We Sold Our Souls: A Novel

We Sold Our Souls: A Novel

by Grady Hendrix


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Now in paperback, in this hard-rocking, spine-tingling supernatural thriller, the washed-up guitarist of a ’90s heavy metal band embarks on an epic road-trip across America and deep into the web of a sinister conspiracy.
Every morning, Kris Pulaski wakes up in hell. In the 1990s she was lead guitarist of Dürt Würk, a heavy-metal band on the brink of breakout success until lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom, leaving his bandmates to rot in obscurity.

Now Kris works as night manager of a Best Western; she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Then one day everything changes—a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry sabotaged more than just the band. Kris hits the road, hoping to reunite Dürt Würk and confront the man who ruined her life. Her journey will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a celebrity rehab center to a satanic music festival. A furious power ballad about never giving up, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, pill-popping, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683691242
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 161,759
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Grady Hendrix is a novelist and screenwriter based in New York City. He is the author of Horrorstör, My Best Friend’s ExorcismPaperbacks from Hell, and We Sold Our Souls, all of which received critical praise from outlets including NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, the A.V. Club, Paste, Buzzfeed, and more. He has contributed to PlayboyThe Village Voice, and Variety.

Read an Excerpt

Kris sat in the basement, hunched over her guitar, trying to play the beginning of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Her mom had signed her up for guitar lessons with a guy her dad knew from the plant, but after six weeks of playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on a J.C. Penney acoustic, Kris wanted to scream. So she hid in the park when she was supposed to be at Mr. McNutt’s, pocketed the $50 fee for the two lessons she skipped, combined it with all her savings, and bought a scratched-to-hell Fender Musicmaster and a busted-out Radio Shack amp from Goldie Pawn for $160. Then she told her mom that McNutt had tried to watch her pee, so now instead of going to lessons Kris huddled in the freezing cold basement, failing to play power chords.

