by Rupert Holmes
Category: Fiction / Historical
372 pages; ISBN: 140006158X
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Random House, Mar 2005, $24.95, 372 pp.
In 1940 Ray Sherwood is touring as a sax player with the Jack Donovan Orchestra, a big band group working the West Coast presently performing in Berkley. Composer Gail Prentice, a college student at Berkeley, invites Ray, a talented arranger, to discuss his orchestrating her work, Swing Around the Sun, which is to premier shortly at the Golden gate World Fare.
As they talk on Treasure Island, Sherwood watches a Frenchwoman jump from the Tower of the Sun exposition to her death. Stunned by what he witnessed, Sherwood is shocked by the attraction he feels to the Berkeley coed although he knows his ex-wife works nearby serving as a cold reminder of happier times. Though he feels something is not right with Gail or with the suicide, Ray blindly continues the path he is on . He remaining unaware of the major link that turns recent incidents into one great composition; The Big Event, coming next year will explain all, but may be too late for him as he could be the next suicide victim
SWING is a more a historical musical tale than a pre World War II suspense thriller; the sinister mystery elements feel more like a coda to the deep look at 1940 America. The story line is a terrific look at San Francisco just prior to the war, but also insight into the music of the era; in fact part of the charm, some might say gimmick, is that award winning composer Rupert Homes has includes a CD that provides period piece music that enhances the tale. A different unique type of thriller, fans of the Big Band era will swing with Mr. Holmes’ fine composition.
Buy Swing at amazon.com