cover image Go Now

Go Now

Richard Hell, Author Scribner Book Company $18 (176p) ISBN 978-0-684-82234-1

Drug-addicted punk-rocker Billy Mudd is commissioned in 1980-along with his French photographer girlfriend, Chrissa-to drive across country in a 1957 DeSoto looking for America. Things get off to an inauspicious start when Billy, in search of pot, seduces the receptionist at the first motel they stay at, but somehow he and Chrissa reconcile. When Billy's dope supply runs out in Reno, he drinks his way through withdrawal, but upon reaching Denver, he picks up a prearranged package of heroin and is stoned again. An afternoon of explosive sex with Chrissa in the New Mexico desert follows. The relationship fragments, however, and finally breaks down-about the same time as the DeSoto-in Billy's hometown of Lexington, Ky., when Chrissa catches Billy in bed with his aunt. A sexually charged, drug-fueled trip across the country is an unoriginal scenario, one that's mirrored in the too familiar characters here. But Hell, the founder of such proto-punk bands as the Heartbreakers and Television, writes with occasional zest and in an authentic voice. (June)