Excerpted from "We Sold Our Souls"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Grady Hendrix.
Excerpted by permission of Quirk Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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We Sold Our Souls 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Charles Templeton More than 1 year ago
Thank you so much to Netgalley for the copy of this book in exchange for a review! I was immediately interested in the novel because of the author and the cover of the paperback that looks just like a cover of Rolling Stone. I grew up on a mix of 80s hair bands, metal, and grunge that turned me into the little weirdo that I am today. So, of course I would be instantly attracted to the story of Kris and Dürt Würk. Women in music have always been so inspiring to me, because they are stronger than any man in their situation. They have to face things that the opposite sex could never dream of. You can look at a woman in a band and know that she fought tooth and nail to rock, and Kris is no exception. We start out the novel as the band has already fizzled out, and Kris is living in the aftermath. She's working a dead end job and is content to live in her dead mother's house, wasting away, until she sees a billboard for her former frontman, Terry, and finds out that his new band, Koffin, is coming back for one last hurrah. This lights a fire under her ass, and she sets about finding the other members of the band to unite them once and for all against the man who broke them apart. This endeavor turns sideways quicker than anticipated. Kris finds their bassist and discovers that he is coming apart at the seams. He tells her something happened the night that they signed the rights to the band away, and lays a conspiracy in front of Kris. She walks away to interrogate the other members of the band, only to fall deeper and deeper into what she thought was a made up mythology to their lost album, Troglodyte. She shows her mettle and then some, escaping dire straights and keeping her faith in only herself and her music. The words that poured from her soul a lifetime ago points her way forward, and shows her how to make her way out of this complacency she has been lulled into. She realizes that her soul has been taken from her, but she isn't the only one. Everyone around her is slowly being sucked dry by beings who are never satiated, and they are all slaves to the wheel of Black Iron Mountain. Some want fame, some want a new iPhone, and some just want out. It's a narrative not too far from the truth of reality as so many of us pack up our hopes and dreams to be lead into the daily grind for a dollar and never come up for air again. I like that this is a story of hope. Kris lost her soul, her dreams, her friends, and the life she wanted, but she managed to pull herself out of the depths and find a new path to tread. The story calls on you to believe in yourself and your own strength. It was creepy in its own way, but definitely not the devil worshiping horror story I was expecting from the curious title. It was also full of delightful musical references that any metal fan will love, and the original lyrics cooked up for Troglodyte's track list are so vivid I could almost hear them in my head. At any rate, this was a fun, imaginative read. Grady has done it again!
Philomath_in_Phila More than 1 year ago
Horrorstör was my 4th favorite book I read in 2015. Considering only "Ready Player One", "13 Reasons Why", and "Autopsy Room Four", a little-known work by Stephen King were the only ones to beat it that is quite impressive. I was so excited when I learned "We Sold Our Souls" by Grady Hendrix was being published. After reading it, I am just as excited to write how much I enjoyed it. First let me say, I am and always will be, a metalhead. We Sold Our Souls involves a broken up metal band who did not end on the best of terms.As you can imagine, their reuniting is not everyone sitting around and singing Kumbaya. Hendrix through flashbacks shows how the band broke up and why they need to fight together. I would have loved to hear Dürt Würk play. Mentioned throughout the story are well known heavy metal bands that I have to turn up anytime I hear them. Each chapter's title is the name of a metal album. The novel did not scary me but it was creepy and definitely worth reading. I will be keeping Grady Hendrix at the top of my "authors to read anything they publish" list.
Ms-Hurst More than 1 year ago
I've been looking forward to reading this book. I loved My Best Friend's Exorcism. The style of the writing is completely fresh. You don't get to say that often. A deal with the devil over Heavy Metal music. What could go wrong? I was a bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy it because I really hate Metal. I'm more a fan of the Grunge and Alt Rock that the book mocks, but it didn't ruin anything for me. Kris starts as so pathetic that you can't help but be behind her as she pushes toward taking her life and herself back. Even watching Melanie as she decides to take control of her life was a surprise. Not where I saw her character going at all. That's another thing I don't get to say very often. I am now looking up the other books by this author and adding them to my list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We Sold Our Souls does a clever spin on the Faustian ‘bargain with the devil’ premise by setting it in the world of heavy metal music. It’s like a mash-up of an old VH-1 Behind The Music and The Devil’s Advocate. There were some harrowing scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. The one that sticks out is when the heroine, Kris, is crawling through a tunnel that is gradually getting smaller and tighter. I’m not claustrophobic, but that scene made it hard to catch my breath! Though for all the scenes like that (and giving Grady Hendrix credit for finding a new take on this age-old tale), something was missing in it, something that made me want to flip the page excitedly to find out what was going to happen next. I found myself putting the book down for several days before picking it up again. All the ingredients were there, but for me the sum was not greater than the parts.
LLPodcast More than 1 year ago
Hendrix Faustian tale based on The Devil and Daniel Webster with a heavy metal slant which is an interesting tale told in its own right. This is a cautionary tale which deals with the age old moral issues of be careful what you wish for. The book is a well written and totally absorbing tale written in the third person but told from Kris’s point of view. The action of the piece stays with Kris through her many fables and foibles and she is a heroine that is to be admired and adored through her vim and verve. She is a strong female character that really pushes her feminine role that shows a strong independent woman as she works out the mystery behind her lost past. The other characters are very well drawn and Hendrix is very strong on bringing them out without using cartoonish clichés. Even the most superficial characters are well written and he is able to encompass a three dimensional view of all the characters showing the good and the bad and being able to show the motivations to make them understandable. This is an incredible feat that most authors have difficulty putting together but Hendrix makes this look easy which shows what a remarkable writer he is. I have read Hendrix’s Paperbacks From Hell which was a testament to the 80’s horror pulp fiction which was well written and deeply researched. It was one of the excellent novels of 2017 and one that if you are a fan of horror, a book that should be included in everyone’s bookshelf. Although I digress, it is to show