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Is evil lurking behind the music? High school freshman Jessica Walsh is a virago, a woman warrior who must protect her hometown from danger. And in the unusual little town of Nightshade, California, trouble is always lurking. At the town's Battle of the Bands, Jess's boyfriend, Dominic, and his band, Side Effects May Vary, are up against Hamlin, a band so popular that their fans follow them everywhere. Soon, the competing musicians are doing risky, illegal, and even fatal things -- and claiming that they heard strange music that compelled them to do it. Could a diabolical pied piper be sabotaging the Battle of the Bands? It's up to Jessica and her friends to track down the tuneful tyrant.