For Jeremy Black, finding solace in the pounding beat of punk rock is his escape from a grim childhood and harrowing memories of his brother’s suicide. But Stygian, the Houston-based indie band he joined, is in trouble. They’re still reeling from the loss of their previous drummer, Caroline, in a car accident. Jeremy has taken over playing the drums for the group, but it’s clear he hasn’t come close to replacing Caroline, who seems to have been the glue that held the other rockers, Watts, Quince, and Kennedy, together. Drinking, drugs, and sexual excess have begun to tear the group apart. So they decide to rent an isolated Louisiana plantation house for the summer, a place they can practice together and get back to where they once were.
But rumor has it that the Caroway plantation is haunted, and the eerily beautiful and mysterious young owners, Laurel and Hunter Caroway, aren’t helping to dispel the feeling that something is off.
The author builds a creeping sense of dread as the long hot days and the decaying old house begin to take their toll on the four rockers. Bit by bit the author reveals the damage done to these boys by their past experiences. Hassell manipulates us quite deftly, and allows us to experience first-hand the irrational emotional quicksand that threatens to drown Jeremy and ultimately endangers him and his bandmates.
Hassell is a good story-teller, with a great sense of timing and a flair for detail. What begins as a psychological study of four unhappy young men gradually turns into a horror story that will leave your heart pounding as you turn the pages.