Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll … And murder! Rock music is such ripe terrain for a murder mystery that I always wonder why there aren’t more rock mysteries. Anne Marie Stoddard fills in the gap with “Murder at Castle Rock,” about Ame, a booking agent at an Atlanta venue, who has to solve the murder of her boss.
Allow me to tackle all the highlights of “Murder at Castle Rock”:
Sex. Okay, there’s nothing explicit, but Ame has to track down the real killer before her friends get jailed for the crime … all while juggling the not-unwelcome attentions of several hot guys. One hot guy is Tony, who works for the local radio station, and the other is Brant, the bassist for the fading rock star Bobby Glitter. As you can probably guess, I rather enjoyed reading about these guys and their muscles.
Drugs. Speaking of Bobby Glitter, Mr. Glitter is not one of the aforementioned hot guys. In fact, he is the embodiment of a “Behind the Music” episode. When Stoddard writes about Glitter, I can just imagine some old, nasty, coke-addled horndog whose days in the spotlight are numbered. Stoddard isn’t afraid to write about the seedier aspects of rock ‘n’ roll and the backstage goings-on.
Rock ‘n’ Roll. The music always comes first, but nothing beats watching a concert at a good rock venue. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing shows at the Fillmore, the Greek Theater, the Troubadour and others. A good concert hall channels the energy of the band and the audience, and Stoddard really captures that in her descriptions of Castle Rock. It’s also fun to read about the day-to-day workings of the music biz, which isn’t nearly as glamorous as you think, especially if you are dealing with a band’s tour rider. Green M&Ms, anyone?
And finally … Murder! The book emphasizes rock ‘n’ roll, but not at the expense of the mystery, which is packed with surprises. There are so many layers, motives and hidden agendas that I had a good time untangling it all. I’m not saying anything.
**I received an advance copy of the book, and Stoddard reviewed a book of mine as well. That said, our books fall in the same genre (a mystery that isn’t cozy but isn’t hard-boiled, either — I have a lot to say about this specific genre), so I would enjoy it anyway. If you aren’t into this type of mystery, or you need your mysteries to involve recipes for baked goods, then you might not like this book.
“Murder at Castle Rock” is coming out soon, so check out the website!