In the summer of 1985, Fantage was poised to become the "next big thing" to emerge from the New York music scene. Formed by the brooding bassist and fiery keyboardist, Nigel Thompson and Zach Nichols, and fronted by the libidinous lead singer Leigh Stevens, their abundant good looks and rock-influenced, dance-friendly sound made them a fixture at Cinderblocks, uptown's newest hotspot owned by their manager and benefactor Frank Monroe. Meanwhile, hairdresser Shelly Bates was oblivious to anything happening north of her West Village studio. For five years, she had carefully dodged most forms of romance until the sudden reappearance of Lenny Sullivan—"the first man to break her heart and the last she ever wanted to see again"—smashed their worlds together. He had finagled his way into Fantage as their new drummer just as the band was about to embark on their inaugural cross-country club tour with the hopes of scoring an elusive recording contract along the way. However, Lenny's hopes for a reunion were doused when Shelly became so enchanted by his bandmates and their lifestyle that before she even joined the entourage she had catapulted them toward a destiny no one could have predicted. Fantage was well aware that the tour was an enormous risk with a slim chance of paying off, especially since the advent of MTV had already begat a boisterous flock of pop music groups competing for the same spotlight. It was the 'style over substance' decade that saw only a handful of bands actually make it big, adding their synthesized flare to arena rock and inciting teenage hysteria wherever they went. Some bands languished in college dorm rooms while others became casualties of their own vices—and thus tabloid fodder—without even meriting a footnote in musical history. Even more prevalent were those bands who flew up the charts with a monstrous megahit that struck a chord with the record-buying, club-hopping public, never suspecting they had simultaneously written their own epitaph as a "one-hit wonder." That particular trajectory Fantage was determined to avoid, if they even made it that far. As their unconventional mobile commune became riddled with calamities, the only place to hide from the bruised egos, frayed nerves, submerged emotions and severe claustrophobia was onstage…unless you were the hairdresser trying to mend your splintered heart. Inspired by the song of the same name, STRANGELOVE is the first in a series of novels that unfolds as Shelly becomes an integral part of the band's chaotic—and at times tragic—journey, on and off the tour bus. Part love story, part thriller and part homage to an unforgettable era of music, fashion and attitude, it is entirely a work of fiction and any similarities between the characters and persons living or dead is mostly coincidental…
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Strangelove based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite "Maybe it did, but it would mean the world to me if you came to Cinderblocks tonight. You've never heard me play in a band and I want you to see what I've become. I have changed. I'm more than this." Strangelove by S.A. Youngman is the first book in the author's The Museum Project Series, chronicling the rise of a 1985 band called Fantage. Told through the point of view of band hairstylist Shelly Bates, the group heads out on tour in an attempt to heighten visibility enough to land a record deal at a time when pop is on the rise and traditional bands are being pushed into the background. As the tour takes off, so too does the music...but it comes at a cost. Strangelove by S.A. Youngman is a fantastic suspenseful romance that delivers everything in a genre combining love and enough underlying drama and tension to satisfy even the toughest critics. Youngman's narrative is strong, with deep bows to the 80's era and descriptive writing that puts a reader backstage, on stage, and in the string of buses and hotel rooms. Shelly and her supporting cast are complex and thickly layered characters, immediately engaging and wholly authentic. "In a nutshell, these guys were in desperate need of a real lead vocalist. Someone with charisma and panache and awesome pipes and I just so happened to be available." I'd recommend this book to those who are looking for a thrilling story that comes with a generous side of neon and crimped hair.