Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll (A Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery)
Believe it or not, I did have the plot of Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll before I thought of the title!
Toward the end of college, and for a few years afterward, I flirted with being a singer/songwriter. (I'm dating myself when I admit that was a hot thing to be, in those days!) After I finally realized I needed to focus, and decided to be just a writer, I experimented with a novel about a rising rock band. That MS went nowhere, but the two main characters and their issues stuck in my head.
Now, decades later, they have popped up again in my second Quinn Matthews mystery, as her "clients." In the first version of the story, they were hassled by mere humans, but for Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll I've added some paranormal menace. This book not only gave me a chance to revive Goth-rock band Mad Love, with lead singer Alan Bardot and lead guitarist Jeff Randall, but to have them perform some of my old song lyrics. In a couple of cases I've used only short excerpts of songs, because the rest didn't fit the dark tone I wanted for the band. But when I unearthed one of my old compositions, “Vampire,” I had to laugh because it was so perfect--my only foray into horror-rock! So, early in the book, Alan sings the whole thing during a video shoot where, suddenly, a nasty accident occurs. Is it simple sabotage, a demonic curse...or perhaps a critique from The Beyond of my songwriting skills? Read the book and decide for yourself!
Hex, Death & Rock 'n' Roll
(A Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery)
by E. F. Watkins
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-507-3 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-854-8 (Paperback)
What Reviewers Are Saying
"Watkins takes us backstage with an all-area pass into the world of rock-and-roll when protagonist Quinn Matthews is recruited by rock sensations Mad Love. Her psychic powers might be the only way to identify the sinister force that seems bent on destroying them. Part whodunit—you'll have fun pondering which of the likely suspects is the real deal—and part ghost story, Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll straddles genres to great effect. And, as the witty title suggests, Watkins' characters are great fun to hang out with."
—Peggy Ehrhart, author of the Maxx Maxwell blues-singer mysteries (Five Star/Gale/Cengage) and president of Sisters in Crime New York/TriState
“In Hex, Death & Rock’n’Roll, E. F. Watkins delivers a page-turning read that will keep paranormal cozy lovers guessing ‘til the very end.”
—Lois Winston, author of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series
...During Randall's big solo, Bardot hovered nearer the guitarist to sway and nod along to the ominous, chiming rhythm. He stayed in that spot and faced the audience as he launched into the last verse.
Something—maybe the shifting light from the movie screen—drew my eye up to the stage's proscenium arch. It was dark by comparison, but I saw someone up there...just a hazy silhouette, dressed all in black, walking along the top. Could he be working a special effect?
The climax of the song pulled my attention back to the stage.
"Watch out when I start to draw you—"
At first, I thought a smoke bomb had gone off onstage. But the way the band members leaped back and the music stopped told me it wasn't planned. They were all miked, and as the dust settled, I heard their shouts and curses.
"Oh, my G—"
A woman in front screamed, and chaos broke out.
Stagehands and band members surged to the apron, so at first I couldn't see what was wrong. Bardot sprang back to the mic and yelled, with a catch in his voice, "A doctor! We need a doctor!"
All of us in the audience were on our feet, milling around in confusion. A couple of overwhelmed security guards rushed to the front of the theater and tried in vain to calm the crowd.
Lalita jogged back up the aisle, cell phone clamped to her ear, calling for an ambulance. I followed her out to the lobby, and when she hung up, I asked what had happened.
Her face had gone ashen. "Oh, Jesus, a big chunk of plaster fell and hit one of the cameramen. They think he's still alive, but he's out cold!" Her eyes were wide with horror. "I can't believe it... That proscenium is old, but it should have been secure!"
I knew what she must be thinking. If the cameraman was seriously hurt, the Friends of the Rialto would be liable. "It was probably the fault of the guy working up there. He must've jarred something loose."
"Somebody was up there—a stagehand, I guess—just before that piece fell. Walking on top of the arch."
"Walking?" Lalita stared at me, then gave her head an emphatic shake. "Quinn, that arch is less than a foot wide. No one could stand up there. It's impossible!"