Trumpeter Miles West only planned to tour with a dance band for a couple of years after college. Now middle-aged, he finds himself still riding a bus across the country with a group that plays under the name of a long-dead bandleader--in musical parlance, a Ghost Band. Playing music that revives long-forgotten memories and rekindles romances, the band is never far from the specters of the past. In a breathtaking moment during a special song for sweethearts, Miles is shocked to discover the link to the past is far more real than anyone ever dared to imagine... In Dark Within Wooley gave us a new way to view technology. His Awash in the Blood shed a new light on vampirism. Now, he has expertly conjured a fresh vision of the spirit world. Ghost Band is a rich, haunting exploration of murder, mystery, and music that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.4" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Aug 15, 2006
Publisher Hawk Publishing Group
ISBN 193070951X ISBN13 9781930709515
Availability 0 units.
More About John Wooley
John Wooley has written novels, nonfiction, screenplays, journalism, and documentaries. His other books include the seminal horror classics "Old Fears" and "Death's Door", written with Ron Wolfe, and "How to Make It in the Music Business", written with music impresario Jim Halsey. Wooley lives in Oklahoma, where he is working on his next novel.
John Wooley currently resides in the state of Oklahoma. John Wooley was born in 1949.
Reviews - What do customers think about Ghost Band?
Aghast from the past May 23, 2008
In musical parlance, a ghost band is a band that plays the music of a long dead band leader. Miles West is a trumpeter in such a band, having started after college and now middle aged. Despite the horrendous travel schedule, odd hours and dwindling fan interest, he still likes what he is doing. Now, the band plays largely to aged crowds of people, who come out and dance in an attempt to be taken back to when they were young. As one of the band members puts it, they whisk their spirits back to a time when they were young, vigorous and had their whole lives ahead of them. Suddenly, two unusual things happen. The first is that an apparently crazed fan accosts the band, complaining that they are not the real thing. After a physical altercation with the leader of the group (Duke), the fan tries to knock Duke out with a rock. Being fairly tough, Duke easily dispatches the (not so tough) man with a few well-aimed punches. The second thing is that Miles suddenly starts having visions of a female ghost at their concerts. She appears in pain but is also trying to tell Miles something. After the first vision, one of the band members is killed by poison and then after Miles experiences another vision, a second member is stabbed. Since Miles finds the ghost familiar, he goes back into the past of the original band, looking for her. Simultaneously, he enlists the aid of a collector of movie memorabilia in an attempt to track down the culprit. The primary reason why I liked this book was that it referenced the fading past in a way I have experienced. In the last six months, I attended a symphony pops concert where the theme was the decline of the dance hall. The music was of the late thirties and forties and there was a running skit about the changes in the tastes in music and the looming closure of a dance hall. Most of the audience was in their seventies and eighties and they were living out what is described in this book. We all have our dreams and demons to aspire to and overcome, in this case they are the premise for what is secondarily a murder mystery.
Chilling Ghost Story Nov 7, 2007
I grew up in Southern Oklahoma. We know from ghost stories there. They're stories that scare us more than any serial killer/slasher/evil poltergeist/vampire/werewolf/zombie movie in the world. Because we know most of us will never meet a serial killer or slasher, and we're fairly confident that evil poltergeists, vampires, werewolves, and zombies don't exist. When we're young and go for a walk across a graveyard at night, we don't worry about those things.
We worry about ghosts. Because in Southern Oklahoma, we're up to our ears in Gothic ghost stories that have been handed down through families for generations. Not everyone will claim to believe in them, though. In fact, a lot of people will say they don't believe in ghosts, but get them alone in a house at night with a few unexplained noises in the background and they'll have no trouble remembering when they did believe in them.
John Wooley grew up in Oklahoma too. He's told some of the best stories about vampires and monsters out there. Not only that, but he's an acknowledged authority on movies, pulps, and music. He worked as a journalist for years and, with Michael H. Price, does a recurring column on old horror movies for FANGORIA magazine. Now he still writes and does a Western swing radio show, Swing On This.
I saw John this weekend at the Red Dirt Festival, an Oklahoma Library event that's held every two years. We sat around and told stories, a few new ones, but also some of the old ones we pulled out and dusted off to tell again. While we were talking, he told me about his latest novel, GHOST BAND. I hadn't heard about it. We stink at staying in touch it seems, but we're both busy guys.
