Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Killer Solo (David Hiltbrand, 2004)

Needed something trivial after that Burnett crap and this one looked simple and straightforward enough to do a trick. It's been sitting on my shelf for some time and just waiting to fill a gap like this. Because, you see, I don't particularly like these stories about some extravagant characters in uncommon surroundings and recent experiences with shit like Money Shot and The Corpse wore Pasties surely hadn't improved this.

Killer Solo takes place in the show-business, this time in the big-ass arena rock tour so we know in advance that there will be plenty of weird guys and gals around. At its center is our hero, private detective Jim McNamara, who used to work for a record companies and during this employment had managed to develop his drug abuse from being just a simple pothead to a serious coke addict. After kicking the habit he ended up being sort of Rock'n'Roll detective hired by showbiz people in order to keep their protegees straight and away from the drugs.

It begins in the classical way. Jim gets hired by insurance company to investigate accidental (yeah right!) death of a Shirley Slaughterhouse's tour crew member. Shirley is a kind of Marylin Manson shock-rocker asshole (looking like Johnny Depp with dysentery) surrounded by even bigger assholes in the likes of of his band members, his agent and his neurotic girlfriend. Other interesting characters are introduced as well: bunch of right-wing Christians lead by fanatical reverend, Jim's AA sponsor (a bit redundant in my humble opinion) and finally Paula - record company P.R. person. She appears to be the only sane person on tour's board, but she too is a bit redundant and (spoiler!) pretty much serves just for romantic aspect of a story.

So what I'm basically trying to say is that it starts really fucking promising. Plot is interesting, pace is rapid (people fly from one city to another, staying in various hotels) and I also enjoyed its style. Hiltbrand uses language rich enough and mostly cool and amusing with lots of references to popular culture without too many of those usual "witty jokes".

But then, approximately halfway through, it gradually loses its pace. Instead on crime, author starts to concentrate on our hero and its relationships with Paula, his mentor and especially with Shirley who btw turns out not to be such an asshole. I started to like the guy myself because he had tested Jim's musical knowledge by playing him Husker Du and choosing Mudhoney as their password keyword.

So everything becomes pretty boring (wtf was that episode with guitarist audition I still wonder) and predictable. There's just one more corpse until the final showdown and we are not even sure whether it's related to our case or not. At the end everything gets resolved in a thriller fashion and not at all by good detective work.

Shame, disappointing ending after the promising start.



Jim McNamara, Rock'n'Roll detective

Rock tour across the USA: Portland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, ...

Body count
3 + one security guard left in the dumpster but we cannot be sure whether he's dead or just knocked unconscious

Paula Mansmann - part matador, part pickpocket and part Geisha

Blackouts: /

Pretty stupid and not related to the storyline at all. I'm sure something better could be chosen with one of the main protagonists being named Slaughterhouse.

Not very imaginative and also not related to the story at all as nobody gets shot in their eye through the sunglasses.

Cool lines:  
She laughed and swiveled in her chair, recrossing her legs. My eyes drifted to her skirt and shifting thighs. I reflected on how automatically men respond to visual stimuli and how adept women are at choreographing that response.

[on OD'd junkie]  
He looked like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic when he starts to drift down under the icy water.[The Coolest!]

Most rockers listen to their music at punishing, Spinal Tap levels... Hearing loss is an ironic occupational hazard of the modern musician. Roll over, Beethoven.

She was leaning against the doorjamb, glaring at me like I was a prom-night pimple.[The Coolest!]

I spent one winter with the Cramps. I still get the willies thinking about it. Lux Interior was like a bargain-basement Iggy Pop. ... Forget Fellini; it was a Quentin Tarantino movie every night.

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