My book report- Kickback City

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My book report- Kickback City

Postby RobertaSparrow » 31 Oct 2013, 05:35

I got my copy of Kickback City on Tuesday afternoon. I really like the package- it's all contained in a hardbound book about the size of a DVD box set.

There are 3 discs in it, the first is a sort of sampler disc of Rory's studio work ranging from his earliest post-Taste band with Wilgar Campbell up to his later work featuring Mark Feltham, of Rory's songs with a film noir/pulp fiction sort of theme. Then a disc of Rory's live performances, and finally an audio disc of the novella, The Lie Factory, narrated by Aidan Quinn. The text of the novella is interspersed with the graphic-novel type pages throughout.

Clearly, the creative minds that formed this little book- author Ian Rankin, graphic artist Timothy Truman, and actor Aidan Quinn, are aficianados of Rory's music. As another Rory fan told me today, this work is very much a labor of love.

When I first took the box set out of the package and opened it, I was struck by the similarity in presentation to my collector's edition of Tarantino's DVD Pulp Fiction, and that makes sense, they are an homage to the same genre. Both have the same pulp fiction/true crime/ mystery theme, with the Tarantino set mimicking the appearance of a pulp fiction mag. However, Kickback City does an excellent job of actually representing one of those old mags- having the flavor and appearance of one of those old crime magazines as I remember from the 60s.

My mom was an avid reader of those pulp fiction, true crime magazines. They were all over our house growing up, and I'd read them all the time- the graphic artist must have been familiar with them, too, because the back of the little book even features the same type of tacky, cheesy advertisements that one could always find there, even down to the super cheap 50s-60s prices!

I really enjoyed this- I like this genre of writing anyway, and it is very cleverly done, with loads of references to Rory's work, both in the illustrations and in the story itself. Throughout the text there are references to Rory's songs- little easter eggs of Rory references- for example, the panel that depicts the main character meeting up with the victim's sister, in the corner of the page you can see the headstock of a Gallagher guitar- granted, to my knowledge Rory never played one, but I believe one of his favorite guitarists, Doc Watson, did!

The story itself is very well done, in the tradition of crime stories/mysteries.

Not every Rory fan will enjoy this package- his oldest fans, we who already have just about every recording he ever made, and a fair number of bootlegs that he never really intended to make (but I'm glad someone did, in retrospect, they're all very precious now, as are all the YouTube videos) will be disappointed because there isn't any new musical material there. And there are the die-hard fans that want to hear only the music, don't care about what inspired it, don't enjoy reading, and don't want to know about anything else as concerns Rory will not be interested in the least in this offering, and that's okay- to each his own. But for so many who did see him in the day, and maybe no longer have any of his old albums but would like to reacquaint themselves with him, this has a nice sampling of his work through the years, and for younger fans just meeting him, so to speak, this is a fun way to start.

And it also introduces many of Ian Rankin's fans to Rory's music, perhaps for the first time. People who follow and collect his works, who read the references to Rory's music through the Inspector Rebus books, but maybe never heard Rory before will finally be introduced to the soundtrack to Rebus's world.

And then there are the fans like me, who enjoy the opportunity to take an albeit brief glance into Rory's world, into some of the things that fired his imagination, fueled his work. I think he'd be flattered to have his work recognized and honored in this way.
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Re: My book report- Kickback City

Postby SUBY1974 » 24 Nov 2013, 22:32

I just finished reading The Lie Factory novella by Ian Rankin and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The packaging of Kickback City is nicely done and I love the fact it is like a book that one can put on their bookshelf. It’s the same with Notes From San Francisco. Timothy Trueman’s artwork is fantastic in capturing the story and I love the dark colours and the way it captures the atmosphere and tension throughout. Obviously he is a fan of Rory’s and one can see the love and effort he put into the artwork. The artwork sets the scene and captures the mood and what the plotline is going to be like. It also captures the personalities of the characters.

The CDs are good both the Studio version and the live version of Kickback City.

However I want to come back to the story .I love the way Ian Rankin has used Rory lyrics and song titles in the story and the way Timothy Trueman captures this in the pictures. References to Rory are peppered and sprinkled throughout the novella and its tastefully done. I like the way Agatha Dempsey is a “slumming angel” and then we have Albert Deutz who is a loneshark and police informant. Kid Gloves is a boxer and P.I Regan is known as “Sinnerboy” by Joe Strayhorn who own the nightclub Camille and there is a fantastic picture of PI Regan standing by a poster where Joy Strayhorn presents Rory Gallagher in concert. I love the postcards as well. You have In Your Town mentioned and Continental Op plus Barley and the Rag.

The Lie Factory Novella is a good introduction to the type of books Rory loved. I read Capo and I am now reading Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith. The Lie Factory is basically a city where the underground rule and is filled with corruption, gangs, crime, bribery, prostitution etc. Capo by Peter Watson shows how this world is run by the Mafia family and it is a seedy and dangerous world. The high officials are corrupt and in this story Duke Dempsey and Anthony Costello ( the DA) represent that. There is another gangster also mentioned called Danny Booth and in this world its one gang pitching against the other. I feel as always the police are in between the warring parties. Also I am not surprised by the boxing game being fixed either. In Capo the Mafia use to fix the lotteries and make money for themselves. The women in this seedy world are important and Agatha Dempsey loves danger and risk. After all she and her sister they committed the murder of an innocent woman and framed and innocent Kids Glove. The sisters do not have a conscience and Elinor Dempsey says "the devil made me do it", obviously referring to her father and passing the blame.

