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196 words
SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

The Winter Dance Party Murders
by Greg Herriges

Reviewed by Duff Brenna

Wordcraft of Oregon (1998)

Cover of Winter Dance Party Murders, by Greg Herriges

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With his customary pyrotechnics, Herriges gives us a “what if” tale written in a swift, agile manner that has become his signature style over the course of seven novels. So you thought Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in 1959, right? Rudolph Kearns aka Rudy Keen begs to differ. Keen, a striving rock and roll song writer and musician, narrates an alternate history concerning some of the greatest singers of the 50’s and 60’s. He has the inside scoop on numerous Rock giants: Del Shannon, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, The Big Bopper, and a wealth of other famous singers.

Keen manages to write his own hit song, but nothing turns out the way he dreamed it would. Between the lines, Herriges seems to be reminding us to be careful what we wish for and be careful not to take any agents or record producers (or film producers either) at face value. The Winter Dance Party Murders is a sharp-witted, comedic, often sardonic exposé of the backdoor nature of the music business and how it uses and abuses its starry-eyed wannabes and icons. It’s a rich, wonderful read.


Note from the Webmaster:

If you’re looking for more info about Greg Herriges online, please be aware that the dot-com website refers to a different artist. For details about the novelist, please visit:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury