Jason Warburg: “Musical Fiction” and the Search for Family

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'Never Break the Chain' offers a sequel to music writer’s debut novel 'Believe in Me'

U.S. publisher Wonder Wheel Publications introduces 'Never Break the Chain,' the compelling new sequel to music writer Jason Warburg’s memorable 2011 fiction debut 'Believe in Me.' Set among the Malibu mansions and Hollywood rock clubs of California’s southland, 'Never Break the Chain' finds protagonist Tim Green’s grief over the loss of his father spinning into an obsessive quest to track down the wayward mother who deserted him almost three decades before. It’s a journey that once again sends Green venturing deep into the heart of the rock and roll jungle.

Opening a few months after the end of 'Believe in Me,' 'Never Break the Chain' lands Green in the oceanfront Malibu compound of British guitarist Blake Saunders, who’s just hired him to pen an authorized biography of his floundering, formerly-huge arena rock band. Even as the highly combustible Saunders’ son Mal—recently installed as the band’s new lead singer—and daughter Jane offer back distorted reflections of himself, Green’s efforts to retrace his mother’s steps through LA’s rock and roll underworld propel him toward a cathartic confrontation. The revelations to come challenge every answer he once thought he possessed to the most fundamental question of all: who is Tim Green? Equal parts family drama, literate thriller, and peek behind the curtain of an aging rock band, 'Never Break the Chain' is ultimately a story about families—the ones we’re born into, and the ones we create.

Inspired by the novels of Nick Hornby, Robert B. Parker, and Robert Crais, and the crackling dialog of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Warburg’s lean, propulsive narratives are littered with musical references, winks and nods that spring organically from 20-plus years as a music writer for album review site The Daily Vault, where he’s served as editor since 2003. From Otis Redding and the Black Keys to Bob Seger, Death Cab for Cutie and the immortal Fleetwood Mac, these lyrics and riffs and musical moments become supporting characters populating the landscape that Warburg’s characters inhabit, a landscape he and others have described as “musical fiction.”

“I never set out to write a sequel,” says Warburg. “'Believe in Me' was designed from the start to function as a standalone story. But as soon as it was finished, I started missing the characters and wondering what they might be up to. Pondering paths that another Tim Green story might take, my mind went right to the biggest thread left dangling in 'Believe in Me': what happened to Tim’s mother, who deserted him as a baby, never to be heard from again? It seemed obvious that peeling the lid off that particular psychological can of worms would offer some incredibly rich and compelling story material.”

'Never Break the Chain' has won advance praise from fellow artists in the music realm:

“Rock writer Jason Warburg ties up some loose ends with his latest Tim Green novel, 'Never Break the Chain.' His charming protagonist is still threading the road to self-knowledge by poetically and amusingly examining the lives of others in this tale of excess and success. Best of all, a turn in the story resolves the mystery of who Tim Green really is. It’s the magic of music that takes us there, along with Warburg’s very entertaining style.”
-- Viola Weinberg, Poet Laureate emerita of Sacramento & former KZAP FM News Director

“A beautiful book… 'Never Break the Chain' is a novel about family life and the ties that bind people together. It is not easy to write about music and the life of musicians in a convincing way, but Jason Warburg never misses a beat. Warburg understands how music can play a major part in the staging posts of people’s lives.”
-- Greg Spawton, co-founder & songwriter, Big Big Train

'Never Break the Chain' is available via Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle editions.

Jason Warburg

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