Thursday, March 22, 2012

JP Kinkaid Chronicles Book Review

From the Author: This multi-book story is narrated by English ex-pat and rock (and) roll superstar guitarist John Peter (JP) Kinkaid. While each book in the Chronicles has a mystery element, each follows the last in a complex arc that follows JP, with his multiple sclerosis, heart condition and unusual personal history, as he finally comes of age in his fifties. The Kinkaid Chronicles give the reader an all-access backstage pass to how musicians work, live, and love.

The JP Kinkaid Chronicles are 6 books (and one soon to come) following the protagonist, as he plays guitar for international superband Blacklight, works on side projects such as the Fog City Geezers and The Bombardiers. The books bring all sort of adventure, from murder to drug abuse to wild relationships to health issues. As JP and supporting cast (wife Bree, members of Blacklight and other bands, Patrick Ormand the cop turned security consultant, and others) travel between the Bay area, England, and the Continent (with forays all over the world while touring), bad things happen, sometimes to the band members, sometimes to both appealing and unappealing side characters.

Another aspect of this series is the ongoing dramatic relationships JP has with his inner circle and those that move in and out of that select group. His flawed first marriage, subsequent betrothal to Bree, and all the emotional baggage that are included are a constant through the books. It is a never ending back and forth on whether they are happy or at each other’s throat, constantly shifting between a power struggle and a close bond.

The last overarching theme is JP’s health. Suffering from multiple sclerosis and a heart problem, along with myriad other problems aging men have, the illnesses impact but never stop the plot. JP works to maintain the various interests he holds, using coping mechanisms, his medication, and even an implant to continue his projects.

These are well-written books, with a healthy dose of sex, drugs, and rock and roll that will make you feel like you are right there with Blacklight. After I read these books, I read several rock legend’s rather candid autobiographies of the excesses of the rock world, and Grabien has captured the same feeling in her novels. The only drawback that I found, common to most series, is that the author needs to repeat certain data so that each book can stand on its own and make sense. However, if you read the books one after another (and you’ll want to), there is quite a bit of repeated background. A minor problem since the books are so much fun to read.

About the Author: Deborah Grabien can claim a long personal acquaintance with the fleshpots — and quiet little towns — of Europe. She has lived and worked and hung out, from London to Geneva to Paris to Florence, and a few stops in between. In 1981, after spending some years in Europe, she came back to Northern California to stay. She’s a music editor for Green Man Review, specializing in all things Bay Area, Rolling Stones or Richard Thompson. Deborah’s been happily married to Nicholas Grabien since 1983. A San Francisco native and another member of the local music scene in its heyday, Nic is a bassist, while Deborah plays guitar. They share a passion for rescuing cats and finding them homes, and are both active members of several local feral cat rescue organizations. Deborah has a grown daughter, Joanna, who lives in New York. They also run the non-profit Kinkaid Foundation, which provides funds for those recovering from surgery or struggling to live with a chronic illness on a fixed income. Like JP, Deborah herself has lived with multiple sclerosis for nearly a decade. These days, in between cat rescues and cookery, Deborah can generally be found listening to music, playing music on one of eleven guitars, hanging out with her musician friends, or writing about music, insofar as her multiple sclerosis will allow.

Get more information on Deborah Grabien’s website,  follow her on Twitter,  and connect on Facebook

(Disclaimer: I was sent these books for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Plus One Press. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the author's and company's websites, the opinions are my own.)

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1 comment:

  1. My only regret from my musical career is that I didn't get to have an English Manor nor make a film with me dressed up as a Chicago Gangster a la John Bonham in Song Remains The Same. Come to think of it, we didn't have a private jet either. Or play at Madison Square Garden....


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