clayton zane

Enigmatic: Shooting Stars

If you ask me, we all need an excuse to reminisce every now and then, and for me, that was one the best thing about the book that I’m reviewing today, Shooting Stars, by new author, Clayton Zane (Odyssey Books).

Shooting StarsI had a ball reading this rock ‘n’ roll adventure, all the time with myself and my friends in mind, traversing the halls of our high school, guitars in hand, heading for one hell of an adventure.

The Beatles sang “All you need is love”, but whatever happened to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll?

For one young Sydney musician, life is like a shooting star – fast and beautiful. He has unparalleled talent, a record contract with his band, and after fleeting relationships with a parade of gorgeous girls, he has finally met the enigmatic girl of his dreams. But love isn’t always written with four chords and a major key, and soon he finds himself heartbroken in his very own fairytale.

I’ll admit, our teenage fun included a little less sex and drugs in favour of a little more rock ‘n’ roll, but still I had no trouble imaging the wildness and debauchery that this motley crew of musos enjoyed.

The story’s hero is a musical prodigy, spoilt and protected, yet still capable of finding himself in harms way…

I had an upbringing any normal person would have considered enviable, spoilt beyond comprehension and spoon-fed everything I ever desired. I just felt blank, merely existing rather than living, and always searching to fill that enigmatic void.

He had parents to catch him on his fall from grace, a sports car with which to impress and a rent-free flat complete with grand piano set up for noise and joviality, much to the neighbours displeasure. Despite all of this, at the opening of his story, we find him in a grave state of intoxication – moving in slow motion, blurred and hopeful for death. And, possibly the worst of it – in love…

The album had to be perfect, because it was my ticket back to her, the key to my plan. I began to think that my whole life had been leading me to this piece of music. All my years of musical training, excessive partying and brotherly adventures had all been just a prelude to a boy convincing a girl that he loved her, and that would be enough.

Ah, what’s a rock song without a little heartbreak?

Shooting Stars is entertaining, well painted, but it’s real strength lies in its authenticity. Our hero’s voice is so true, at time I thought perhaps I might have been reading an autobiography. The novel’s cast are all grit and wildness, the girls husky and beautiful, and the scenery romantically dingy, lit by club lights and smelling of smoke and booze.

The authenticity, as you might expect, helps to endear you to the protagonist, despite the fact that he is irresponsibly, a little emotionally stunted and hopelessly self destructive. In the end, you accept that this is all part of the price one pays for musical genius. Pure rock ‘n’ roll.

This is a pretty wild ride, but the wonderful referencing of literature and music keeps the reader grounded, helping to diffuse the slight head spin you might get from all the friends and foes, and crazy corners these boys find themselves backed into. A thoroughly entertaining read, one which I’d recommend.

You can find out more about Clayton Zane, and his writing here…


Five More Things

Monday again, and I’m tapping away like crazy, working on lots of reviews and interviews for the TBYL blog. Here’s an update on what’s going on and coming up for TBYL…

Firstly, you might have already noticed, but the TBYL Reading Pile is busting at the seams with exciting new titles. If you’ve not already, can I suggest that you take a look at the Reading Pile for some great reading ideas? I’d love to know what you like the look of… 

all that isSecondly, I’m reading in a few different directions this week – there’s just too much to choose from to just pick one book! I’ve got three titles on the go at the moment; All That Is, by James Salter, Shooting Star, by Clayton Zane and  Dark Matter, by Brett Adams. All I can say at this stage is that I wish there were (many) more hours in the day!

Thirdly, for this month’s TBYL Book Club we’re going to be talking about our favourite literary mums! You can find out more here, but essentially, it’ll give us a chance to think about our favourite bookish mothers and the books that our mums (and other lovely ladies) love the most. Plus, for something a little different, we’re going to be holding our club discussions on the Facebook page in May. To get involved, just join our Facebook community.

And fourth, there are still a handful of tickets left for the TBYL Event The Next Step. As well as being a fantastic chance to chat with publishers and authors from Escape Publishing, the event will be held 22 May 2013 (7pm) at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Book your tickets now!

Rules of ConceptionFinally fifth, I wanted to make sure that you knew that there are two copies of Angela Lawrence’s The Rules of Conception from Harlequin up for grabs at the moment. It’s super quick to enter, you’ll find full details in this month’s edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… Don’t miss out, this is a really funny book on a fascinating topic.

So that’s a little of what’s going on with TBYL at the moment, so much fun, and lots of goodies coming up for all you lovely bookish people!

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