is a literary novel of spiritual reevaluation, humor, music
and adventure. The first half of the book tells the story
of five individual musicians. Their lives, feelings and dreams
are seen in five, twenty-or-so page personality sketches.
sax player from New Orleans flings his instrument into the
Mississippi before going to Europe to escape the rut he is
in, playing a string of future-less gigs on Bourbon Street.
He is haunted by the memory of killing a neighbor playmate
as a child and his failed marriage.
Harlan: a lovesick pianist struggles with drugs
and guilt of his prostitute girlfriend's abortion.
Perry is an unbalanced drummer who
has suffered brain damage due to excessive
convulsive shock therapy after a drug induced
demonstration of madness. He is obsessed
Moe: a Buddhist guitar player leaves
Queens after passing briefly over some
old memories. He goes to England to search
out spiritual and artistic fulfillment.
Louanda: a black bassist/singer
from a New Orleans ghetto, who feels alienated
because of her literary interests and pressure
from her family. She attains a scholarship
in Texas and leaves the love of her life
characters are linked by Bob, a booking agent who contacts
them for a European tour, taking them from Paris to Italy
and finally to the club where they fall victim to a terrorist
bomb. Half way through the story the band finds themselves
playing in the Devil's club, in a Hell, made up, like a collage
of Dante, Milton, Sartre and African Mythological images.
As penitence, James must play harmonica instead of sax. Bob
survives and we follow his Hell-on-Earth life back to the
beach town in California where he grew up. Meanwhile Moe,
the Buddhist is in a coma-limbo and the powers-that-be have
his sent soul "down" to help the unfortunate musicians to
escape to Purgatory. Satan (Clive) eventually decides that
he also wants to leave his own underworld, after successfully
tempting most of the band to remain.
From Hell is a raw look at how we humans deal with death,
the soul and love.
liked Andy J Forest's novel immensely as it's full of insights
and vigorous in its treatment of the milieu. Also Andy has
a fine style of his own, wonderfully serving him...."
Park Honan - author of "Shakespeare A Life" Oxford
is a natural born storyteller. His prose, like the blues
music for which he is well known, is an imaginative romp
through the psyche's underworld. He lends eloquence to man's
eternal struggle for redemption amidst bittersweet ironies
and grandiose absurdities".
Jonathan Tabak - jazz/features writer for Off Beat