Title: Bright Midnight by Chris Formant
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 275 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Peter Ham—all of them iconic rock stars, all of them dead at age twenty-seven. How could a group of great musicians all die at the same age? All evidence points to the deaths being unrelated, but were they really?
Gantry Elliot is a relic of rock and roll era still writing for Rolling Stone magazine—covering “classic” rock and roll and struggling for relevance in the age of hip-hop and electronic dance music. Even though he’s an encyclopedia of music trivia, Gantry can’t compete with the new kids on the block and is now reduced to watching the clock tick down on his once dynamic career. But Gantry’s vast knowledge may be the only thing that can unravel the mystery of 27.
When anonymous packages start showing up at his office and then his home, Gantry initially shrugs them off as another Club of 27 conspiracy nerd trying to get attention. But as the clues became more intimate, more personal, more sinister, he realizes this is not a game: someone knows the truth, and the truth may put Gantry’s life in serious danger.
Aptly called, “’The Da Vinci Code’ for rock and roll fans,” author Chris Formant has written a terrific debut novel that creatively and deftly takes readers on a dangerous cold case hunt to uncover the mystery behind these deaths. Truth or fiction, lies or conspiracy, ‘Bright Midnight’ will keep you guessing until its final chorus.
With Bright Midnight, debut author Chris Formant presents an intriguing scenario about the deaths of several iconic rock and roll musicians from the late ’60s and early ’70s. What if, instead of accidental deaths or suicide, these rock and roll stars were actually murdered? And if this is the case, what possible reason would someone have for killing them just as they were at the pinnacle of stardom?
Veteran reporter Gantry Elliot is practically a legend at Rolling Stone magazine where after a forty year career, he feels a little underappreciated by the younger staff members. With an encyclopedic knowledge of rock stars whose careers began during the Age of Aquarius, he immediately understands the significance of the anonymous messages and clues he begins receiving that assert that rock and roll greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin were murdered. Delving deeper into these clues, Gantry becomes convinced there is truth to the allegations and he turns to close friend and record expert, Dennis Briganty and FBI Agent Raphael Melendez to aid his investigation into these long ago deaths.
Gantry not only wrote about these rock legends; he was personal friends with many of them. He has always believed there might be a kernel of truth to the so-called Myth of 27 which suggests there is something more sinister to the deaths of the pioneers of rock and roll who all died at the age of 27. The first of the messages he receives centers on a little known collaboration between Hendrix and Jones and the personal effects included in the missive points to someone who intimately knew one or both musicians. After another envelope containing similar information and relics is delivered to him, Gantry’s research backs up his almost unbelievable theory that a serial killer might be responsible for these long ago deaths.
The first person Gantry reaches out to is longtime friend and classic record store owner Dennis Briganty. Between the two of them, they work out the significance of some of the information Gantry has received. Dennis also reveals he owns personal memorabilia from one of the rock stars that might shed valuable light on Gantry’s investigation but he needs time to track it down.
While waiting for Brigantry to get back to him, Gantry receives yet another package that leads him to two terrifying conclusions: the killer not only knows where he lives but has also must likely bugged his apartment. This knowledge makes it imperative he convince FBI Agent Melendez to help him investigate these long ago deaths. Once Melendez is on board, he takes their suspicions to his contact in Scotland Yard since some of these musicians died in Britain. Re-opening decades old cases that were given only cursory investigations is complicated but Melendez and Gantry remain hopeful that the evidence has been preserved well enough to glean new information that will help them figure out the truth.
Bright Midnight is a fast-paced and engrossing mystery with a unique and compelling storyline. Chris Formant presents an inventive (and plausible) theory for the long ago deaths of these famous rock and roll legends that is guaranteed to appeal to classic rock fans and conspiracy buffs. An all around fantastic mystery that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of the genre!