I do have a few questions about the plotline. I believe its open to interpretation by the reader, because I could see no ending.

The questions I have are

1) Why did Agatha Dempsey borrow money from a loneshark like Albert Deutz and then ask PI Regan to ask Albert Deutz to give her more time to pay? Was she really scared of Albert Deutz or her father?
2) Why was Agatha passing information about Danny Booth to Anthony Costello?
3) Why was Agatha trying to escape her father?
4) Is Agatha’s sister Elinor Dempsey dating Anthony Costello?
5) Not much is known about the Duke Dempsey?
6) Will PI Regan report that Agatha Dempsey’s is a fake and what will happen to the innocent Kid Glove and will Rosetta Jones family know what really happened to her?
7) Where is Agatha Dempsey if she is not dead?

I think we are invited to draw our own conclusions and use our own imagination to what could have happened. Its a bit like looking at abstract art. The viewer is invited to bring their own conclusion and interpretations to the painting.

I feel for Rosetta Jones. She came from a good family and ended up working the streets and getting murdered by these sisters. Kid Gloves is innocent too.

I loved the audio version of the book read by Aidan Quinn. His voice and reading style is exactly how I would imagine PI Regan to speak and think to himself. I do love audio books and its made me think of getting Anne Franks Diary in audio version again.

I love the adverts at the back with references to Rory. I mean there is an advert where the guitarist looks like Rory and its says “Learn to Play Guitar” The Rory Gallagher Way “Complete Course” or the Law! Learn At Home Rankin Institution Chicago. Two adverts made me laugh. The first shows a man how to gain muscles fast for free and the other is for short guys:- if they want extra height they can wear lightweight form rubber cushion Cork pads in their shoes – LOL. If I went on a date with the guy wearing those I probably would be staring at their feet all night! LOL again.

All in all a lovely package and a lovely concept. I am sure Rory would have loved it and it is a fantastic introduction to the types of books Rory loved and why he wrote the songs he did . Subrata. X

I will read Ian Rankins novels in the future.It would have been nice if more of Rory's music was used for the audio version of The Lie Factory and be interspersed here and there. This whole package is a real treat for RG fans.
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Re: My book report- Kickback City

Postby DrCherryCollier » 10 Mar 2014, 20:41

thank you for your post ,,
i have just one question ..
Where is Agatha Dempsey if she is not dead?
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Re: My book report- Kickback City

Postby RobertaSparrow » 10 Mar 2014, 23:18

Hello DrCherryCollier, First of all, Welcome to Rory's Forum-

(and I neglected this earlier- it's been a crazy hectic Monday for me, I get absent minded on these kind of days) :oops:

Re: The Lie Factory/Kickback City-

I found the story to be entertaining, and saw parallels to several similar crime/thriller plot lines-

As with most of these types of stories, the main characters tend to be flawed individuals. And just as in the story lines for the plot in Chinatown, or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, there is an element of child abuse, incest as the catalyst that sets the story in motion-

As amateur private investigator Harry Lockhart says in a similar plot line in the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, ". . . These (women) are damaged goods, every one of them, from way back. . . . and I *bet* you if you look in their childhood, there's something rotten in Denver. . . it's abandonment, it's abuse, ... and then they all come out here! I mean, it's literally like someone took America by the East Coast and *shook* it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on."

The character Agatha was a victim of incest, the perpetrator being her rich, powerful father, so to escape the abuse, Agatha's sister Elinor deliberately assisted her sister in faking her own death- by setting up the murder of an innocent woman who resembled Agatha, then framing an innocent man to take the blame- and it nearly works until the PI confronts Elinor, and that is where the story ends; with their father- the real villain in the story, beating Elinor to find out where his "favorite" daughter was hiding- That was my only criticism of the book- that the perpetrators of the murder/cover up were themselves victims of the worst kind of villain- their own father- a sexual predator of children. I'd have enjoyed the story much more if the real villain, Duke Dempsey, had received his comeuppance instead of one of his daughters once again suffering at his hands.

So, to me it was clear, as the story ends, Agatha was in hiding from her abusive father.
Last edited by RobertaSparrow on 11 Mar 2014, 02:12, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: wanted to say welcome to this new member, and forgot- oops
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Re: My book report- Kickback City

Postby Mike1970 » 13 Mar 2014, 16:22

I got the iTunes version, so it just has the audio version of the book, rather than a printed material.
I liked it a lot, but I wish it was longer....I guess it is novella, so implicitly it is short, but I was really enjoying it.
Also liked the weaving of the songs in with the story.
For those interested, the newer Ian Rankin book, Saints of the Shadow Bible, has a brief Rory reference or 2, if I am recalling correctly. That was really the first direct one I had found in his books.
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