Book Review: It’s A Long Way To The Top by Cherry Cox

long way to the topActs of Insanity are the hottest up-and-coming band on the LA rock circuit. They’ve got the looks, the attitude and the musical ability – and with studio time booked to record the demo that could earn them a deal with a major label, all they need is a lead singer. When they manage to recruit frontman Harley Moore from a rival band, their problems should be over, but for Acts of Insanity’s guitarist, Jax Reed, they’re only just beginning. Jax is gay, but he keeps his true sexuality secret for fear of the reaction he’ll get. As a result, he’s been living a lie, forming relationships with women and numbing the pain of being in the closet with regular fixes of heroin. What he doesn’t know is that Harley has his own secrets, too. Aware of an unspoken attraction between Jax and Harley, and afraid of what will happen if they get close, Jax’s sister, Karen, who’s also Acts of Insanity’s manager, does everything she can to keep things apart. But some things are destined to happen, even if the results have the power to tear the band – and Jax’s life – apart…

It’s A Long Way To The Top is the first in a series about the exploits of Acts of Insanity, and Cherry Cox has woven a compelling story of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The book captures the raw energy and downright sleaziness of LA’s Sunset Strip in the mid-1980s, making it seem totally credible that Acts of Insanity could be moving in the same circles as the likes of Guns ’n Roses. Cox clearly knows a lot about music, and musicians, and that knowledge adds an authenticity to proceedings. And the sex scenes, often involving illicit backstage encounters, are hot and spicy. Of course, any book like this is really about the emotional connection between the characters, and while the traumas Jax and Harley have suffered in their life (gay-bashing, rough treatment by homophobic cops, the looming spectre of AIDS) could turn into horrible clichés, you find yourself hoping they’ll overcome all the setbacks and find love. The cliffhanger ending sets up the action for Part Two, so don’t expect an easy resolution to Jax and Harley’s problems, but if you like the thought of pretty boys in bands getting it on and you get nostalgic when you hear an old Motley Crue song, you’ll love It’s A Long Way To The Top.

You can find out more about It’s A Long Way To The Top and watch the Acts of Insanity music video at http://www.paperbackpleasures.com/acts-of-insanity-series.html, and the book is available from Amazon US.

I was given a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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