Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"Diabolus in Musica" - Phantom of the Opera Meets Dr. Faustus

Hello, commies!
Diabolus in Musica artfully blends high art and horror (just like in real life). Everyone knows that the devil wears Prada and loves beauty. 

A struggling tenor in a third-rate German opera house, Jack Horn feared his singing career was over. Then he met Belinda Fausse. World-renowned diva, beautiful temptress, she promised him fame and passion beyond his wildest imaginings. And she taught him well—until her private plane disappeared over the Atlantic.

Now Jack lives alone in Belinda's house, haunted by the night. For that is when she returns to him, taking his voice, his body, his being. And he is possessed by her, drowning in her perfume, suffocating in her embrace. Then friends and rivals begin to die, in ghastly, mysterious ways—and Jack realizes that no prayer is ever answered without a sacrifice... 

My thoughts
Brent Monahan's "Diabolus in Musica" will leave you with a strange deja vu feeling in a good way. The author weaves familiar archetypal themes of vanity, temptation and sinister contracts with the dark side. Be prepared to hear the echos of "Phantom of the Opera" and "Faustus". A handsome, vain though only moderately talented tenor with a telling name Jack Horn trades places with Christine from "Phantom of the Opera". His "Phantom" mentor is a stunning, mysterious, elusive diva by the name Belinda Fausse, whose career suggests that she is pushing 40 though she doesn't look a day over 25. When Belinda takes Jack as her lover and voice student, he has an unsettling feeling that there are dark powers at play and that there is a price to pay for this new skill and knowledge he is about to gain. 

I happen to come from a family of classical musicians. My birth father is a former opera singer, so I am familiar with many of the musical terms. But even if you are new to the world of opera, the author does a good job explaining the jargon without the characters sounding like "talking heads" (something Dan Brown and his imitators are guilty of).

What I like about this novel is that there isn't a lot of in-your-face gore. The horror is more suggestive than explicit. So if you can appreciate a modern gender-bender "Phantom of the Opera" type story, "Diabolus in Musica" is for you!

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