From Publishers Weekly
As in his previous novel, A&R
, MTV executive Flanagan presents a life in the music biz, this time in the form of a perhaps too-sprawling history of rock and roll and the men behind the scenes. In 1967, young attorney Jack Flynn ingratiates himself to budding British rock act the Ravons by easing singer Emerson Cutler out of a messy divorce, getting the band out of a disastrous contract and taking the rap for the musicians' attempted drug smuggling, the last of which gets Flynn disbarred. For the next four decades, his fate is intertwined with the band, even as it dissolves at the first whiff of success: Emerson goes solo and becomes a minor sensation in America, while keyboardist Simon's dreary tunes send him touring the Communist bloc. Tragic bass player Charlie fades quickly into obscurity, but nearly strikes it rich through other avenues. Flynn's role as manager is a wonderful balancing act, both for the protagonist and the author, and Flanagan, despite his tendency to leave absolutely nothing out (and, curiously, a missed opportunity with a devilish producer), pulls it all together into a complex, humorous and touching story. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Spanning some 40 years, journalist Flanagan’s third novel is the picaresque, anecdotal story of an English rock band. In London in 1967, his boss tells young lawyer Jack Flynn to photograph the wife of client Emerson Cutler. Seems she is cheating on the serial adulterer rock star. Cutler asks Flynn to work for him, thereby introducing him to the rock lifestyle. Over the years, Flynn, Cutler, and the rest of the band leave London for L.A., tour the world, and generally behave as in prototypical rock-band fashion. Rock insider Flanagan is very familiar with the milieu, knowing how musicians act and talk as well as the kinds of rock-scene denizens he describes—journalists, producers, record executives, and so on—and referencing historical figures and events throughout. Despite the rowdy rock atmosphere, this novel disguised as an old man’s road memoirs has a pensive quality. As Flynn notes, “Thousands of days are lost to us completely. They pass out of our memories like songs half heard on restaurant radios.” It was only rock and roll, but he liked it. --June Sawyers