Review: ‘The Final Reconciliation’ by Todd Keisling

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling
Crystal Lake Publishing (February 2017)
106 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

First, some background on The King in Yellow. Prior to season one of HBO’s True Detective series, many folks had never heard of Robert W. Chambers or his book of short stories by the same name. The book is named after a fictional play with the same title. The first half of the book features highly esteemed weird stories, and has been described by critics as a classic in the field of the supernatural. There are ten stories, the first four of which mention The King in Yellow, a forbidden play which induces despair or madness in those who read it.

In The Final Reconciliation, Todd Keisling introduces readers to the fictional heavy metal band The Yellow Kings. It’s been years since that fateful final performance at a small L.A. nightclub. Miles Hargrove and his producer are interviewing Aidan Cross, looking for the true story of their one and only performance of  The Final Reconciliation.  

The band was just starting to make a name for themselves when in walks a gypsy woman calling herself Camilla Bierce. She showed up shortly after the band had released an EP and were embarking on a cross-country tour.

We blew the doors off every place we played. Every night we took a bow together on stage, every night we piled back into the van, and every night Carmilla came along for the ride.

Keisling proves himself to be a master storyteller weaving a believable tale of an up-and-coming band with Chambers’ mystique from The King in Yellow. When speaking of the time the band spent recording in L.A.:

…we never really left that dim Carcosa. That’s what Carmilla called it, you see. She never said ‘Los Angeles’ or ‘LA’  It was always Carcosa to her.

That should be enough to whet your appetite for this first-rate novella. Even the ending of The Final Reconciliation is about as good as it gets and as a result this book receives my highest recommendation.

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