Danny Bland’s fictional prose novel about a doomed junkie couple is given depth by his first hand experiences in the ’90s grunge rock scene.
“It wasn’t the pounding headache or the all too familiar taste of blood in my mouth that woke me that morning, but the stink of cat piss. They all have cats. Cats and bad tattoos and mops of dyed black hair that reek of cigarettes and watermelon Bubblicious.” This debut novel by veteran Seattle musician Danny Bland follows a pair of outsiders who find themselves locked in the palpable, dizzy grunge-rock scene of early-’90s Seattle. Vulnerable to the high relief of heroin addiction, Bland’s characters — Charlie Hyatt and Carrie Finch — are unapologetic protagonists whose epiphanies are as blinding as their weaknesses. Finch, 21, beautiful and dangerous, drowns out the voices in her head and the consequences of a misled life with electric guitars, booze and petulant misbehavior. Her single abiding faith takes the form of an unlikely savior — ’60s psychedelic musician Roky Erikson. At the ripe old age of 28, Hyatt attempts to make sense of the cards he has been dealt: a miserable job in a porn shop, a drug habit he cannot afford and the wildly unstable woman he had chosen to love. Two damaged people can balance a seesaw for a long time, even finding the illusion of safety; but when one gets off unannounced, the other will fall. As Finch finds sobriety, her sanity and her relationship with Hyatt falter until an inevitable event brings the two back together a decade later.