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Deep Blue
David Niall Wilson
Narrated by Chris Patton
Crossroad Press, 11.5 hours

Deep Blue
David Niall Wilson
Retired from the US Naval service, Wilson lives Norfolk, VA with his family. He has written under the pseudonyms Lucas Vancraven and Herb Greenhouse. Under his own name, he wrote the Star Trek: Voyager novels Chrysalis (1997) and This is My Blood (1995).

David Niall Wilson Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Roll Them Bones
SF Site Review: The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & the Currently Accepted Habits of Nature
SF Site Review: To Sift Through Bitter Ashes

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

"Crossroads or crosshairs, it's all the same. There's only one way through the pain and that's through the music." That's what the mysterious old bluesman tells Brandt when Brandt learns he has a new musical power. This quote grabbed me and kept hold as Brandt, a burned out musician, begins to play music that can absolve people of their pain. But as Stan Lee says, "With great power, comes great responsibility," and what Brandt must do with this new found power has yet to be revealed to him.

David Niall Wilson has written a haunting tale of a down-and-out bar band that is either on the verge of making it or burning out. The band's leader, Brandt, is trying to find that one thing in the music that is constantly eluding him, even though he's not sure what that thing might be. One night, after the band's last set, Brandt decides he'd better walk home because he's too drunk to drive. As he walks, he keeps hearing a haunting blues harmonica being played. Arriving home, he realizes he's forgotten his apartment keys and, swigging some courage from the tequila bottle, makes up his mind to track down the mysterious musician. Whom he finds is the ghostly figure of Wally, a harmonica-playing old bluesman. Wally shows Brandt his hidden talent of playing music by absorbing others' pain.

The next night, Brandt takes the stage with his bandmates and begins playing. As he plays, he gets visions of Nazis killing Jews, American Indians being forced to walk the Trail of Tears and more painful events. Over his shoulder, as he's playing, he hears Wally repeat the quote, "Crossroads or crosshairs, it's all the same. There's only one way through the pain and that's through the music." When Brandt finishes playing, the audience is stunned into silence and his band is staring at him asking, "What was that?" Brandt leaves without an explanation.

The following night, the band has a record executive in the audience, but no Brandt. This time it's the bassist, Cynthia, who takes her bass playing to new levels. She has always seen "angels" but tonight she seems to be playing for the angels. Before, the angels never paid any attention to her, but this time they are all looking at her and listening intently as she plays.

Other band members have similar extraordinary musical experiences, but all are confused as to what they need to do with their new abilities. As the group searches for their purpose, they meet a man named Payne who, for unknown reasons, seems to be keeping them from achieving the intended goal toward which their music is leading them.

Through some great musical imagery and engrossing sub-plots, David Niall Wilson has written a captivating story that is full of surprises. The reader, Chris Patton, fully captures the imagery in his excellent voicework and telling of this story. While listening, I wasn't sure if it was Wilson's words or Patton's voice, or the combination of the two -- but I swear I heard the music in every scene.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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