Review: Drumbeats: Special Edition by Kevin J. Anderson & Neil Peart

Rating: 8.5/10


A chilling tale of African drums and human souls from #1 international bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson and legendary Rush lyricist and drummer Neil Peart.

Early in their three decades of correspondence, Neil Peart sent Kevin J. Anderson extensive descriptions and travelogues of his adventures bicycling solo across Africa. Peart painted a vivid and unsettling landscape as memorable as the lyrics to his songs.

Anderson, award-winning and bestselling fantasy and science fiction author, used those descriptions as the backdrop for plotting an intense, atmospheric dark fantasy story that followed Peart’s experiences, though with a much more ominous twist. The two used their respective strengths to weave a memorable tale that will linger long after the last page.

This special illustrated edition includes Anderson’s new introduction, written after Peart’s death on January 7, 2020, as well as the original Afterword Peart wrote for the story.


Thanks to Joe Hempel and Fireside Horror for a listening copy of Drumbeats: Special Edition for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

This might be one of the coolest collaborations in history. One of the greatest authors of our time + a Rock n’ Roll LEGEND, ICON, YOU NAME IT produce an eerie, unforgettable tale with an utterly impeccable ending.

Being a super short story, it is hard to really go much into detail without giving anything away. Suffice it to say, it is a tightly woven story about a professional drummer (go figure :D) and his intrigue with a particular drum native to the land he currently resides. The drum itself gives off this otherworldly power when played and our protagonist finds himself searching for the creator.

While the story itself is the main event, the introduction from Kevin and the afterward from Neil bring so much more to the story. It is fascinating to hear how they became friends and stayed friends up until Peart’s passing in 2020. I cannot imagine receiving a letter in the mail from one of the best drummers of all-time because he enjoyed something I wrote; then to continue those letters and become a roadie for one of the greatest rock bands ever.

If I had to categorize this story, it would be horror (I guess). It isn’t scary so much as things jumping out and stabbing you, but the ending is certainly traumatic. I’d say it is standard fiction with some horror elements, and one that you should definitely give the 30-45 minutes it deserves.

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