Just like the kid who wolfs down 5 corn dogs and then gets on the parking lot fair’s Tilt-a-Whirl, you have to let a lot go to buy into Whitley Strieber’s first young adult novel Melody Burning. But suspension of disbelief here, ultimately, results in a fun, quick read with a number of surprises and some fairly shocking charms.
Teen pop star/television actress Melody Mc Grath moves into the elite Beresford apartment building with her controlling manager-mother. Melody soon discovers, Phantom of the Opera style, the Beresford is home to a hunky teen boy who has grown up among its elevator shafts and secret passageways. As the two fall in love, the building’s murderously corrupt owner plots to incinerate it, hence the novel’s wonderfully sparky title.
Strieber (Wolfen, The Hunger) gets down the intense nature of control and rigidity that most younger people are exposed to when nailing down a show business career – making us sympathize greatly with Melody and her fate, both emotionally and physically. He, also, doesn’t candy coat the worlds of syndicate crime or the juvenile court system, most extremely highlighted by a sequence implying the reality of homosexual rape in group lockdown.
All the truthful harshness, though, is definitely leavened by the almost fairy tale nature of the two leads’ courtship and the radical change in thinking of Melody’s guardian by the tale’s explosive end.
You can keep up with Strieber’s adventures (literary and otherwise) at http://www.unknowncountry.com.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!