The Last Place sees Danby switching to full auto. She’s been through hell and now she’s unleashing hellfire. I listened to a lot of dark and brooding sounds while writing the book, along with a few classics that lent their titles to the book’s three parts.
- Gotham’s Reckoning – Hans Zimmer
Okay, I admit there’s been an overload of Hans Zimmer’s brown-sound bombast in blockbuster cinema lately, but I’m still a total sucker for this suspenseful instrumental from The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack. It bristles with dark energy, just like Danby as she prepares to spring her trap.
- Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
The first part of The Last Place is named for my favourite Rolling Stones song because it’s brooding, epic and tortured and, like Danby, similarly aggressive and vulnerable. “Oh children, we’re just a shot away.” But from what? Bonus: brilliantly, this YouTube clip sets the song to scenes from Apocalypse Now. See the first post in this series for how that film influenced The Last Trilogy.
- My Way – Frank Sinatra
One of the most surreal interludes in The Last Place has Danby encountering other survivors who’re enjoying a bit of Frank by doing post-apocalyptic karaoke. Does it end well? No, it does not.
- President At The Train – John Carpenter
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Carpenter made some of the best sci-fi and horror flicks ever. His The Thing is a masterpiece and in my all-time top 10. But I love the soundtrack to his Escape From New York, in which anti-hero Snake Plissken has to choose whether or not to save the world from itself. This driving electro track was the perfect accompaniment to writing The Last Place scenes in which Danby infiltrates an abandoned city. Bonus: Earlier in the series Danby is told “I thought you were dead” as a homage to the similar line Snake hears all throughout Escape.
- (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
This awesome epic lends its title to part two of The Last Place. It’s the perfect track for Danby to play to her young friend as a distraction from violence because it’s not just loud but soothing (if sinister) in its embrace of death as the gateway to eternity. Bonus: Stephen King cited this song as an inspiration for The Stand, which is my favourite book and a major influence on The Last Trilogy. Bonus bonus: It was used to terrific effect in the opening of the TV adaptation of The Stand by director Mick Garris. One question: does it need more cowbell?
- Kick Out The Jams – MC-5
The title of part three of The Last Place. If you’re going to have a high-intensity urban conflict with automatic weapons, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better battle anthem than MC5’s proto-punk masterpiece of wild untamed energy… motherfuckers!
- Jesus Built My Hotrod – Ministry
Just about any song from Ministry’s Psalm 69 album would go well with The Last Place‘s full-tilt final showdown. But this one turns up the industrial energy to 11, with the sort of absurdist reversals that I loved peppering through the book. Dang-a-long-ling-long!
- This Ain’t No Picnic – The Minutemen
I discovered these big-hearted Californian punks during the writing of The Last Place—about thirty years after they disbanded in the wake of lead singer D. Boon’s tragic death. Double Nickels On The Dime is a truly great LP, showcasing a stunning vocal and musical range. It’s another ripping track that’d contribute its big sound to confusing an enemy.
- Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland
Whenever I think of eternity, I think of this song. It’s simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting. Bonus: all three books of The Last Trilogy are studded with references to the 1939 movie version of the The Wizard Of Oz, from Danby donning red boots to her mum’s painting of a yellow brick road. Super-squirrel bonus: each book contains a hidden quote from the movie. What does it mean? Oz only knows.