Book Reviews

{Review} THE FINAL RECONCILIATION, by Todd Keisling

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on February 3, 2017
Genres: Cosmic Horror, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Lovecraftian, Occult & Supernatural
Pages: 106
Format: eARC
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Thirty years ago, a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings began recording what would become their first and final album. Titled “The Final Reconciliation,” the album was expected to usher in a new renaissance of heavy metal, but it was shelved following a tragic concert that left all but one dead.

The sole survivor of that horrific incident was the band’s lead guitarist, Aidan Cross, who’s kept silent about the circumstances leading up to that ill-fated performance—until now.

For the first time since the tragedy, Aidan has granted an exclusive interview to finally put rumors to rest and address a question that has haunted the music industry for decades: What happened to The Yellow Kings?

The answer will terrify you.

Inspired by The King in Yellow mythos first established by Robert W. Chambers, and reminiscent of cosmic horror by H. P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, and John Langan, comes The Final Reconciliation—a chilling tale of regret, the occult, and heavy metal by Todd Keisling.

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As the synopsis indicates, THE FINAL RECONCILIATION, by Todd Keisling, pays homage to the ideas presented in Robert W. Chamber’s “The King in Yellow”.  Even H.P. Lovecraft wrote in reference to Hastur (sometimes referred to as “The Unspeakable One”, or “Him Who Is Not to be Named”), and the city of Carcosa.  However, Keisling has simply nailed these concepts in a modern day style and setting, using Rock musicians as his “artists”.  The entire tale is told in the vein of an interview with the only surviving member of the band, The Yellow Kings.

“. . . Out of those 234 people, 233 of them died that night in a variety of gruesome ways . . . I’m the only one who survived.”

Aidan Cross is the aging rocker being interviewed by producer, Miles Hargrove, about the band’s last night together, and the concert that ended with such carnage.  This is the first time in the 30 years since, that Aidan has agreed to speak of the days and events that led up to that fateful night.  During this read, I felt completely transported back in time with Aidan and his bandmates, Johnny, Hank, and Bobby, along with their perceptive manager, Reggie.

“. . . used to smile like that all the time before his face was torn off . . . “

When they first meet “the gypsy”, Camilla Bierce, after a great show, her movements and looks are so “telling”, that it comes as no surprise when she leeches onto the lead vocalist, Johnny . . . and stays.

“. . . We’re all wearing pallid masks.”

Keisling is outstanding when it comes to Camilla’s character, and the dynamics she inserts within the group.  She disrupts their lives with her literal intrusion, and the focus she puts on everybody needing to “take off their masks”.

“. . . this world is nothing more than a masquerade, and your music will help us all to remove the masks . . . A final reconciliation of this world and ours . . .”

As I read of Aidan’s life in the Rock business, and then the subtle changes that he and the others began experiencing, I felt a literal “witness” to the story.  Everything they saw and did was incredibly tangible to my senses–no matter what the context.  It takes a considerable skill to be able to carry a reader along so effortlessly, even through the more surreal moments, yet Todd Keisling pulled it off, unquestionably.

“. . . visions of something we aren’t meant to see.  Knowledge of something we aren’t meant to know . . . “

By the time the band readied for what would be their final concert together at The Hyades, anything seemed plausible–and the shocking conclusion, nearly inevitable.

“. . . whatever its purpose, this music was the catalyst.”

This was my first read by author Todd Keisling, and I am eager to pick up my next.

Highly recommended!


About Todd Keisling

TODD KEISLING is the author of A Life Transparent, The Liminal Man (a 2013 Indie Book Award Finalist), and the critically-acclaimed novella, The Final Reconciliation. He lives somewhere in the wilds of Pennsylvania with his wife, son, and trio of unruly cats.

Visit his website,, and connect with him on social media:


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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