Monday, June 22, 2009

Rock n Novel Form?

DARK SIDE OF THE MORGUE: A Spike Berenger Rock n Roll Hit
A Leisure Book/Dorchester Publishing
305 pages
March 2009

Someone is killing Progressive Rock musicians in Chicago-one by one. Only thing is, the sole suspect is a ghost. Enter the intrepid ROCKIN’ SECURITY team, summoned from NYC at the behest of a potential victim. Considering the fact that Chicago never had a Progressive Rock movement, this story is a bit of a stretch from Jump Street. Given that the dead musicians-and Spike Berenger, head of said ROCKIN’ SECURITY- are all past the prime of life...the novel creaks along with a certain charm..and an equally certain annoyance factor.

i found the plot intriguing- the psychological deterioration of rock musicians is always so...However, the amount of information imparted-most of it fictitious-was done so, i thought, in a didactic fashion that hampered the characters’ portrayal...i thought
Spike Berenger lacked a certain “charm” because he was too busy spouting “old history”....and he tried awfully hard to play a Tough Guy...

other than that, i thought it was an enjoyable book. i don’t usually read Rock n Roll novels, which tend to be either overly sentimental or painfully HIP..this one skirted the pitfalls, but barely.. i read the entire book in order to find out how Mr Benson handled the ending..not bad. i have recommended this title to people who already like the one has complained yet

i still can’t figure, though, if this story is “....just another brick in the wall”...or not?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AMERICAN RUST by Philipp Meyer

American Rust
Philipp Meyer
343 pages
Spiegel & Grau (ARC)

Two young men from a dying Pennsylvania steel mill town are involved in a murder and its aftermath.....their desire to leave a hometown that offers no future...the ties of friendship and family that both strengthen and strangle..guilt and innocence, both in a legal and social sense...intensely times, the characters’ interior monologues seem to go on forever but there is a method to the madness.

i find the comparisons to Steinbeck a bit premature, but i see a lot of potential in Mr. Meyer’s debut novel...shades of Pete Dexter (PARIS TROUT) and Russell Banks (RULE OF THE BONE) are strong

this was not an easy read for me since i live not far from Western Pennsylvania...and if you swap Coal Mines for Steel Mills you do have the area where i the late 70s-80s when the coal mines started to close. the characters in this book could be my neighbors and their grandsons..the voices in this book rang true for me, albeit painfully. i enjoyed this book and look forward to Mr Meyer’s next effort

this is a review of an ARC....