"When we first meet Michael Gray, the protagonist of The Last Stage, he is looking back on his fateful journey to Los Angeles to become not just a rock star, but a living testament to his hero, 60s rock icon and lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison.
Michael is not a particularly gifted musician nor a very successful or likable human being, but he is loaded with ambition, a Morrison lookalike, possessed by a dream of becoming his hero's successor and to make it to stardom. Michael, who lives in Wisconsin with a life that's going nowhere, finagles his way into a local band, and then persuades them to get on board with his dream of superstardom as a Doors tribute band. Somewhat reluctantly, the band agrees to give up their own dream of success, and they accompany Michael on a herky-jerky national tour as a Doors tribute band, The Unknown Soldiers. The band does quite well. In fact, too well.
Michael ultimately succumbs to the lure of stardom. And, as with so many who come to Hollywood in search of the mirage of fame and fortune, he finds himself, for a brief moment, almost able to grasp the brass ring, only to see it slip away, while the spoils go to the final victors.
Jim Cherry keeps the reader fully engaged in the rise and fall of the luckless and mendacious Michael Gray, with a sure and skillful understanding of the vagaries of the band life and the consequences of vaulting ambition. His characters are well-drawn and memorable, and the plot twists at the end worthy of any study of the pursuit of success.
A great page turner for anyone interested in the inner workings of band relationships, the price of fame and the workings of karma.
Spot on,well written review.