“Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll are a normal part of the scene in the late seventies around the Rutgers University campus. Gaudy Gaunt knows this scene better than anyone; it’s his beat as a music columnist. He haunts the local bars and clubs reviewing up ‘n’ comers in the music industry, constantly looking for the next band to make it big! One night, during the middle of the biggest blizzard in a decade his demons come to call, tempting him to desperate actions. He wakes the next day in the mental hospital known as “The Clinic”.
Sandy Flame is a woman on a mission, determined to make it to the big time no matter the cost. Recognizing a burnt out star on the verge of success, she grasps her opportunity for all it’s worth, using everyone in her path in order to seize her dream; Bobby Blast is her ticket to the top.
Literal Magic is a band on the brink of a big music label contract. They could have it all – the money, the fame, and the women. There’s just one problem, a big problem, their lead singer Bobby Blast just goes through the motions during their gigs wasted out of his mind on drugs and alcohol. Nights of half-assed performances and three-day benders have taken their toll on Bobby, and the band has had enough!
Two deeply disturbed men on their own private journeys through Hell, one woman determined to make it big no matter what it takes. Will they find their sound, or get lost in the storm? Only time will tell when you are…Staring into the Blizzard!”
One of the things I really love about Mr. Shannon’s stories is that they don’t fit neatly into any specific category…they have their own truly unique flavor.
Staring into the Blizzard is ineffable, I find it very difficult for me to wrap my brain around a description of it that truly satisfies me….but I truly loved it, here’s why.
Mr. Shannon has a gift for giving the reader these totally flawed and somewhat damaged characters and giving them such life, they become people we can all envision in our own lives at some point in time but it’s their flaws and damage that enable them to become someone so real to the reader rather than a fantasy character in a story.
Amos, aka Gaudy Gaunt, is a deeply troubled soul entrenched in the middle of the 70’s music scene; alcohol, drugs, late nights and loud music…that’s his life as a music columnist. Unfortunately, this poor guy also suffers with depression. He’s not just a little blue from day-to-day, he’s ready to end it all; he’s had enough of the desperation and darkness and the ghosts that seem to haunt him.
Sandy Flame is a woman determined to make her way in the music industry; she sees an opportunity for fame and grabs hold of it with both hands. She will use her body, her family and friends to get where she wants to go. Will her over-eagerness to rise to the top be what brings her crashing back down? She proves that sometimes, when you are too impatient, too zealous for something, too willing to do anything to get what you want that the best laid plans can bite you in the ass. She may get her taste of fame but it’s likely not to be nearly as sweet as she had hoped.
Then of course there’s Bobby, the lead singer for Literal Magic a band on the edge of Super Stardom; he really could have it all if he’d just get out of his own way. He’s got the talent, he’s got the voice and the looks but he just doesn’t give a shit anymore about any of it; a complete apathy has seeped into his soul to ride shotgun with his addictions. So, Bobby numbs himself with drugs, alcohol, and women; he shows up for gigs, barely mustering the energy to go through the motions each night as the band works their way through their sets. How long will his band mates put up with this behavior? They’re all on the brink of stardom and he’s putting everything they’ve worked so hard for at risk; can the band afford to keep Bobby around?
See what I mean…deeply flawed characters but each with some truly realistic issues. I imagine any of you reading this review can think of someone in your life, past or present, that you could easily relate to these characters.
There are elements of romance in this story, but it’s certainly no romance novel it’s a story about life. These relationships simply work as any other true to life relationship but in my view the story really doesn’t revolve around romantic attachments it revolves around the people who find each other and become true friends and those friends become an unconventional family. They turn their dysfunction it to an oddly functional family -unit. So the guy doesn’t always get the girl, big deal…that’s life, but sometimes life hands you something much better than you expected. That’s exactly what I found myself thinking as I finished this book.
If you enjoy a well told story about life I encourage you to get a copy of Staring into the Blizzard. It has its dark moments, as it should with the subject matter, but by the end I found I had a smile on my face and I the fact that it’s not your average neatly categorized story to be refreshing.
Note* As you may have noticed this cover appears in the banner on my page. In case you haven’t read any of my other posts the reason it appears there is because I am the fortunate individual who had the opportunity to read this story before the public and create the cover for Mr. Shannon’s story.
Many review websites won’t allow me to post a review for a book where my name appears (it’s inside in the legaleze portion crediting me for the artwork) and I can understand why, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a valid opinion about it so I use my blog as an avenue to voice that opinion. Rest assured, I give my true opinion just as I would in any other review.
If you would like to see how I came up with the artwork, here’s a link to that blog post…Staring into the Blizzard – Cover