Off-key thriller about the agonies of a boozy rock star who’s crocked around the clock.
Abruptly exiled from her band’s European tour, Mim Bracca arrives home in Portland, Oregon, one very unhappy guitarist. Mim is beautiful and brilliant—she can make guitar strings smoke, her manager insists—and her fellow musicians appreciate her talent, but the fact is she’s a fall-down drunk who’s reached the point of diminishing returns. The band can’t any longer put up with her benders. Ironically, then, as Tailhook’s music climbs the charts, converting Mim into an icon, rich and famous, her life force sags and now is about to bottom. Having paid off the cabbie, she’s reaching into her purse for keys to the house she hasn’t seen for four months, when a man springs out of the darkness and levels a gun at her—prelude to rape or murder, she feels certain. Neither happens—for reasons she comes to understand only later. Actually, it’s her drug-dealing brother who gets himself murdered, and her ex-convict father, Mim thinks (for a while), did the killing. In the meantime, humiliating pictures of her (naked, grossly provocative) have surfaced on the Internet: pictures she swears at first, to her lawyer, she never posed for, subsequently acknowledging that “Sometimes I black out.” Enigmatic figures from her troubled past reenter Mim’s life, bringing with them threats of kidnapping, blackmail, belated retribution. And then there’s Portland police detective Tracy Hoffman, so tough and smart, so very attractive, bringing with her . . . complications. With so many of those cluttering up her life, where can poor, beset Mim look for help? Often as not, in a bottle.
In the past, Rucka has done extremely well with edgy heroines (Critical Space, 2001, etc.), but his self-absorbed, self-loathing rock goddess is just not likable—and name the novel that can survive that.