Review: This Rock in my Heart by Tommie Vaughn

Posted: April 11, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , ,

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being reposted here, at its permanent home.

One thing that often creeps into Rock Fiction is a bit of cynicism. Anyone who watches the TV show Nashville can tell you what a tough world it can be to navigate and survive. For all the glitter and glamour, there’s every bit as much, if not more, sleaze.

That’s why Tommie Vaughn’s This Rock in my Heart is such a breath of fresh air. Her lead character, Frankie Spencer, is naïve and one of the most optimistic characters you’ll find in the genre. Nothing gets this woman down for long, not the divorce that brings her to a job in a recording studio, and not anything that happens afterward: the groupie who tries to intrude on Frankie’s maybe love affair with a visiting guitarist, money issues, the lack of a band to make music with… it all works out with a happily ever after that satisfies and yet leaves room for the upcoming second in the series.

The downside to all this breezy optimism is that there’s not much at stake. The best fiction hinges on conflict and this novel works awfully hard to keep conflict at a minimum, at best – as if Frankie, as she heals from her divorce, can’t take any more and simply needs it all to be sunshine and roses.

This both works and doesn’t. It is that breath of fresh air, but at the same time, things are a bit too easy. Bad things don’t happen in Vaughn’s world, even when, perhaps, they should.

This novel’s most serious flaw is in its editing, and I don’t say that as the editor that I am. I say that as a reader and music fan who simply can’t excuse Ozzy’s name being misspelled – Ozbourne, instead of Osbourne – and the travesty done to Concrete Blonde’s name, as well. These are easily confirmed facts and spellings. There simply is no excuse at the editorial level for this because it undermines Vaughn’s authority and oh, so apparent knowledge of the music world. Even her cameos, from such notables as the legendary Henry Rollins and Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, are fun and while they might be a bit too much in the unicorn-and-rainbow theme, there’s still an authenticity that can sometimes be lacking in less capable hands. As there should be: Vaughn knows of where she writes. She’s an industry vet, herself, which makes the happy tone to this novel all the more appreciated. She could have turned so easily and been cynical or jaded… but didn’t.

Author Vaughn was kind enough to send me an e-book copy of This Rock, and she’s also been gracious enough to send me a copy of the next in the series, This Roll in My Soul. While I’d prefer a grittier book, I’m eager to see what comes next in the world of Vaughn and lead character Frankie Spencer.

  1. […] Susan had liked Tommie Vaughn’s This Rock in my Heart, and she passed it on to me. I didn’t like it the way she did, and I hate to say that I liked This Roll in My Soul even less. […]

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