Yes the alkie/junkie-who’s-really-a-good-guy genre has been around for a long, long time. The fact that anyone would try and tread that ground after Charles Bukowski is simply mindboggling, but somehow Danny Bland takes the challenge and does remarkably well. In Case We Die, the first novel from Bland (best known as a musician for The Dwarves, Cat Butt and Best Kisser in the World) is dark, emotional and surprisingly funny.
Sticking to a world he knows a lot about, the Seattle music scene, Bland gives almost memoir-like detail to the fictional account of Charlie Hyatt, a functioning druggie, dating a rising rock star, Carrie Finch, while working in a downtown porn shop during the day. The details in the book, everything from the needle hitting the vein to the freaks that troll the peepshow booth at the porn shop, bring the story to life, like a grunge-era Hemingway.
Where other junkie with a heart of gold storytellers fail, but Bland does impressively well, is making you actually care about the characters. The tragic, though sweet relationship between Hyatt and Finch is detailed slowly ending with a story that is both beautiful and realistic. The book is fantastic, but the audiobook even better, with longtime Bland friends lending their voices to the story, including Aimee Mann, Duff McKagan, Eddie Spaghetti , Steve Earle, Marc Maron, John Doe and many more.
In Case We Die By Danny Bland/Hardcover/240 pages/Fantagraphics Books/2013