Idols & Cons by S.S. Michaels

The schedule fell apart and there was no post last week, despite what the Dead Days Calendar(TM) said up until now. Instead I have a very special instalment for you today. I’d like to present my review of…

Idols & Cons by S.S. Michaels

John lives in an area being infiltrated by Hollywood types. He’s into art, music, and selling drugs even though he’s not out of high school yet. He’s sort of friends with boy band idol Damien Tungsten of the band In Dreams. He’s also friends with eccentric, artist Patrick Salinger. When John witnesses Damien murder a girl in his posh bedroom, and Patrick becomes involved, things go from bad to strange.

Idols & Cons is S.S. Michaels’ debut novel, published by Omnium Gatherum. What a great way to start off a writing career. The book is a fast read that also moves along at a good Idols & Cons narrative clip. It is written in the first person, but also changes character perspective from chapter to chapter as necessary. While not a new idea it is put to good use. It starts off with Jake, who is also John for much of the novel. It’s an element of the somewhat fluid timeline, but it manages not to confuse if you pay attention to whose point of view you’re in until you can tell without looking. Everything fits together well and really crystallises nicely. After teetering along in an exciting, wild ride of relish-worthy fulfilled expectations, and breakneck twists, it ends with short burst of abrupt reality hits that satisfy except that there is no more to read.

The writing is involving. There is excellent contrast between the dark and comedic. The satire is obvious but not in your face. The character work with John draws you in, with nice detail and depth to Damien as well. Patrick is kind of the odd one out. That however has more to do with his psychology and his action more than introspection role to the narrative. The characters are physically described mostly by fashion sense and personal style, which is a good fit to the world they live in just outside of where regular people do. This, the content, and some of the story stylings push the book into the transgressive milieu that the publisher is interested in.

You can pick up your own copy of Idols & Cons at

Music: Maniac Dance by Stratovarius.

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