Hour of the Innocents

Written by Robert Paston
Review by Richard Bourgeois

The Innocents are a rock band from Pennsylvania coal country, desperate to escape the black-lung soot for the big time. They used to be called the Destroyerz, and they weren’t bad. Now, with guitar genius Matty back from ‘Nam, the band is going places—blowing audiences away with a powerful sound and unbelievable riffs, getting the attention of record labels and soon finding themselves on the cusp of making their impossible dream a reality.

But Matty discovered a second virtuosity in Vietnam, that of a killer. He drops napalm with every chord, an Achilles who somehow survived his war and now wants nothing more than to play his lyre in peace. He will not get that wish; he was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Raw, violent forces roil beneath the surface of the decaying town, sucking Matty away from his lyre and back to the spear. Will, the narrator, has neither the genius nor the madness needed to hold it all together. He’s along for the ride, working hard at his craft and at life. If only that were enough.

Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll. Creation and destruction united in the key of G. This book bashes the senses, a stunning debut from author who’s been there. I heard every note and smelled the chemical sweat of desperate youth. Highly recommended.