What We Do Is Secret by Kief Hillsbery

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Synopsis

“Why am I a punk? Because I wasn’t anything before, except different. And now it’s like I’m different, but with a vengeance.”

It’s been months since the suicide of Darby Crash, L.A. punk rock icon and lead singer of the Germs. He checked out on the same day John Lennon was shot: December 8, 1980. But for Rockets Redglare, it feels like yesterday. Darby was the hot-as-sun center of Rockets’s world. Part ringleader, part god, and all charismatic manipulator, Darby was as close to family as a hustler and street kid like Rockets might ever get.

Now, as Rockets amps up for another night looking for tricks and scrounging a meal, Sex Pistols and X lyrics on repeat in his head, he knows he’s come to a turning point–the scene is changing, and nothing’s as easy as it was when Darby brought him into the fold.

From the underground clubs to the back of the giant “H” in the Hollywood sign, Rockets and his crew of friends spend the night burning bridges, building new ones, tripping and talking and searching for answers. As the dark gives way to early morning, the punks and the cops engage in their ritual standoff–and Rockets faces the ultimate choice: Should he stay or should he go?


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Kief Hillsbery

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Thorn Kief Hillsbery is the author of the novel War Boy. A former editor at Outside, he races motorcycles and lives in Manhattan.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Villard. 369 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The author mostly refrains from easy pathos in depicting his almost-30 protagonist, but he fails to bring Rockets to life, in part because the boy’s history remains mostly obscured, and in part because the narrative voice is thoroughly unconvincing.

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