Skip to content

Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart #BookReview

It’s Back to the ’80’s like never before!

Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze.

But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.

When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself.

The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…

Title: Jukebox Hero | Author: Jason Stuart | Publisher: Burnt Bridge | Pub. Date: 30 May 2021 | Pages: 355 | ISBN: 1941601065 | Genre: Fantasy | Language: English | Source: Author | Starred Review

Page break indicator for Sci-Fi & Scary

Jukebox Hero Review

I read Jason Stuart’s Raise a Holler back in 2012. It was a fun spin on the rural crime fiction novel with just enough left of center oddness to mark it as being worthy of a cult audience. Since it’s been so long since Raise a Holler was out, I’ve been eagerly watching the gestation of his newest novel, Jukebox Hero, on social media .

When Stranger Things came out, it kicked open the door for a wave of 80’s love that continues to this day. I only mention Stranger Things because, even though it tries really hard to stay in 1983, there are enough time anomalies that indicate they were really just going for a general vibe of the time rather than full historical accuracy. So, for example, you’ve got music posters on bedroom walls for albums that hadn’t been released yet. Only the nitpickiest among us really cared though since so much of it felt right, a perfect blend of the actual and the memory.

Jukebox Hero is an 80’s ode too. Instead of trying to maintain the facade of historical accuracy, it leans into the idea of the entire decade being up for grabs. What becomes quickly apparent is that Jukebox Hero is unabashedly an 80’s book. Jason Stuart laughs at your notions of having a handful of subtle references to the decade when you can have all the references. Specifically movie and TV show references. There are little bits and pieces of so many 80’s movies in Jukebox Hero that everyone from casual movie fans to the more hardcore will have fun picking out all of the references.

There’s one subplot that didn’t really work for me. I think it was handled well and there was a payoff to it that served the larger story. It just wasn’t my favorite part. Oddly enough I think I figured out why it didn’t work for me, but the answer might be academic and I’m probably over thinking it. So I’ll only mention it and not bog with details.

The book is broken up into shorter length episodes. It worked best for me when I read an episode and switched to something else for a bit.

One of my favorite parts of Jukebox Hero was the process of finding members of the band and watching this collection of misfits coalesce as a unit around our protag Molly.

Jukebox Hero is a whiplash ride through an effervescent 80’s that didn’t exist but should have. Jukebox Hero is the first book in a planned trilogy. There’s action, adventure, sci-fi, horror, and high school drama. You should check it out.

Mixed positive/recommended

You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It can be found here at Indiebound or at Bookshop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.

Published inBook ReviewsStarred Reviews

Be First to Comment

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
%d bloggers like this: