by George R. R. Martin
Although Sandy Blair has written several modestly successful novels, he is vaguely unhappy and his latest book is stuck on page 37. So, when he's asked to write a story about a grisly murder, he accepts. The victim is the former manager of the legendary Nazgul, a hard rock band who broke up when their lead singer was assassinated during a concert in 1971. The story turns out to be interesting; Sandy travels around the country tracking down leads and (in what is almost a separate story) visiting old friends who, like him, have not made the transition from the 60s to the 80s very well. He eventually meets Edan Morse, a mysterious figure who wants to reunite the Nazgul. During the second part of the book, Sandy is working for Morse as the Nazgul's PR man. He begins to realize that there is something very wrong with the band and with their performances, and that he will eventually have to do something about it. The Armageddon Rag could be viewed as a detective story and a horror novel, or as a book about rock and roll and the 60s and why they ended. I can't pin down exactly why, but the writing sometimes feels weak. Overall, however, this is a fun book and I enjoyed it. It's a shame that it was so hard to find a copy.
copyright © 1999 John Regehr