“It’s rock and roll, Rusty. Anything that can happen, will happen. Even the impossible.”
This book had me at Summer of 1974 , because while the era had a most dubious contribution to pop culture and fashion, the lack of pervading musical genre back then, encourages eclectic inspirtation in fiction. And Karina Halle's style of writing has always felt like the story's being told with a thumping bass line with a raunchy guitar lick in the background anyway so this should easily be her quintessential book.
Dawn Emerson is a fledging rock music writer who have been hired by Creem magazine to interview heavy metal band on the rise, Hybrid, and document their "tour that would go down in history". It's easily Cameron Crowe with a stronger stance on feminism in the 70s, infused with paranormal myths which was refreshingly in tune with the era itself (ie. "The 27 Club" and Satanism).
I loved all that about this book. Giving some weight of personality to the icons of the time like Lester Bangs and Pamela des Barres beyond name drops served the story well in forging a connection with the rock history nut in me. And, holy crap, 70s Tom Waits!!! The turns of phrases earned quite a few giggles and I appreciate that the fountain of humor wasn't stereotypically the sassy best friend. Instead, this flowed organically in the scenes where they were warranted.
“The idea of a 5’9” girl sitting on a 6’4” guy made me want to laugh. We’d be the brontosaurus of the festival. The acid trippers would see us and freak the hell out.”
I also liked how this easily ties in continuity with the Experiment in Terror universe, with familiar themes and characters turning up in opportune scenes. Quite a treat for the EIT fanatics out there though the horror aspect on this one's a little more gory and less ambient.
Dawn is a bit different from the typical KH heroine. She's a shade lighter than the usual dark and edgy that was a common thread between Ellie and Perry. She has her own drama but she's holding it together well enough and hasn't gone over any particular edge. Yet. It took me a while to get to know and, eventually, like her but by the story's climax, my feelings towards her were still lukewarm at best.
Sage, on the other hand, reminds me so much of Cam from S&N. They're self-aware and have gone the distance to overcome their weaknesses and limitations for a price. I really liked how his vanities shone through without making him a pretentious douche but still fitting perfectly with the rock star persona. The flip-flops did make me queasy, but hey it's the 70s, it could've gone worse.
The first half of the book felt a bit sluggish to me while the climactic end read a little more on the comical side rather than full on horror. Certain characters were also played up in the beginning but somewhat faded in the background as the story unfolded which is usually a good deceptive, plot device. Only here, I ended up really, REALLY liking that character and really, REALLY looking forward to seeing more of as the series moves along.
And this reminds me I really, REALLY need to finish reading I'm With the Band: Confessions of A Groupie because dude... Paul McCartney's 'fun parts' allegedly made an appearance. Allegedly. (which sounds disgusting now but that man was crazy hot back in the day).