A while back I came across a short article in Rolling Stone about Bob Dylan’s legendary Fender Stratocaster, the one he busted out at the Newport Folk Festival to make his electric debut. Supposedly the guitar had been found by an instrument appraiser after being lost for many years. Dylan himself denies that it’s the same guitar, which he says he still has, but I suspect that Dylan just likes to be contrary whenever a journalist gets him on the phone. Anyway, I liked the idea of a kind of forensics being used to verify if the wood grain pattern matched photos from the 60’s, and it stuck in my mind.
I’m a guitar geek, so it didn’t take long for that scrap of a story to get remixed in my mind with my own geeky obsessions, such as some of the details of David Gilmour’s famous Black Strat. I’ve even worked up my own replica of that guitar for when I want to bask in some Pink Floyd tones. Mine is nice, and cost a lot less to assemble than the one sold by the Fender Custom Shop.
When the guitar obsession collided with the horror fiction obsession, I finally got a short story out of it that I’m quite happy with. “The Last Chord” is about a vintage instruments appraiser, a Rock n Roll Detective if you will, who discovers a haunted Stratocaster. It first appeared in Dark Discoveries magazine, and is now available on Kindle.
I almost titled the story “Black Widow Blues,” but then my friend Jill proof read it and picked “The Last Chord” from my list of possible titles. I’m glad she did, because in a way the story is a final chord of The Devil of Echo Lake, struck years after the events of that novel, when we find sound engineer Jake Campbell once again wrapped up in some sinister paranormal weirdness with a Lovecraftian twist. You don’t need to have read the book to enjoy this standalone story, and if you do pick it up, you also get a preview chapter of my next book, Steel Breeze, tagged on at the end. Not bad for a buck.
Since this is my first foray into self publishing… (clears throat, sheepishly swats dog hair from his sleeve) if you do read the story and like it, a really short review would make me love you long time.