The best true crime book of the year is also an unlikely candidate for the best rock music book of the year. A major accomplishment on a dozen levels, and one which provides uncomfortable truths about show business, rock and roll, greed and brutal death. Killer Show is horrendous, meticulous, and as gripping a book I have read this year.
Outside of the residents of West Warwick, Rhode Island few will remember the Station Nightclub Fire which killed 100 people in a scorching chemical inferno which lasted a brief five minutes. It was a national news story for a few days, and the opening seconds of the harrowing, brutal video recording of the event were aired for all on the evening news, but as it is easier to forget horror than dwell, the story faded.
Killer Show brings it back with astounding documentation enabling the reader to absorb graphic, deadly evil without flinching. The Great White Fire was horror. True, unfathomable horror…but the author's anger and desire to name those responsible, in a detailed, step by step manner (as behooves a lawyer) removes all tawdry shock value…this is no cheap exploitative read, and years beyond an "instant" book pumped out to cash in on an event.
A University Press of New England book, with none of the greed and sleaze which distinguishes the criminal club-owners, promoters, a beer company, pyrotechnic manufacturers and even worse, the chemical soup created by "sound insulation" foam producers, all who are forced into paying considerable fines reaching well over 100 million dollars to avoid being shamed in public court.
This is an indictment, and expose, a tribute…but most of all a remarkable literary (yes, literary, heavy metal fans) accomplishment of the highest order, and one which takes the traditional true crime genre to a new level of achievement. Once living and vital participants turned murder victims in a flash are located on the fortunate tape and sound recordings like ghosts who come back for justice.
If you want the gloss, razzle-dazzle and "glamour" sham of rock and roll, you know what to read. If you want a serious, fascinating account of what really happens when commerce meets electric guitars, read this. You will never enter a juke club without locating the exits again. This book could literally save your life.
Author John Barylick is an attorney who represented victims of the Station nightclub fire. With the damning, incredible preparation and documentation he provides here, it is no wonder a dozen companies, some who spend millions a year to make their names roll off your tongue, settled out of court.
After reading this book, you will no longer believe crooked politicians who argue for "tort reform" while taking funds from insurance companies and corporations. If the victims and family members who suffered through this debacle lived for a purpose, it was to insure our legal system remains strong in the face of corporate interests who would like to legalize unabashed greed…and this book should be required reading for any future lawyer, not to mention nightclub promoter, their patrons and those in the insurance industry who aim to maximize profits rather than do what is right. This book is an indictment, and the best argument for safety regulations you will ever read. A "killer show" indeed, and one of the most important books of the year.
The Killer Show website is HERE. The amazon Link is HERE.