this is a man who loves his subject matter and genre and knows exactly what to do with this. The novel looks at the world through a 1980’s lens and although most of the action takes place in the present, it still has that horror pulp feel to it. Saying this, it does lifts its subject matter above these tropes to show a better written novel than some of the pulp fiction that it plays ode to. His use of heavy metal lyrics and looking at the subgenre in rock as a whole is very well done. This is a writer who understands his subject material and this is really highlighted when he compares music of today with the music of yesteryears and the differences. He even ties in corporate America buying out of the music industry that shows that music today is market studied before it is released to feed the population what they think is should be fed. This is a big bravo and one of the many reasons that lifts this well above the norm. The book has an uneven opening which takes it’s time setting up the premise but after about three chapters, the story picks up speed and never lets go until it’s final conclusion. It is a very involving tale that grips its audience with a knowing smirk that shows the circle of hell within the music industry. The one minor flaw which would be up to the audience who must read this outstanding novel is the ending which is left ambiguous. For myself, I thought it was the perfect ending building up a myth and legend in the world of rock. Overall, this is an outstanding novel that shows a master at full work creating a world that gives odes to the 80’s against a political backdrop of today. Also shows how the world may be too connected and the changes that have happen for the better or worse. A cautionary tale which true scares and horror mixed in with a deep rooted mystery that keeps the audience involved. This is a gem of the book from the increasingly fascinating talent of Grady Hendrix.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grady Hendrix is basically the new voice of our Gen X generation. The man has given us a haunted Ikea in Horrorstör, then proceeded to take us back to our formative years with both My Best Friend's Exorcism, where he gives us an '80s tale worthy of an upside-down universe-John Hughes flick. Paperbacks from Hell brought me back to my family's bookshelves, with the best memories of those crazy horror paperback novel covers (remember die-cut covers? EVERY. V.C. ANDREWS. NOVEL) lining the walls of my home and my bookworm uncle's living room. So where is Grady taking us next? Welp, we've grown up and moved on - or have we? - so we're kinda sorta stuck between present and past with We Sold Our Souls. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was a band on the verge of the breakthrough, and guitarist Kris Pulaski was ready for it. But lead singer Terry Hunt decided to go in a different direction, signing a solo contract and gaining huge success with Koffin, leaving his fellow band members to wallow in obscurity. Twenty years later, Kris is working as the night manager at a Best Western and still wondering what the hell happened that infamous night when everything went to hell. Literally. As Kris travels cross-country to reunite with her band members and find out what really happened on contract night, she starts uncovering the conspiracy to end all conspiracies, tin foil hat and everything. Did Terry sell their souls to get fame, fortune, and unlimited merchandising royalties? Real talk: This book needs to rocket to the top of your TBR, and that's not just because I will read anything that Grady Hendrix writes. He's aces at creating strong, smart female characters, for starters. Kris is not going down without a fight, and we are right there with her, including an escape scene that fed on every single nerve in my body. My chest was tight, my hands were clenched, and I had a cold sweat just envisioning the scene. That's how Grady Hendrix writes. Every chapter is named for a hard rock/heavy metal album, and the references to bands and songs are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. The main plot surrounds a concept album: Remember when Queensryche hit with Operation: Mindcrime? We were RAISED on concept albums, so this story? We've been preparing for this our whole adult lives. Let's go beyond the plot to the real horror story: we're living in a society that anesthetizes us. Got a bad feeling? We've got a pill for that. Don't like the news? Don't worry about it, go find something peaceful to watch and take your meds so you don't have to feel bad. We're living in dangerous times, where we're medicating ourselves just so we can cope with the world around us - but Hendrix points out how easy it is to just turn off and ignore everything, and how people with less than stellar intentions can use that against us. The key here: stay vigilant; just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you. We Sold Our Souls is everything good about horror and the '80s: it's an over-the-top, violent thrill ride where a chick with a guitar is the only thing standing in the way between us and total, soul-sucking destruction. Rent the 1986 flick Trick or Treat, dig into this book, and make yourself the greatest of playlists. Don't miss Grady Hendrix on tour! He's got a schedule up on his website. And sign up for his Book Reviews of the Damned. You'll thank me later. Check out We Sold Our Souls' starred review from Booklist!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think any big fan of heavy metal and horror novels will find something to enjoy in this book. I didn't particularly relate to it and found the perspective a bit muddled. That may have been due in part to the formatting of the e-arc, and could improve in the finished copy. There are pages and pages of lyrics which do have meaning to the overall story, but some are repeated and I found myself skimming through those sections. I did feel like some of the gore was a bit unnecessary, but not really unexpected from a Grady Hendrix read. I am still really into his writing, and I'm looking forward to his next foray into horror.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
We Sold Our Souls and all we got was this lousy band t-shirt. High concept but ultimately unsatisfying book about a fictional heavy metal band. Kris, Scottie, Tuck, Terry and first JD and then Bill started Durk Wurk, a heavy metal band, in high school. They were good but not great. Terry, the male lead singer, breaks up the band one night by stealing their music and going solo as The Blind King in his (new band) Koffin. Terry becomes rich and famous while the other band members stumble through life. Kris, the guitarist and song writer, decides to confront Terry during his final farewell tour show at Hellfest. As she contacts her other former band mates, she finds out more than just thievery may have happened the night the band broke up. Similar to what occurred with the author’s Horrorstor, We Sold Our Souls has an intriguing and high concept plot. Unfortunately, its promise is never fully realized. The conclusion was exactly what was seen only a few pages into the story. There are also some credibility issues. I don’t listen to metal. But I know the Dead Kennedys and the Plasmatics were punk—not metal. I found it hard to believe that a guitarist could stop playing for years and immediately be able to play at the same level when she is handed a guitar. Also, while there are illusions to Hell, there were absolutely no scary moments in this book. If you are into heavy metal, you might enjoy this book. However, for me it only rates 3 stars. Thanks to Quirk Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant recommend this to anyone with intelegence