FUEL-INJECTED DREAMS by James Robert Baker


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First-novelist Baker's purple prose leaves nothing but a purple haze in its wake. It's a retro saga of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, set in the surreal City of the Angels--more Hunter Thompson than Bret Easton Ellis. In true gonzo fashion, Baker's manic narrator, disc jockey Scott Cochran, washes down his uppers with a pint of tequila, while ""smoking several joints of stiff Bangkok dope."" That's preparation for the graveyard shift at KRUF, where this ""ayatollah of rock 'n' rolls"" happens one night to spin the ""crazed death sounds"" of Dennis Contrelle, writer and producer of such early 60's classics as The Beehives' ""Angel on the Highway."" Cochran's late-night tribute to the reclusive Contrelle coaxes him out of hiding, but the Phil Spectorlike legend lures the unsuspecting D.J. into what turns out to be a contrived piece of pulp--a vulgar rehash of Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity, with a sound track that mixes the Shangri-Las and The Doors. This noir gothic everywhere sacrifices character for attitude and meaning for ambiance, and Baker lays it on thick. For example, here's the hipper-than-thou Cochran on Contrelle's Beehived wife, a dacron chanteuse from ""the great age of rock romanticism"": She ""was a girl you could be proud to be ashamed of, a tough little dolled-up working-class slut, libidinous jailbait with an evil streak, a juvenile offender with a cherry-red mouth, with Cadillac chrome-bumper breasts you would mow down a crippled nun to get to. . ."" The silly plot, with its trendy apocalyptics, resolves itself in a nasty scene of necrophilia--a piece of the 60's frozen in time. Viscid prose, flagellating humor, and a vocabulary that would make most pornographers blush lend a certain irony to a psychotic character's observation: ""We live in a diseased culture."" For sure.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1986
ISBN: 1560255358
Publisher: Dutton