Sparks fly when a rock star teams up with a brilliant attorney in this sprawling tale of sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll—and revenge.
It’s 1987, and British musician Colin Elliot has just re-emerged on the music scene, two years after a devastating car accident that killed Aurora, his heroin-addict wife, and left him close to death. Now, Colin’s determined to reignite his dormant career, but on his own terms. To that end, he enlists Laurel Chandler, a successful and beautiful attorney, as his official biographer, with the intent of publicly clearing the air regarding both the accident and his notorious late wife. Colin and Laurel’s relationship starts out icy, but before long they bond over similarities in their troubled pasts. The struggle to come to terms with a past that won’t stay buried is a recurrent theme in the book. It’s most clearly embodied by Hoop Jakeway, Aurora's unrequited high school suitor, who blames Colin for Aurora's untimely demise—he’s intent on avenging her death, no matter what it takes. The book opens with a gripping account of the fateful high-speed car chase across Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula, and then leaps forward two years to the sleazy drug dealers, scheming lawyers, put-upon managers and vulturelike paparazzi who inhabit Colin’s world. Mayle capably evokes the milieu of the ’80s-era rock star, though the book suffers from an overabundance of minor characters and some heavy-handed exposition. However, music fans will appreciate the references to classic pop songs sprinkled throughout the novel, while Hoop, with his misguided quest for vengeance, proves himself to be a complicated, fully realized character. But the novel falters in portraying the romance between Colin and Laurel, which never quite comes to life. Finally, a less-than-satisfying conclusion resolves one of the book’s main conflicts but leaves the other to be sorted in the next volume of the series.
A somewhat unwieldy novel that nonetheless delivers fast-paced, dramatic action and engaging, lively characters.