My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse

Better To Burn Out Book 1

Fiction - Realistic
323 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

The price of fame and stardom in any entertainment industry is more than most of us can bear. We have all heard it from various stars themselves, and the author, D.M. Needom, has transformed this confession into a gripping fiction: My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse - Better To Burn Out Book 1. Nigel Hartagan, the bass player in his popular band, started his journey as a normal teenager with the dream of creating music and becoming famous. He did not think that his desire to be rich and famous would set him on the path of drugs and an insatiable thirst for meaningless sex. In order to get his life back on track and eliminate the risk of losing his wife and daughter, he checked himself into rehab. However, in his unstable mental state and with his inclination towards his vices, would he be able to find his way back? As a reader, I found myself asking this question over and over again.

The author has done a marvelous job of writing the inner thoughts of a smug, arrogant, drug-and-sex addict. Nigel sparked intrigue for me. I had to know how his life turned out. The credit goes to the remarkable writing of the author. One cannot help being bemused by Nigel's life. His love for Melinda, the one that got away, and his love-hate relationship with Ava are two of the most fascinating elements in this story. When Nigel is being an unapologetic fool, there is no limit to how he tortures the ones he loves, but when he sees the error in his ways, he becomes wise. These extreme ends of his personality have no middle ground and that is what keeps this plot so bewitching.

Although I could never understand the reason for Ava to stay with such an ungrateful person, I loved her character. Her personality has a depth to it. She loves with all her heart, and maybe that is the reason why she gives Nigel more chances than he deserves. Nigel is portrayed as a prisoner of his own habits and his life is definitely a warning to readers to check their own vices. He was aware that drugs and sex were changing him as a person -- and not in a good way -- but he could not rid himself of their grip. I would recommend My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse to readers who like a sizzling read packed with glamour and a strong plot related to the downfall of a man. This is also suitable for readers who love reading about second chances in life. I cannot wait for the second book of this series.

Maria Beltran

My Daze of Dancing With The Dark Muse: Better To Burn Out is Book 1 of a realistic fiction series by D.M. Needom. A musical legend, Nigel Hartagan also has an equally famous wife and a lovely daughter. His life, however, is not as simple as that of other ordinary mortals' lives. Haunted by the Powder Goddess, Nigel finds himself under the control of a dark muse and this will eventually threaten to completely destroy his life. Written like a diary, this is an intimate look into the mind of a man struggling with drugs, alcohol and sex addiction, where there is no longer a line between reality and imagination.

D.M. Needom's My Daze of Dancing With The Dark Muse is a mesmerizing journey inside the dark mind of Nigel Hartagan. Graphic, vivid and disturbingly realistic, it is an unforgettable experience. Just imagine going inside the head of an egoistic, selfish, arrogant rock star as he relates his life's story with no holds barred. D. M. Needom writes in the first-person perspective and this makes the story menacingly real. And as Nigel sinks deeper and deeper into the clutches of the Powder Goddess, he is jolted back to reality and it is something that is totally unexpected. My Daze of Dancing With The Dark Muse is a familiar tale about a man's struggle with his own demons but it is the telling that makes it a fascinating tale. With a climactic ending, D.M. Needom's readers will surely look forward to the next book in this series.

K.C. Finn

My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse is a work of unusual realistic fiction penned by author D. M. Needom and is the first book in the Better To Burn Out series. Written for adults due to its themes and some violent content, this dramatic narrative focuses on the nature of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll culture of the music industry. We find central character Nigel Hartagan in a blissful state of wealth with the seemingly perfect life, but his rock star nature can’t help but want excess. So begins a train-wreck style journey with Nigel through his dark relationship, the breakdown of his world and a deep psychological examination of what makes him the way he is.

Readers looking for a hero to root for will not find one in this book. Nigel is deliberately set up as an anti-hero whom we follow through terrible decisions and entirely self-inflicted highs and lows, but he does present a fascinating case which you can’t look away from and want to see what he will do next. Author D. M. Needom writes with a close narrative that gives us Nigel’s direct thoughts, memories, anecdotes from his career and the times he has spent with many others on his rise to success, which makes for a smooth and easy read. Leaning towards the narrative over the descriptive, the inner monologue gives easy access to the unraveling of a truly damaged psyche, and overall My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse will appeal to readers who enjoy such personal tales.

Astrid Iustulin

Writing books where the main character (and narrator) is an anti-hero is never easy. However, D. M. Needom does not have any problem in keeping the reader’s attention with My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse. This book does not have a nice protagonist or a world in which you can identify yourself. On the contrary, it explores the dark side of its protagonist, Nigel Hartagan, with the recollections of his debauchery and violence. Nigel is a drug addict and calls drug his “Goddess,” but this time the “Goddess” gets the upper hand of him. It is then that his journey to his dark side begins. He becomes increasingly violent with his wife and daughter, and his behavior will result in severe consequences for him and his family – until his awakening.

My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse is an exceptionally well-written journey into the dark side of Nigel’s mind. It reports every step of the protagonist’s degradation in his own words. Needom has been able to describe this journey with remarkable insight. She has made her protagonist appear as a despicable, selfish chauvinist that every reader will hate. Nigel does not hide his dark side and is proud of it. I appreciated the escalation and Needom’s ability to represent it. My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse is a fast-paced and enthralling story from the beginning to the protagonist’s awakening, which will be quite a surprise. Considering the content and graphic descriptions of this book, I recommend it to adult readers.

Ray Simmons

My Daze of Dancing with the Dark Muse, Book One of the Better to Burn Out series by D.M. Needom is a great portrait of life in the era of rock and roll. As a child of that era, I couldn’t help but love it. Nigel Hartagan has a life that couldn’t be more different than mine. I am not a musician. I dated movie stars, we have that in common, except the stars I dated were Korean, and that was before it was a thing. But different as we are, we lived our different lives by standards and attitudes embedded into us by the music and musicians we grew up listening to. That music is a way of life, whether you are a musician or not. That music is an attitude and that attitude can provide amazing experiences or get you killed.

I like Nigel Hartagan. It would be hard not to. We are so much alike, I mean in attitude, that it frightened me reading his story sometimes. He speaks in metaphors quite a bit, but I knew what he was saying. The plot is real. How do you handle life after massive success? The characters are real, and they are raw. They are all people trying to figure out life and how to get through it while getting as much out of it as possible. I felt that the setting could have been anywhere, depending on whose life story you were telling but this is Nigel’s story and he tells the story with a tone and wry wit that I found to be appropriate and appealing. D.M. Needom knocked the ball out of the park with this one, or maybe a better metaphor would be that D.M. Needom brought the crowd to their feet.