Authors: Creston Mapes
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Suspense, #thriller, #Mystery, #Christian Fiction, #Frank Peretti, #Ted Dekker
“Confidently written. Dark Star is an impressive debut.”
— Best-Selling Author James Scott Bell
“Worthy of any Grisham novel, this book was riveting from start to finish. Mapes is a rare find.”
— Focus on Fiction
“Dark Star is a gripping page-turner of a debut.”
— Infuze Magazine
“A rock and roll thriller sure to keep readers in suspense.”
— CCM Magazine
“Mapes forges a powerful tale. 4 Stars - Top Pick!”
— Romantic Times Book Club
“Genuine tension . . . a real page-turner.”
— Akron Beacon Journal
“Difficult to put down . . . a wonderful book. Give this one a chance!”
— Armchair Interviews
“An unvarnished look at sin and redemption, confidently written. Dark Star is an impressive debut.”
— Best-Selling Author James Scott Bell
“Not in a very, very long time, have I had as much joy and pleasure with reading a book as I just had with Dark Star.”
“Dark Star, Creston Mapes’ first novel, is probably the best book I have read so far this year.”
— In the Library Review
“Dark Star takes the prevalent work of Satan and brings it into a very real context.”
— HM - The Hard Music Magazine
“Mapes’ books are instantly intriguing. My daughter had this to say about Dark Star: ‘It is one of my favorite books. I’m really into music, so the fact that Everett Lester is a rock star is really interesting to me. This book shows what can happen when you’re on drugs, when you mess with a psychic, and what you feel like living your life without God. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 13. It’s amazing.’”
— SPIRE Reviews
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2005 by Creston Mapes, Inc.
Cover art by Dan Pitts /
Scripture quotations are from:
New American Standard Bible
(NASB) © 1960, 1977, 1995
by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
New Living Translation (NLT)
© 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Holy Bible,
New King James Version (NKJV)
© 1984 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The Holy Bible,
New International Version (NIV) © 1973, 1984 by International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House
The Holy Bible,
King James Version (KJV)
Published in the United States of America
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission.
For Mom and Dad,
A lifetime of thanks for your patience, generosity, and
unconditional love—and for encouraging me to dream big.
Deepest gratitude to my agent, Mark Sweeney; his wife, Janet; and my editor at Multnomah, Julee Schwarzburg. You three believed in this manuscript early, and for that, I will always be grateful. I’m honored to work with you.
Special thanks to Multnomah’s Don Jacobson and family, and Doug Gabbert and family—for reading, enjoying, and getting behind
To Kristina Coulter, Sharon Znachko, Chad Hicks, and the whole team at Multnomah—thanks so much for your great work.
I am indebted to Joseph Cheeley III for your time and legal expertise.
Thanks to Bern, Min, Vibe, Frank, Phil, and all my friends for your prayers and encouragement.
Finally…thank you, Patty (the steady one). I hope you enjoy the book; you can finally read it now! Abigail, sincerest thanks for your creative input. Hannah, Esther, and Creston—thanks for your patience and prayers while Daddy concentrated on “the book”!
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver,
but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
2 Timothy 2:20, NKJV
IT WAS A GLORIOUS
blaze, the fire we set. A wicked, glorious blaze.
Its flames leapt as tall as we were at fifteen years of age, however tall that was. Dibbs was short, so the flames even went above his head.
We stood like some kind of untouchable demons with our backs to the fire, legs locked apart, and forearms crossed above our heads with fists clenched. Our white-, black-, and red-painted faces were lowered, our eyes staring at the wet, almost freezing Ohio street beneath our booted feet.
As cars approached our black, soldierlike silhouettes and the burning wall of fire behind us, they slowed and turned around to find another way to their part of the neighborhood.
Ah, the power. Adrenaline pumping. Hearts pounding. Fear mixed with fascination.
We felt like gods.
Then we heard the sirens, a bunch of them, coming it seemed from every direction.
We took off, sprinting down the middle of the street in the direction of my house, malt liquor coursing through our bloodstreams, frantically looking for the first sign of headlights or flashing red lights in the blackness.
Red lights. Painting the trees in the distance.
Dibbs dove headlong into a pack of thornbushes at the side of the road. I laughed when I saw him stuck in midair, arms stretched out in front of him like he was diving into a pool. He screamed from the pain of the prickers.
I lit down a side road near the city park and did a ten-foot baseball slide through the wet grass up to the base of a big willow tree. Lou Brock couldn’t have done it better.
