The Devils Music by Julia Madeleine / Frank Duffy
Sometimes reading is like a waiting on the Number 37 bus into Edinburgh, you wait all day then suddenly three all come at once. In the the last few months I have read three books that have music as a main theme of the story. First there was John Hornor’s Southern Gods, then we had Jonathan Janz’s The Sorrows, and now we have Julia’s The Devils music.
The Devils music is a set of three short stories that introduce us to Sadie. Sadie loves music, musicians, oh and her father just happens to be the Devil himself. Her cheritage, has given her the power to shape shift and travel through time, which she does collecting souls for her 27 Club. You may have heard of this select Club, made of of some of the finest musicians, all of whom died at the age of 27.
Raised in Hell introduces us to Sadie, as she goes to collect the soul of the Crossroads man himself, In The Music There Is Always A Shadow, written by Ginger Nuts favourite Frank Duffy, sees Sadia, collecting on her contract with RKO legend Roy Webb. Julia returns with When You Are a Stranger. And sees Sadie adding the lounge lizard himself to her collection.
They say the Devil has all the best music, that may well be true, judging by the names of all the musicians mentioned in these stories, but it also looks like the Devil has all the best stories written about him as well.
Julia, has created a wonderful character in Sadie, it would have been so easy to just create a one dimensional, clichéd collector of souls. Instead Julia has poured a huge amount of personality, into the mold of Sadie. She is a character of of passion, desire, and love, all tempered with a strong sense of duty. These are beautifully written, bitter sweet, sombre tales, that ooze with passion and a sense of regret. Sadie cares for, and even loves some of the people who have signed over their souls for a shot at fame. So much so that you actually begin to feel sorry for her, it’s a strange feeling when you realise that you actually care for and wish that a devil will have a happy ending. And the final reveal about the secret of significance of Club 27 is a sombre and emotional reveal.
Julia hands over the baton to Frank Duffy for the middle story, and once again Frank demonstrates why I think he is probably the most gifted and underrated author out there. Franks entry brilliantly builds on Julia’s creation, adding an extra layer of melancholia.
The stories themselves may be simple in terms of plot device, but what they lack in plot twists they more than make up with excellent characterisation. The sense of loss and regret, is enforced with the role call of musicians taken from us too soon. One of the highlights though is the introduction of Ozzy Osborne, his appearance is hilarious addition.
If your not familiar with Frank, or Julia, then do yourself a favour, get these three books and discover two very gifted writers.
Pick up a copy by clicking the links below