Local rock band Ragman is finally taking off. Stephanie Case’s flamboyant performances and scorching guitar work have started attracting crowds, and singer John Tsiboukas–aka Johnny Tango–is delivering the best performances of his life. After months of playing to dead rooms, it looks like success is at hand. The thing is, there’s something wrong with Johnny’s voice. Until just a few weeks ago, he couldn’t hit the right pitch if you painted a target on it and let him stand real close. Now he sounds amazing. . . and strange things happen every time he sings. Lights burn out. Whole rooms become cold and hushed. People get violent. For Johnny and Case, Ragman is a ticket out of a life of meaningless, dead-end jobs and one lousy gig after another, but as the weirdness surrounding Johnny begins to turn into outright nightmare, they find that the price of stardom might be higher than either of them could ever have imagined.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Oh boy, don’t read this one when you’re home alone at night. Joseph Garraty has created a world of horror populated by a string of characters who have their own demons to deal with – they don’t need their lead singer to turn into the devil to complicate their lives further but that is exactly what they get.
Say hello to Ragman – John/Johnny, his brother Danny, Stephanie Case/Case and Quentin. The band has dreams of making it big; little did they know they would have to go through hell to get there. John is the lead singer of Ragman, only problem is he doesn’t have a particularly good voice – okay, he has a pretty awful voice. Johnny, however, has a voice with the ability to put crowds into a trance, it is that good! Let me clear this up a little bit. John effectively does a deal with the devil, pardon the cliché, and Johnny Tango is born. Johnny has an awesome voice and he is THE MAN. Now that their lead singer is such a hit success is Ragman’s for the taking but there is a stronger presence at play here who will take more than success – lives are what this evil presence wants.
Garraty has set the music scene perfectly, it is completely believable. The descriptions of playing in not so hot locations, playing at bigger locations, the interactions between members of the band, the lows and highs of a band trying to make it – all these descriptions add to the realness of the book and invite you into the world of Ragman, both collectively as a whole and individually as band members. Frequently the voice in my head was asking how far will they go and what will the cost be? How much will they sacrifice, who will they hurt and will it bring success or failure? More often than not it was asking do I really want to know the answers to these questions? Yes, I most definitely did! I might have to read with one eye closed, sneaking a look at the page but scared of what I might find and okay, I might have to read with the lights on but I knew I wouldn’t be able to turn away and I had to know the answers, no matter what those answers might be. I could not stop reading this book, even when things got gory and spooky and strange I could not put it down. It was like I was now a member of Ragman, I was in for the journey whether I liked it or not.
This was without a doubt a page-turner for me. Before I dove in and started reading I wasn’t sure what to expect, or whether I would even enjoy it, but once I started that was it, I was hooked and I read it with a real hunger. I went through many emotions whilst turning those pages; I felt high, full of adrenalin and then I felt low, in a trancelike state, depressed, and angry. I loved it all, the characters, the actual story, the shocking and the gruesome parts – I loved the rollercoaster ride of it. This book has it all and I have to say Garraty has done a fantastic job fitting it all in without feeling rushed.
If you haven’t read this book yet I would suggest you seek it out and do so as soon as you can. It is well worth the read. Even if you aren’t sure if you will like it just give it a go and you might be pleasantly surprised, as I was, and then you will say a thank you to the writing gods for sending us Joseph Garraty and this horror story called Voice.
Thank you to Joseph Garraty for providing me with a copy of Voice, I very much enjoyed the ride – thanks, Joseph!