From the moment their plane sets down in Manaar, guitarist JP Kinkaid and his wife Bree are aware of disturbing undercurrents beneath the formality and opulence. When their personal equerry is found with his throat slashed just days before showtime, Blacklight’s head of security, Patrick Ormand, is barred from the investigation. As the civilised facade around the event begins to crumble, it becomes clear that sending a quarter of a million fans home happy will be a lot simpler than getting themselves out of Manaar alive.
Agreeing to perform a New Year’s Eve megaconcert in an Emirates kingdom almost proves fatal for the wildly popular rock band Blacklight. Only a provision stipulating that proceeds go toward the band’s favorite charities makes it palatable for them to work again with Emir Ali al-Wahid, a former college mate of bandleader Malcolm Sharpe. (Years back, al-Wahid’s twin daughters had wreaked havoc with the group and its entourage.) Now ensconced in a palatial palace, the band prepares for their concert. But guitarist JP Kinkaid and his wife, Bree, feel a sick premonition when they hear strange noises one night, followed by the discovery of a corpse in the swimming pool. Troubled, the couple investigate and find a second death site. The emir strikes back, making the band feel like virtual prisoners. Now the Blacklight team must strategize carefully and claim some sort of justice for the victims.
VERDICT Grabien is a master of the rock-and-roll narrative. With its ruminative style, this work is not for thriller fans, but anyone who’s wondered about celebrity lifestyles will admire the author’s series featuring the multiple sclerosis-afflicted JP. It’s not necessary to have read the entire series, but starting with the fifth title, Book of Days, which details the bad behavior of the emir’s daughters, would enhance the readers’ experience with this one.
– Teresa L. Jacobsen, Library Journal.