ZERO AVENUE by Dietrich Kalteis


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Sex, drugs, and punk rock in No Fun City.

Frankie Del Ray is a guitar player and singer who, along with bass player Arnie Binz and drummer Joey Thunder, constitutes Waves of Nausea. Trying to make it in the overcrowded punk scene in Vancouver is no easy feat, and Frankie supplements her meager income by working as a drug mule for Marty Sayles. Marty is interested in more than Frankie’s musical talents, but she stalls his further advances when she catches him in the filthy bathroom at the Falco’s Nest club with a drugged-up blonde. Marty may be the man with the money, but his ambitious driver and bodyguard, tough guy Zeke Chamas, soon starts bossing the other hirelings around. Though she’s fortunate to live with the aunt who brought her up, Frankie, chronically short on cash, keeps hauling dope even after her run-in with Sayles and a smacking around from Chamas. Johnny Falco, who’s renting his club from Sayles, is behind on his rent and other bills. Binz, who works part-time for Falco, has already suggested a way to make some money: ripping off some marijuana from one of the farms where Sayles has small patches planted in cornfields. Before Falco can agree to help, Binz goes off on his own, runs into resistance from Sayles’ pot minders, Sticky and Tucker, and ends up buried in the corn field. After Frankie, who’s been using the farm’s barn for practice sessions, can’t find Binz, Falco shows up and sits in, kindling suspicion in the minds of the caretakers. Once Frankie and Falco fall into a sexual relationship, she agrees to help him steal the pot. But a sudden calamitous turn seems to doom Frankie’s plans for a record deal to a swift and deadly finish.

Kalteis (House of Blazes, 2016, etc.) paints a down-and-dirty picture of a punk-rock scene fueled by drugs and marred by violence but buoyed by a heroine with plenty of faults and a grim determination to succeed.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-77041-365-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: ECW Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2017


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