Saturday, April 23, 2005

Book Review: A Fistful of Rain - Greg Rucka

Before reading A Fistful of Rain I was familiar with Greg Rucka as the comic book author, not the paperback writer. Several comic book authors transition back and forth from comics to novels, most of the time with mixed results. The John Byrne novels I've read aren't very good, while I've heard Peter David has written some worthy novels. I would put Greg Rucka on the worthy list, his crime fiction is gritty, realistic, fast-paced and fun. A Fistful of Rain is a standalone novel about Mim Bracca, guitarist for a popular rock band whose life is being turned upside down.
Starting with a disarming, domestic scene that took place in Mim's childhood, Mim's life is a rocky road, although things are looking up due to the the success of her band, Tailhook. With an overly-excited manager, coverage on MTV and a Rolling Stone cover, Tailhook is presented as a band on the cusp of mainstream success. Mim’s the gutar player, the lead singer, Van, is the focal point of the band and Click, is the cool, mostly silent, African Amercian drummer. The way their sound is descibed, as a powerful rock band with a female lead, sounds much more exciting than most of what is topping the charts today. Unfortunately, Mim's got a drinking and self-loathing problem that won't let her enjoy fame and fortune. As a result she's sent home during Tailhook's tour to get some "quiet time." Mim's time home is where the plot kicks in and finds Mim with anything but "quiet time.” First, she’s abducted in a strange manner, then returned home to find embarassing pictures of her have been posted to the internet. The rest of the novel is a roller coaster ride of thrilling events as Mim examines her life and her faults, while running away (and sometimes chasing) the criminal that has already killed a family member and is threatening to do the same to another. Rucka’s good with setting up scenes and creating fully dimensional characters. From the details of Mim’s life, contact with her family and her distrust to accept help from anyone, we’re left with Mim trying to save her life while simoutaneously destroying it with her destructive drinking binges. While the ending leans a little heavy on contrived scenes and trying to wrap it all up in too nice of a bow, I still really enjoyed Fistful of Rain.

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