A Hard Day’s Death
By Raymond Benson
From The Essential Raymond Benson Collection
Former James Bond novelist Raymond Benson hits his stride with the release of the first book in his new Rock ‘n’ Roll Detective series. A Hard Day’s Death introduces Spike Berenger, a private investigator specializing in cases in the rock music industry. If Spike’s debut is any indication, here’s hoping he’s walking these mean musical streets of rock for many more cases.
A Hard Day’s Death begins with the murder of legendary rocker Peter Flame and the arrest of Flame’s estranged son, Adrian Duncan. Gina Tipton, Adrian’s mother and Flame’s first wife, hires Berenger to prove Adrian didn’t kill his father. During the course of the investigation, Spike’s path crosses Flame’s former and current band members, leaders of the fringe religious cult Flame had recently embraced, Flame’s second ex-wife and their son, and various record industry executives. In addition, a street gang currently running wild, selling drugs and performing guerrilla punk rock concerts, has added Spike to its hit list.
Spike works as a partner of Rockin’ Security, the top security business in rock. While the main businesses of the company is providing concert security and body guard services to rock stars, Spike runs the private investigation practice. This allows him to have a team of operatives, both on the streets and in the office. Spike’s team provides him with valuable information and support as he works to find evidence to clear Adrian.
Benson develops all his characters well, allowing the reader to get to know not only Berenger, but his team and those characters involved specifically with the case and unlikely to return in future books. In fact, Spike’s employees are so appealing, occasional short stories spotlighting them would be welcome.
There’s much for the rock music fan to enjoy, too. Benson peppers the book with many musical references, focusing mostly on classic rock. Fans of progressive rockers Yes and Gentle Giant will be especially pleased. Further, each chapter title is a song title. The song’s performer is also included, allowing the reader to imagine, or actually compile, the soundtrack Benson is imagining for his story. To cap off this rock ‘n roll mystery, there are cameo appearances by two real life rock stars.
PRAISE FOR A HARD DAY’S DEATH
Don’t miss this paperback original. Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new series. A Hard Day’s Death is highly recommended.” (Neal Alhadeff, THE STRAND MAGAZINE)
“…mystery fans who are also aficionados of classic rock will find the story line as evocative as it is entertaining. Benson’s savvy use of musical icons (including David Bowie and John Lennon) as peripheral characters, as well as his use of songs and performers as chapter subtitles, make this an appealing read. With a core cast of realistic, well-developed and endearing characters, this budding series has a good shot at attracting and keeping a devoted reading audience.” (Paul Goat Allen, CHICAGO TRIBUNE)
“A sizzling story full of classic twists, humor, and a dead-on look at the music business. A HARD DAY’S DEATH is number one with a bullet.” (Jeffery Deaver, author of THE SLEEPING DOLL)
“A HARD DAY’S DEATH is the most fun you’ll have reading a book this year. An exciting, compelling and often funny mystery, written by an industry insider.” (J. A. Konrath, author of DIRTY MARTINI)