This book has been called Lovecraftian, but I think that’s mostly because any book that’s described as Lovecraftian automatically sells a bunch of copies. (Note to self: Describe next book as Lovecraftian.) Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow mythos, which this book is actually based on, is less well known, but I’ve got to say, it’s refreshing to come across a horror novel that isn’t Lovecraftian for once. This book stands on its own, so you don’t need to have read The King in Yellow first, but if you have, you’ll pick up on some cool references.
The story takes the form of an interview with Aidan Cross, lead guitarist of a heavy metal band called The Yellow Kings. He’s the sole survivor of a tragic concert that claimed the lives of everyone present excluding himself. The trouble all started while the band was on tour and they picked up the groupie from hell (perhaps literally). Keisling must be about the same age as me since most of the bands he name checks are ones I grew up listening to.
Keisling does a great job of building tension. As each chapter progresses, I felt a mounting sense of doom leading up to the explosive finale, which I’d say surpasses Chambers on the creepiness scale. “Take off your mask” indeed.
As an aside, I couldn’t help wonder when this story takes place. Since many of the bands mentioned in the extended flashback are fairly recent, that would mean the frame story of Aiden giving the interview thirty years later actually takes place in the future. I’d estimate around 2030 or so. They don’t call it a holointerview or anything like that, so Keisling must be imagining a future in which technology hasn’t advanced all that much. Or maybe the technological advances are just all off screen.
My lease favorite part of the book is the end of the frame story once we’ve jumped back thirty years after the concert incident. It’s a stereotypical horror ending that we would have been fine without, but overall, I’d say this book is highly recommended.
If you’re interested in this book, please purchase The Final Reconciliation on Amazon using my affiliate link.