The Frontman, by Lawrence Parlier
(In association with Black Rose Writing)
Hey guys, how are you? Are you looking forward to the weekend?
Today, I’m excited to share my review of The Frontman, a thriller / urban fantasy style novel, by Lawrence Parlier.
When world-renowned singer-songwriter Kerry Vance is found dead in his hotel room, those closest to him begin to question things. They don’t believe his death was the accidental overdose it was made out to be: they believe it was planned. They aim to uncover the truth, and deliver Kerry’s body back home to Denver, where he belongs.
The Frontman showcased a variety of unique characters. I’d like to briefly discuss four of the key players, and then of course Kerry Vance himself, based on the impressions given by those closest to him.
Avery Clark, Kerry’s dear friend and a renowned writer, aims to find out what truly happened to Kerry. Having lost his beloved girlfriend a year prior, I came to sympathise with Avery as an individual as he used alcohol to numb his pain and loneliness. Watching his journey of grief felt deeply moving. Despite his internal pain, he proved to be a loyal and devoted friend, stopping at nothing to do right by Kerry. It was his steadfastness to this goal, despite his internal turmoil, which garnered my intense admiration.
Calliope, an old companion of Kerry’s, was equally steadfast in her assigned task to bring Kerry back to his hometown. She was a bit of an enigma at first, with nobody knowing who she was or where she had suddenly come from. She was a stubborn and impulsive woman, who took what she saw as necessary risks to get the job done, as it were. She possesses a unique secret, which I won’t reveal here as I don’t wish to spoil one of the best twists of the book, however, I will say that it shocked me and completely changed my understanding of her role in the story.
Sarah, Kerry Vance’s estranged daughter, never got to know her famous father. The truth of his identity was kept from her as a child and she desperately wished she had gotten to know him while he was still alive. Sarah seemed a strong and capable woman, who craved answers. She was sweet and caring, doing all she could to learn more about what her late father was like.
Carol, Karry’s late widower, initially appeared cruel and heartless, a woman who seemed to be hiding something. However, as the story continued, there was more depth to her, with a hidden sense of vulnerability revealed behind her otherwise controlling and vindictive façade. Nevertheless, any sympathy I felt for her quickly faded as the story progressed, replaced by a deep-seated hatred for such a vile and obsessed individual.
Finally, we come to Kerry Vance himself, the legendary rock and roll music artist, who touched the hearts and souls of whoever he met. From the stories told by his loved ones, he was a well-liked and talented man, who had his own personal demons, and did all he could to channel them into his music. There was a consistent sadness to him that people describe as being an innate part of his highly sensitive and artistic nature. Of all the stories and impressions given of Kerry, there was little I found to dislike about him.
The Frontman was a well written and thrilling adventure through the life of Kerry Vance, and his loved one’s intertwining journeys as they dealt with the grief of losing him. Some of the things I especially liked about the book are listed below.
- The author paints a vivid picture with his scenes: the dressing of the set locations and little details used hint at the kind of characters we’ll be spending time with over the course of the story.
- There was plenty of drama and tension to entertain the mind. I was constantly wondering what would happen next and who would succeed in their goals.
- A colourful cast of characters filled the pages. I liked how the main character’s pasts and personal lives were given attention, to make them more realistic and sympathetic overall.
While there were many positives to this story, there were also a few things I didn’t like.
- Being introduced to four or more main characters, each with their own point of view quite early on in the story felt a bit overwhelming. It wasn’t easy to track all of their different sub-storylines, so at times this became a struggle, with the story weaving back and forth frequently between each point of view. I feel it made it a bit harder to connect on a deeper level with the character’s I felt I should have been, such as Avery and Sarah.
- The book could perhaps do with a good proofread as many sentences had typos and grammatical errors which pulled me out of the story on a regular basis.
- The revelation of Caliope’s hidden identity felt as if it were revealed too quickly, and too far toward the end of the story. I feel that more foreshadowing of this throughout the book would have been better as it does confuse the story’s genre toward the end (at least it did for me.) However, I do have to say that as further details were revealed, this element did make for a beautiful part of the story. It’s just a shame it wasn’t more consistently hinted at or intertwined with the main plot of the book.
While reading The Frontman, I noticed a few key messages which stayed with me. As such, I have included four of them below.
1) ‘Creating and performing are the only things that matter. To souls that sensitive and intelligent, everything-else in a disappointment. Nothing else rings true.’
I could relate to this on a deeper level. As a young child, I was always immersed in my imagination and art and storytelling were all that would capture my attention. Even as an adult, these pursuits call to a deeper part of me, moving me to explore my subconscious.
2) ‘It’s their sensitivity to the world around them. They feel things more strongly than most people. They don’t learn to block it out. – It moves them to create. But it can also get to be too much at times.’
This quote is referring to the sensitive nature of artists and how throughout history, many have used drugs to cope with their heightened perception of the world around them.
3) ‘Reality, Avery knew, was a subjective experience. It was a marriage of inner knowledge and external stimuli.’
I feel that this was beautifully put. Nowadays, it seems that every opinion we read online is expected to be taken as fact. Some people don’t seem to stop and consider that what we experience ourselves may be vastly different from what somebody-else experiences.
4) ‘Don’t ever take it for granted. It can be over in a flash.’
Here, the author refers to life and how precious it is. The profound message not to waste it or take it for granted will stay with me forever.
Overall, The Frontman was a story of unique artistic ability, the sensitivities associated with it, and the power of one man’s creative talent to bring people together, even after death. Themes included love, loss, betrayal, fame, and greed.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of thrillers and urban fantasy novels, with suspenseful plot-lines and memorable characters.
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Have a wonderful weekend,