terry Hunt, the lead singer of

    didn't share her ideals. Terry was willing to do anything to make it big – even selling the souls of his bandmates to

    aka the forces of evil ! Terry went on to achieve mega stardom after he ditched Kris and his other bandmates from

    . He's created a new larger than life image for himself as the elusive

    , the leader of a new band called

    . In this new band, though, Terry ensures that the other members are only there as tools to help highlight his own greatness. It's all about him, his millions and his merchandise. He even goes so far as to costume himself with a crown that bleeds onto his face.

    Terry has become a bullying megalomaniac with paid assassins ( camouflaged as UPS delivery guys ) at his beck and call. He's like an evil Messiah with his bands of clueless followers. Everyone who gets on his bad side is killed; early on in the novel, Terry orchestrates the suicide/murders of a former bandmate and his entire family. He did this simply because the guy had started to become suspicious of the eerie incidents that had occurred 11 years ago when Terry dumped them all to form a new band.

    Kris Pulasky becomes the only person who's aware of what Terry's doing and she sets out on a one woman quest to find him and destroy everything that he and

    have been working to build.

    is described as the hidden evil core of nothingness that exists within the centre of the world:

    Grady Hendrix. We Sold Our Souls (Kindle Locations 1553-1554). Quirk Books. Kindle Edition.

    The evil creatures that dwell within

    want as many souls as they can get from hapless human beings. These grisly wraiths only come to the surface to suck the souls of humans after the deal has been made.

    When Terry made the deal with

    , he'd been smart enough

    to barter his own soul because he wanted to keep his muse and hold on to his creativity. He'd sold his bandmates' souls, without their knowledge, and doomed them to a life of dreary routine and insignificance.

    Kris is soon captured and imprisoned at a "wellness" centre called

    where she's drugged continually with mood enhancers and other psychiatric pills in an intensive de-programming scheme. Her music saves her. This might sound cheesy but it's actually quite profound and the author's treatment of this part of the story was very interesting. It turned out that many years ago, Kris had composed an album called

    and all of the songs had been one continuing epic tale about the existence of the evil that is

    . The evil forces of

    wanted to keep this album out of the public hearing, because everyone knows that evil thrives best when it is hidden from the unsuspecting world; evil forces can do more harm when humans are unaware of its existence.

    Terry Hunt agreed to destroy

    and keep all of Kris' songs hidden from the public. When Kris is imprisoned in

    , she remembers all her music from that album and uses it to fight against the forces of evil:

    Grady Hendrix. We Sold Our Souls (Kindle Locations 1698-1701). Quirk Books. Kindle Edition.

    Kris undergoes a cathartic experience and finally gets the willpower to escape from the "wellness" centre. The most interesting part, for me, was this section because the author actually wrote out the lyrics from selected songs in the album and it was quite poetic. She's at her lowest point when she escaped, because she has no money and is covered in cuts and bruises. However, she rallies by walking, hitchhiking, eating from garbage bins etc. Her main aim is to get to Terry's big concert, Hellstock, on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Suffice it to say that Kris does succeed in getting to Hellstock, with the aid of an old bandmate called JD ( who dies gruesomely ! ) and she gets her revenge by forcing Terry to sing the entire

    album for the half a million live fans and the millions of televised viewers.

    Terry gets his comeuppance and loses his creativity; in fact he becomes a mere shell of himself after he's punished severely, by

    , for singing the songs they hate from that dangerous album

    . Kris' fate wasn't so clear though. She never got back her soul and it's implied that she got away from the evil forces of

    but the author never states so definitely. I guess that's to be expected in a horror novel ! What I did enjoy was the fact that, in the end, Kris ended up becoming a legend after her epic performance at the Hellstock concert. And that's a nice enough ending for a gifted musician, whose only true love had been music for the sake of the music...

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Loved the black stained edges and what looks like Viking runes on the front cover. What do I know!

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

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