The first thing I wanted to know was what a ghost band was. John told me that it was a band put together behind a dead man or dead band's name. A tribute of sorts to those who had gone on before, but also something to give to the fans. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd's present reincarnation.
So I picked up his book and brought it home. I read it while I should have been working. If I have to defend myself, I'll swear that I was possessed. Tomorrow I'll be haunted by deadlines, but today I was gripped by his seductive tale of a ghost woman that haunts a ghost band.
Miles West plays trumpet for the Sammy Patrick Orchestra, a big-band venue that tours Oklahoma and a few states over. Miles started playing in the band right out of college and hasn't been able to break the habit even though playing with them has cost him a major chunk of his marriage. He's middle-aged now and the miles on the bus don't get any easier.
Told in first-person by Miles, GHOST BAND proceeds the best way ghost stories can. I was gently brought along into the tale, eased in like I was shoehorned into a favorite pair of loafers. The chapters are short and the writing is compact, and just when I was about to close the book and get back to work, Wooley expertly lured me into reading just one more chapter.
While Miles is playing one night, he sees the ghost of a woman. She appears during one of Sammy Patrick's signature songs, "Sweethearts Forever." Then she gestures at one of the band members. Miles freaks out and blows the trumpet solo duet he's supposed to perform. But that night, the band member the ghost pointed at dies.
At first Miles doesn't want to tell anyone. Not the Duke, the band leader. And not Blair, the female vocalist touring with them, who's half Miles's age and who's developing a mutual crush. But when the ghost reappears and a second band member nearly dies, Miles knows he can't keep the secret to himself.
The band is haunted. And he has to find out why.
Wooley's prose moves smoothly and the tale hooked me deeper and deeper, till I just couldn't give up on the book. I needed to know what was going on, and why. And there was just enough of a gentle mystery to keep me flipping pages till I reached the end. Along the way, Wooley gets a chance to talk about old movies, more music, and other loves that he has in real life.
Although I've been gone from that small town I grew up in for almost thirty years, GHOST BAND took me back to that small house where the wind blew and whistled, where the rafters creaked, and where momma left the oven on at night to warm the house in the winter and that caused the tick-tick-ticking of cooling metal that sounded just like footsteps. For a while there, even though I know there's no such things as ghosts (right?), I was a believer again.
Wooley has done it! Dec 16, 2006
I've been reading John Wooley's work since his first published article in a fan magazine back in the late 60s. He has always been a good writer, an entertaining writer, and a thought-provoking writer. I had to read GHOST BAND twice before I could write this review. I just couldn't believe the depth and the artistry of the words coming out of John's pen. This is so far above his previoius works that I am just stunned.
I'm a literature major, Masters Degree in fact. I'm a published novelist myself, and I have to say that this is some of the best writing I have EVER read. The story is tight, the images clear and concise, the characters absolutely believeable. I am just overwhelmed. Wooley has taken a giant step forward. He has moved from being a VERY good writer to being a true literary artist. Wow!
Read this book. You are doing yourself a great injustice if you do not.
Old-time band haunted by its past Sep 25, 2006
I really enjoyed this novel. The "ghost band" in question is the Sammy Patrick Orchestra, journeyman musicians playing under the name of a Big Band era group whose original members have long since gone to dust. The ghost band is on the road all the time, playing small venues, keeping the old songs alive for people who remember the original and want to dance to youthful memories. In bringing the story to life, Wooley employs an intimate knowledge of the music business; there's plenty of authentic detail about this overlooked corner.
He uses the idea of the "ghost" in interesting ways, as a metaphor for the way figments of the past keep hanging around, and as a literal, supernatural manifestation that shows up just before a band member is cruelly murdered. It's interesting the way Wooley mingles past and present, painting the world as a place where the past is still alive, not only in a supernatural sense but in the way we absorb memories and culture. The ghost band really is haunted, in more ways than one!
This is a tight novel with a unique point of view and a strong sense of purpose. There is plenty of shock and surprise in an ending that accelerates as the forces at play come into collision. In addition to being a good thriller, it's a fascinating meditation on nostalgia and memory--what the past means to the present. Recommended!