- Craig Graziano
Sandy Blair was not having his best day, or decade for that matter, when he got word that Jamie Lynch had his heart cut out. In The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin, the child of the Sixties has been orphaned by the "Me" Decade. Now, it's 1983, and all of Blair's political ideals have earned him a middling career as a novelist and a lot of writer's block.
Sandy receives a call from Jared, a former associate who fired Sandy from the successful alternative magazine they started together. Apparently Jamie Lynch, the manager and promoter of the Sixties band the Nazgûl, was murdered in his mansion.
Heavier than Zeppelin, darker than Sabbath, the Nazgûl reigned over the sonic landscape until they experienced a tragedy that makes Altamont seem like a tea party. Jared thinks Sandy should write a story about the crime. Blair interviewed the band a couple of times and has been itching to break away from his latest dead-end novel.
Our intrepid reporter sets out across the country to investigate the murder and interview the Nazgûl. Blair suspects one of them must somehow be involved. There was little love between the Tolkien-themed act and Lynch, whom they nicknamed Sauron. Lynch was the one roadblock standing between the band reuniting after their tragic incident. Furthermore, the details of Lynch's hideous murder actually matches some of the Nazgûl's lyrics.
Martin's full-fledged creation of this fictional band is exquisite, inventing an entire discography and song lyrics that fit with the period. His inclusion of songs and references to The Beatles, The Doors, and Hendrix complete that authentic feeling.
Blair's investigation dredges up memories, rivalries, and conspiracies of demonic proportions. Fans of Stephen King will feel right at home in Martin's rock 'n' roll-infused horror/murder mystery. The Armageddon Rag also slyly takes a stance against aging band reunion tours. You can be certain that when the Nazgûl takes the stage, there will be hell to pay.