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A raw, no-holds-barred novel of rock music, murder and mayhem.

University of Maine professor Baker’s raunchy, imaginative debut follows a motley quartet of band mates from a grunge rock group based in Houston, Texas, as they fight, do drugs and cause trouble. Of the four, Zac, the bass guitarist, is the most unsettled. As the story opens, he’s still traumatized by his brother James’ tragic, violent death. He’s contacted by a half-Vietnamese, half-Irish drummer named Sean who’s searching for a bassist for his band, Double Murder Suicide, after the abrupt exoduses of several of its original members. Excited at the prospect, Zac joins the ragtag group, which includes sexually ambiguous, gothic lead singer Kitten, a pierced-tongued child abuse survivor who “wore herself like it was Halloween”; and angry guitarist Raven, a virgin who drives with a 9 mm Glock under the seat of her car. In this minimally plotted yet character-rich story, they’re all damaged goods, living on drugs and inspired by rock and roll. Each has great aspirations, but in Baker’s fractured scenario, it could just be the drugs talking. The band scores their first real gig for a professional wrestler named Steele in exchange for a stash of cocaine. Their set is marred by violence, and after fleeing the scene, they regroup at a sex-drenched orgy where Raven loses her virtue. The band’s only remaining hurdle is finding a way to avoid a demanding drug dealer with a foot fetish. In this devilish, capably written debut, Baker manages to inject a good amount of melodrama into his monochromatic world of anger, suppressed childhood memories and displaced aggression. More refined readers may find that this hardscrabble tale of excess pushes the boundaries of decency and good taste. However, fans of authors such as Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh will likely enjoy the author’s nasty sense of humor and keen eye for grit. Many of them will undoubtedly want more adventures from this ragtag rock foursome.

A provocative, brazenly vulgar yarn sure to shock the sensitive and delight the daring.

Pub Date: March 5th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1496148155
Page count: 260pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2014