Rock Star Characters
Kris Phoenix embodies all the English superstar rock musicians from John Lennon and Mick Jagger to David Bowie. He has questionable morals but a strong conviction and determination to succeed, and any unpleasant things he must do are done with the belief that his art will justify his life. Bobby Mondella, black and handsome, is the talented child of the ghetto who makes all the necessary compromises to reach superstardom. Rafealla personifies the aimless rich kid who leads such a fast life that she is jaded before the age of twenty-one, and almost falls into the profession of rock stardom because there is nothing else left to do.
There is the ruthless, powerful older man who controls the lives of others with the dispassionate abandon of a child manipulating dolls. Marcus Citroen represents the power to create or destroy the lives and careers of people who try to make it in the entertainment business.
As always, Collins has a "loose cannon" character, in this book Maxwell Sicily, who deliberately sets about to interfere with the plans of the major characters, resulting in the usual climactic scene of terror and violence. Her "good" characters have their flaws: the three rock stars are by turn callous, arrogant, selfish, and occasionally stupid. But they are also loyal, sensitive, dedicated, and kind-hearted. The "bad" characters have few redeeming qualities: Marcus Citroen is a controlling, vindictive, unfeeling, rapacious, perverted man of great wealth, power, and position who manipulates everyone for his own purposes and entertainment. His only sign of humanity appears when he for some reason allows Bobby Mondella to resume his career after he (Citroen) had violently ended it.
Nova Citroen, his wife, is cold, calculating and completely self-involved. She shows what seems to be a vulnerability after being badly beaten by her husband. But even then Collins casts doubt on her sincerity, so the reader cannot be positive that Nova in fact has a touch of humanity or is simply playing a part for her own gain.
Maxwell Sicily is rotten through and through. Even his own father, Carmine, disowns him as a complete loser and family disgrace. By the end of the story, Carmine is so fed up with Maxwell he has planned to "put a hit on his own son and get him out of his life forever. The boy was no good, never had been."
Some of the minor characters, relatively good or relatively bad, contribute to the mix. Luiz Oliveira is a likeable scoundrel loved by Rafealla and apparently worthy of her love until she finds out he's little more than a gigolo. But, aside from stealing her heart, he's no worse than any normal human being. Speed, the would-be getaway limo driver, is such a bad-luck character he's hilarious. He has so many mishaps trying to assist Maxwell Sicily in his heist that he comes off as a pathetic buffoon.
By the end of the book, in the Epilogue, all loose ends are tied up neatly and succinctly. What happens to all the characters is accounted for: the "good" characters get together in appropriate couples, the "bad" characters get punished. The merely despicable ones live to undo someone else another day.