After the first fire truck and squad car passed, Dibbs came thumping down the dark street, his breath pumping steam into the frigid night. “Where are you, man?”
I darted to meet him, and we ran toward my house again, smack-dab down the middle of the street.
Out of nowhere, headlights catapulted toward us.
Next, the screeching of tires as a Dodge Charger’s rear skidded toward us. In unison with the stop, the Charger’s passenger door banged open and the dome light came on, illuminating my older brother Eddie who was—that night—our savior.
My name is Everett Lester. I’ve been asked by a New York publishing house to pen these memoirs. The experiences and encounters you’re about to read are true, I can assure you of that because I was there for all of it. And the story isn’t finished yet.
I am presently seated in a rather sterile courtroom in Miami-Dade County, Florida, at a long-awaited murder trial, portions of which are being shown on major network television.
It’s a media circus.
As I write this, mobs of press people with phones, recorders, shoulder bags, and bulky equipment flood courtroom B-3. Presiding judge Henry Sprockett, who resembles Dick Van Dyke, has had to settle the movement along the perimeter of the wood-paneled courtroom several times already. The hype is nothing unusual for me—I only wish it came under different circumstances.
Late that night, after our little experiment lighting the road on fire, I distinctly remembered staring at the white sink in my basement bathroom as the black, white, and red makeup swirled down the drain. I simply stared.
Eddie had shown up at just the right moment, as he would many more times during the days of my youth.
What if the cops had nailed you?
What would Mom have said? What would my father have done?
The cold fact was, it just didn’t matter.
As far back as I could remember, I was going to be somebody. I realized at a young age that I would have one pass at life—and I was going to make it a showstopper. A raging youth, I was brimming with emotion: everything from fear and anger to pride and insecurity. I felt like a big, bad, bodacious thunderhead ready to send out my lightning across the universe. A whole world awaited me out there, and my desire was to take it by storm.
Ever since my older brother, Eddie, sold me his worn-out KISS
album for two dollars, I was hooked on rock ’n’ roll. My friends—Dibbs, Scoogs, Crazee, and me—had a band called Siren. We played clubs throughout northeast Ohio, from Akron and Cleveland to Canton and Youngstown. We did numbers from bands like Queen, Rush, Bowie, Kiss, and Springsteen, plus a bunch of our own tunes.
Early on, promoters came out to see us at bars like the Agora Ballroom, Backstreets, The Big Apple, and The Bank. We were one of the few amateur bands back then to use pyrotechnics in our shows. After several years, we changed our name to DeathStroke. By the time the band was five years old, I was twenty, and we had landed our first record deal with Omega Records.
Before we knew it we were warming up for stars like John Cougar Mellencamp, Joan Jett, AC/DC, and Pat Benatar. The first record,
, sold 500,000 copies within six months of its release, and we were playing concerts on the road 260 days a year.
It’s all a blur to me now. Like a dream. Large bits and pieces—even years—are simply missing, probably never to be recalled.
That was for the better, I was sure.
Miami-Dade prosecutors were having a field day with former DeathStroke drummer David Dibbs, who had occupied the witness stand for the past fifty minutes and was nervous as a cat.
Dibbs looked old now. White beard stubble showed distinctly on his tan face. He wore a light blue, cotton-silk shirt with a pointy collar, no tabs, unbuttoned to his chest; its long cuffs were unbuttoned also. Dibbs repeatedly threw his stringy brown hair off his face, back behind his right ear. He fidgeted with his hard hands and bit at the cuticles of his stubby, calloused fingers. Looked like he could use a smoke.
No wonder Dibbs was antsy. The bulldog, county prosecutor Frank Dooley, had led witnesses to reveal incriminating evidence from the past about Dibbs himself. The drummer had been forced to confess that all of us in the band, except Ricky, used drugs in excess during the heyday of DeathStroke—including marijuana, Valium, hash, cocaine, and heroin.
In reality, however, Dibbs had nothing to worry about. After all, he wasn’t the one on trial here.
Scores of DeathStroke groupies camped out at record stores coast to coast, awaiting the release of our second heavy metal album, Our Own Religion. Needless to say, sales figures went ballistic, with the title track making it to the top of the charts within two weeks. Here are the words to that hit, which I penned, sang, and shared guitar duty on alongside John Scoogs:
Ain’t no god above,
Ain’t no god below,
Ain’t no god in the afterlife,
Ain’t no god gonna keep me in tow.
We got ourselves a new religion,
One we call our own,
It’s about taking life by storm, my pilgrims,
It’s about livin’ in the danger zone.