The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel

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The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Breezy without actually feeling completely superficial, and the novel provides a few hours of comfortable, escapist fun studded with witty vignettes.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: May 2017
Publisher: Titan Books
ISBN: 978-1783297696

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The Vinyl Detective is not really a detective. He's just a normal bloke - though that might depend on your definition of 'normal' - who lives with his girlfriend Nevada, two cats and a collection of vinyl in a house that happens to be adjacent to the Abbey, a posh rehab place notorious for the celebrities it treats. He doesn't solve crimes or trace missing people, even if he does search for rare records. So when an odd couple turn up on his doorstep requesting his help in tracing a missing child of a 1960's female rock star whose own death was shrouded in now somewhat cultish mystery, he says no. That is, until he is told that the job would also involve tracing a rare single.

From then on, the Detective, Nevada, and a colourful cast of supporting characters including their friends, enemies and passers-by (not forgetting the cats who turn out to play a nearly-pivotal role at some of the most climactic moments) take the reader on a joyful romp involving drugs, sex, and the rock'n'roll tradition of creative self-destruction and self-destructive creation. From acid-laden birthday cakes to actual grave robbing, and from ageing rock stars to sinister psychiatrists, the plot twists and turns from outrageous to uncanny, from a high camp farce to a touching melodrama.

The larger-than-life characters are one of the main strengths of The Run-out Groove, but the whole thing is a joy to behold, and anybody who shares your reviewer's sentimental attachment to the history of popular music should find it fun.

Despite some gruesome moments and themes (suicide, being almost burned alive, the mystery of a kidnapped child), the tone remains breezy without actually feeling completely superficial, and the novel provides a few hours of comfortable, escapist fun studded with witty vignettes, just as one would expect. The cats really help too.

As you can probably gather, I have really enjoyed the second instalment of the Vinyl Detective series and while I wait for the next one, I have already bought the first. Recommended.

At times The Run-out Groove reminded me of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, if only Hornby's character had more of a sense of humour and distance to himself. If this read leaves you eager to revisit stories behind real hits, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers examines forty-five songs from the popular music canon.

Buy The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Vinyl Detective - The Run-Out Groove: Vinyl Detective 2 by Andrew Cartmel at Amazon.com.


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