The continuing stooooooory of how the Grand Vizier puts his feet up and lets other writers talk some sense for a change. This week: Tony Bailie (right) on his debut novel, THE LOST CHORD
One CHORD And The Truth
“My publisher Lagan Press described THE LOST CHORD as a novel of music and mystery. Although it was not written as a crime novel it does contain elements of a detective story, where the narrator has to sift through a series of clues to find out what has become of the enigmatic Irish rock star Gino Morgan, who disappeared without trace seven years earlier.
“Rock music has created its own mythology and the tortured musical genius who rapidly self destructs is a constant theme. Another is the vague suspicion that people like Doors singer Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley may have faked their own deaths in order to disappear from the public spotlight. A more recent example is Richie Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers, whose car was found on the Severn Bridge in Wales but whose body was never found, and who has been ‘spotted’ throughout the world.
“I tried to make Gino a composite Irish rock star who combined the mysticism of Van Morrison, the precocious musicianship of Rory Gallagher and the self-destructive hedonism and bad-boy charm of Phil Lynott.
“The story is told from the perspective of busker Manus Brennan who is literally picked up from the side of the road while hitching by Gino and asked to join his band, Duil. Manus is thrust into limelight and for five years lives the debauched lifestyle of a member of a hard-living rock band. However, during that time he witnesses Gino’s gradual decline into a drug-wasted shadow of his former self until one day he simply disappears.
“Manus is as much in the dark as everyone else about what happened to Gino but constantly faces the suspicion that he and the other remaining band members know more than they are letting on. As the years pass, interest in the fate of Gino fades and Manus finds himself thrust back into obscurity and battling his own demons. Then someone shows him a picture that appears to show Gino, taken six years after he disappeared …” – Tony Bailie
THE LOST CHORD is available from The Lagan Press
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.