Saturday, June 18, 2011
Sometimes you read a novel that pierces your heart and hits your gut so hard that you can’t put it down. Jason Jack Miller’s, Appalachian noir fiction novel, The Devil and Preston Black, is that type of book. Miller has a way of glimpsing into the bleakness of the human spirit that makes it real and frighteningly possible. His passion for music, intertwined throughout the story, comes alive with each turn of the page and becomes a character in itself.
The story begins with Preston Black finding an old vinyl LP. Not just any album, but an album with a song named after him. In the small towns of West Virginia, that could hardly be a coincidence. Preston’s world turns upside down as he searches for the lyrics to the song, his father, and the path that will lift him out of his “white trash” world. His journey takes him where the devil herself awaits, spiraling him in a downward path toward failure. Preston’s character is so vivid that I found myself cautioning him, rooting for him, and sometimes crying right along side him. Music is the only thing that can save Preston, but even his Martin D-28 guitar takes a beating. And just when Preston thinks things can’t get any worse, they do.
Regardless if you’re a music enthusiast, thirsty for Appalachian folklore, or simply love good writing, The Devil and Preston Black will enthrall you. Miller puts the reader right there by Preston’s side as the character struggles the torrential rains, heartaches and broken dreams that we all encounter from time to time. But there is a light at the end of Preston’s dark tunnel, and you’ll have to get to that light on your own.
Regardless of what genre you prefer, The Devil and Preston Black is a must read, one you will remember in years to come. Thank you Jason for giving me the opportunity to read this exceptional book.
The Devil and Preston Black is available from Amazon.com and smashwords.