THE PRICE OF FAME - RC Daniells
THE PRICE OF FAME is firstly RC Daniells' first crime fiction book (she writes fantasy under her fullname Rowena Cory Daniells), albeit with a hefty paranormal subtext. It's also, by way of disclaimer, a book that Clan Destine Press publishes, although I had absolutely nothing to do with either the editorial or business decisions behind the book. Thirdly, it wasn't a book that I was particularly clamouring to read, what with being mildly allergic to anything paranormal.
To be fair though, THE PRICE OF FAME, doesn't start out really pushing the paranormal aspects. Sure there are increasingly odd goings on, and not just moving shaving kits, a cat that appears out of nowhere, water droplets that won't go away, strange feelings and odd dreams. There's also a lot of reality going on as well - Antonia is battling against the remaining band members and a lot of vested interests. She's also battling a creepy ex-husband, and a very present day attraction to old friend, and "Director of Photography", Monty. In all, Antonia is a very real person, with a very approachable voice.
There are a couple of clever aspects to the way that the plot unfolds. The current day story is told mostly from Antonia's point of view, whilst the historical story, from the time when the band was rising and Genevieve's death, is told via snippets of a book being written by a witness, and friend of the main suspect. It's a rather clever technique as not only does it break up the viewpoint, it also means that Antonia and Monty are finding out what went on, at the same time as the reader.
The way that St Kilda worked in the 80's, the trials of a band trying to find its way to popularity and fame, the very nature of punk rock, all come across as very realistic and very believable. The paranormal aspects, for a large part of the story are subdued and almost believable, although I will admit that whilst I got the pathos of the ending, I could have lived without the pyrotechnics. To my mind, fans of stock standard, straight crime fiction would be able to stay with this story, because the basic premise is strong and really well done. In fact I finished THE PRICE OF FAME hoping that Daniells would have a go at a straight crime fiction book. The story here certainly feels like she would do a very good job indeed.