Nevada Mind The Bollix (previously published as two separate parts) follows the adventures of ageing rocker and British national treasure Geordie Selwyn, as well as his extended family and music industry contemporaries.
Mortz has delivered a fun and funny novel, with plenty of dry British humour, but this is also an ambitious piece of writing. The plot is complex and intriguing. Readers will find murder, tragedy and even an unexpected sci-fi element thrown in for good measure, all of which makes for an original and engaging novel.
There are two main story threads which traverse location and time. In the present day, the characters assemble in Las Vegas for RockQuest, the rock 'n' roll version of The X-Factor, and the marriage of Geordie Selwyn's daughter. Meanwhile, flashbacks to the 1970s interweave the Vegas chapters to narrate the rise of British punk band The Bollix, their inner squabblings and their bloodied New York demise.
The connection between these two threads drives much of the intrigue and becomes apparent through later twists and revelations.
And I have to mention the aliens. If the above plot threads were not enough, there is also the matter of humanoid aliens, the Harvesters, residing in a secret Nevada desert base. Their mission is to harvest the apparent eternal youth of Earth rock 'n' roll royalty through their shadowy music company PLM. It sounds barmy but it works brilliantly. Aliens are a perfect fit for the already surreal world of A-list rock stars.
But whilst the plot is expertly woven, the real highlight is the cast of characters. NMTB is a vast epic, with enough narrative viewpoints to rival Game of Thrones. Each character is brilliantly-crafted and Mortz adeptly switches perspectives between rockers, music producers, groupies, rookies and even a dog.
There are so many memorable characters. It is hard to know where to start: the rascal Geordie Selwyn, granddaddy of rock; fellow rocker Chaz Lawrence, the Australian equivalent to Geordie and all-round bad influence; evergreen heartthrob Daniel Spectrum, who seemingly does not age; Eva Goodman-Selwyn, the power behind Geordie's throne; formidable queen bee, Ruby Nathen; self-destructive groupie Franni H; good egg Sebastian Hardwick, the British Minister for Music; and endless others.
The sheer level of world-building suggests that Mortz could confidently turn her pen to fantasy in the future, having invented characters, bands, songs, music companies, complex backstories and the intricate Selwyn family tree. NMTB could easily be the start of a much bigger franchise and deserves its own legion of groupies.
Rock on, Mortz!
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