The Kill Riff

David J. Schow, Author
David J. Schow, Author Tor Books $17.95 (406p) ISBN 978-0-312-93065-3
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Having written a number of short stories in the horror field, Schow has now produced his first novel, an unfocused and overlong but not totally unsuccessful thriller about madness and revenge, with no supernatural element. The narrative concerns Lucas Ellington, whose daughter was trampled to death at a rock concert. Ellington has committed himself to exterminating the members of Whip Hand, the rock group whose performance incited the audience to stampede. At first a sympathetic character, Ellington becomes gradually less soand less believable as we come to see him as an insane but cunning wild animal. The other characters are mostly cyphers, except for Gabriel Stannard, Whip Hand's lead singer, an insecure pretty boy who masquerades as an urban guerrilla, complete with large arsenal and killer friends. Both the pace and style are uneven, and the plot is fairly predictable, but there are one or two surprises that, gratifyingly, work well. Schow demonstrates that he has the raw material to produce a really good thriller, although this one isn't it. (May)
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