Greg Rucka, author of the popular Atticus Kodiak mystery series as well as dozens of comic books and graphic novels, has released his first stand-alone novel, a suspense thriller entitled A Fistful of Rain that exposes the unsightly underbelly of the rock and roll industry. Miriam "Mim" Bracca is the lead guitarist for Tailhook, one of the hottest bands in the world. When they started their world tour almost a year earlier, the trio was just another rock band from Portland. Now Mim and her bandmates are media superstars. Their single is shooting up the charts like a bullet, and the band is on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Mim has it all fame, fortune and the adoration of millions of fans. But in a matter of hours, Mim's world is turned upside down. She is kicked off the tour, and temporarily out of the band, for her excessive drinking. When she returns to her home in Portland, she is abducted at gunpoint and thrown into the back of a truck only to be returned an hour later untouched. When the police do nothing about the abduction, she calls her brother Mikel for support. He informs her that their abusive alcoholic father, who was imprisoned more than a decade ago for killing their mother, is out of prison and looking to reconcile. When nude photos of her surface on the Internet, she thinks things can't possibly get any worse but they do.

Besides the compelling cast of deeply flawed characters and the masterfully constructed plot lines which kept me trying to figure out who was trying to blackmail Mim until the last few pages the melancholy, almost poetic narrative gives the story an extra level of illumination. The symbolism behind the phrase "a fistful of rain," which comes from a Warren Zevon song of the same name, is used brilliantly throughout the novel as a metaphor for Mim's life. And very much like a Zevon tune, Rucka's novel is instantly addictive, hypnotically descriptive, witty, irreverent, disturbing and always entertaining. Paul Goat Allen is a freelance editor and writer living in Syracuse, New York.

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