This is a Rock & Roll novel, a work of historical fiction set in Queens, NY in the late sixties/early seventies. It’s 1971 and young Jack Bernstein is a struggling rock ’n’ roll manager in New York City. Instead of a fancy office in Manhattan, a flashy car, and backstage passes, he operates out of a basement apartment in working-class Queens, driving a cranky year-old Volvo as he trolls third-string venues for hidden talent.
He suffers enormous betrayal when Manhattan agents or “sharks” steal his top talent, Galahad. Jack financed a demo tape for his top talent by borrowing from a loan shark and pawning a friend’s guitar. When the tape fails to land a deal, Jack’s last hope is an offer from a friendly Queens mobster: manage his obnoxious nephew as best he can and doors will open. Jack counterintuitively connects the nephew with a Black band from South Jamaica in a desperate attempt to break into the big time. New York City in the late sixties and early seventies comes alive with all its intensity.
Jack is haunted by his experience with Tennessee Eddie, his first serious talent. Eddie lived with and was supported by Jack for almost a year. Jack got him a gig at famed Max’s Kansas City, where “Sharks”- Jack’s term for powerful Manhattan music executives – steal Eddie and land him a record deal and contract tour.
As the novel progresses, so does Jack’s savvy and ability to act forcefully when necessary. He refuses to be intimidated by the Sharks or their lawyers and sues the people who stole Tennessee Eddie.
In this very relatable novel, being in the late sixties, there are scenes throughout the novel that mark the period. Jack’s car has a touchy choke, he is forever looking for pay phones and navigating without GPS. He attends a concert at the Fillmore East and secures a gig for Tennessee Eddie at Max’s Kansas City.
He engages with a weed dealer in the hopes of making enough to pay off his debts, but he and his friends smoke up so much that there is no profit. Jack takes his one and only LSD trip. Readers will enter NYC pizza parlors and Italian restaurants and pass through iconic NYC landmarks like White Castle and Lemon Ice King of Corona. They are also brought into the studio for the making of the Galahad tape.
About The Author:
Stephen Shaiken practiced criminal law for more than thirty-five years. He is a graduate of Queens College and Brooklyn Law School and earned an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.
Stephen has authored three novels in the acclaimed NJA Club Series, best described as exotic noir thrillers. The three novels-Bangkok Shadows, Bangkok Whispers and Bangkok Blues-feature American expat lawyer Glenn Murray Cohen and his eclectic friends from Bangkok’s mysterious NJA Club as they are dragged into intrigue and danger.
Queensborough Rock is a different kind of novel, very loosely inspired by Stephen’s brief career as a rock manager in 1970-71.
When not writing, Stephen enjoys travel, gardening, yoga, guitar, and following politics and current events with a passion. He’s a voracious reader of fiction and nonfiction in too many genres and subjects to list.
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For complete information, visit: https://stephenshaiken.com/