In the past, I've kept those mostly to myself. I've talked about songs inspiring fiction on a few convention panels, though. Sometimes a song will help inform a character. Sometimes it hits on a theme. Sometimes it simply evokes a mood.
During the pandemic, I've been listening to a lot of music. It helps to keep me sane (well, close to it). It's been a strange few months.
In any case, because I just finished a new book called Hell Hunter, and included the playlist at the back of that book, I thought I'd share it here, too.
A warning about Hell Hunter. It's extremely dark, so if you can't handle darkness, you'll want to steer clear of it.
If you think you can handle it, Click Here to Buy.
But the songs may still be fun. We'll go alphabetical by song title. Some of the official releases are not set up to be embedded, so I'll link to those instead (links will open in a new window).
1. "All the Good Girls Go to Hell" by Billie Eilish
First of all, this is a cool song with a cool video (couldn't embed it). The attitude fits. If God herself needs Lucifer's help, what about us mere mortals?
2. "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath
Released in 1970, this is the oldest song on the playlist, and it feels like a requirement considering the title and subject matter. Besides, it's Black Sabbath.
3. "Brother Jacob" by Head East
Head East is best-known for the song "Never Been Any Reason." This song is from the same album (Flat as a Pancake), in fact, it's the final tune on the record. While the protagonist of the book doesn't sell his soul, he still has a price to pay. I always got a kick out of this song because it's upbeat, and the final verse suggests Brother Jacob is still alive. We can all use a little hope.
4. "Children of the Next Level" by Testament
This one is about a cult. The Heaven's Gate cult in particular. I wanted a song about cults in the playlist, and Testament released this cool tune this year, so I knew it belonged here. If you have some time, check out the video with full animation. It rocks.
5. "Criminal" by Fiona Apple
Fiona may sing about being a bad, bad girl, but this is a good, good song. There are enough criminals in the book to justify this song, and it fits the Brenda character quite well.
6. "Evil and Here to Stay" by The Jeff Healey Band
I first discovered Jeff Healey in the movie Road House, then picked up his CD "See the Light" in 1989. It hooked me, and I bought every Jeff Healey CD (yes, kids, there were CDs, and actual vinyl records before that) when they came out. This particular song was my favorite tune from the "Feel This" album. It has the right attitude for this book, so it's in.
7. "God is a Bullet" by Concrete Blonde
I love Concrete Blonde. Such a cool band. This song is just as timely now as when it was released. Johnette Napolitano's voice is so distinctive and perfect for this amazing band.
8. "Hell is for Children" by Pat Benatar
When this song came out, some Christian groups misunderstood the point of the song, thinking it was about sending kids to Hell or some nonsense. That alone would be enough to include it, but as the book revolves around kids kidnapped by a Satanic cult, a song about child abuse needs to be here.
An official version is not set to embed, so Click Here to Go Listen
9. "Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Osbourne
I mentioned this song by name in one of my Jonathan Shade novels. As the cult chose the 12th of October to kidnap the children because it was Aleister Crowley's birthday, I felt it deserved another appearance on my playlist. Any excuse is fine. This song rocks.
10. "Ritual" by Ghost
This tune was the third song added to the list (Black Sabbath and Ozzy were the first two) because it would just be wrong not to have it here.
11. "Stargazer" by Rainbow
Ronnie James Dio is in top form on this cool tune. People believe things that can get them killed.
Link to official release Click Here to Listen
12. "Where Evil Grows" by The Poppy Family
This was the last song added to the playlist. I almost went with another song by the same band ("There's No Blood in Bone") because this song was used in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. I decided it belonged here anyway.