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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Coming of Age
  • Language:English
  • Pages:377
  • eBook ISBN:9780988270305

Elevator to Hell

The Rise and Fall of a Rock and Roll Bastard in the Digital Age

by Matthew Benjamin

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Perhaps crime doesn’t pay. But doing nothing doesn’t either. Still, does any degree of abuse or mistreatment warrant fratricide—killing one’s own brother? Or, more precisely, half-brother? And when does old fashioned greed take over and disguise itself as simple ambition or self-preservation? Find out. Discover how Nic Reilly, the rock and roll bastard from Detroit, fights his way to the top of the record business and then loses everything, including himself—with most of it taking place during the implosion years of the file-sharing revolution as the music industry melts to the ground.
Perhaps crime doesn’t pay. But doing nothing doesn’t either. Still, does any degree of abuse or mistreatment warrant fratricide—killing your own brother? Or, more precisely, half-brother? And when does old fashioned greed take over and disguise itself as simple ambition or self-preservation? Nic Reilly, a thirty-year old Detroit native and top record executive, is laying low in the Mexican Sierras. It’s April, 2005—another brutal year for the music business with the onslaught of the file sharing revolution. With time to burn, Nic recounts how, at seventeen years old, he was informed by his dying working class father that he was adopted as an infant and his biological father is none other than Ben Tyler, a rock legend of the Rod Stewart variety. This comes as quite a shock to young Nic for a variety of reasons but two in particular stand out: One, he acknowledges that he has world famous Ben Tyler’s blood running through his veins, and, two, he always believed that he was an only child and now, suddenly, he has five half-siblings living in Southern California—the descendants of Ben’s two legitimate marriages. Nic’s first reaction is to reach out to his long lost siblings and to his estranged bio-Dad only to be fiercely rebuked by the siblings and apparently ignored —again— by Ben Tyler, as Ben has ignored Nic for Nic’s entire life. Yet despite the rejections, Nic, the oldest sibling, and ostensibly the most level headed, ignores the insults and makes one last ditch effort to befriend his relatives by taking a train out to California following his high school graduation to meet with them in person. But here again, Nic is shunned and embarrassed and, thus, ultimately forced to accept the reality that there is no love for him in golden California, blood or no blood. There is one silver lining, however. After Nic returns to Detroit, he receives an unexpected letter from Ben Tyler (who is overseas) explaining the reasons for his absence and instructs Nic to continue living his own life free from the dysfunctional Tyler family presence because he is much better off that way. However, should Nic ever really need anything in the future, he, Ben, will be there for him this time. So Nic takes his bio-Dad’s advice and leaves behind his bio-family, or so he thinks, and attends the University of Michigan where he excels as a student of history and music appreciation. Upon graduating with honors, he decides to take over one of the most arcane and revered record stores in the country, Eclectic Emporium in Detroit, instead of going to law school. The owner and creator, Sledge Parker, is about to be sent off to federal prison for counterfeiting charges, but recognizes NIc’s talents when Nic worked for him and insists that NIc take over his highly regarded enterprise. Nic, on the counseling of his brilliant college roommate and best friend, Jonathan Castlebum, chooses the record business over law school and begins his musical career. One of NIc’s first moves as owner of Eclectic Emporium is to hire tall, dark, and exotic Karolina Turgestive as his store manager. Karo is an Eruoasian refugee and a product of an African diplomat and a Russian beauty queen. After Karolina emigrated from Russia, she joined the fashion industry and then left that to make her mark in the music world. In the years that follow, Nic and Karolina team up and take Sledge’s landmark record institute to a new level before the untimely onslaught of the digital downloading madness that literally torpedoes the entire music industry. Specifically for Nic, though, and in addition to the overall looming threat of dwindling sales of CDs and vinyl, the uncertainty from digital piracy propels one of the premier capital intensive record chains in the world, Prostitute Records, to compensate for their potential lost revenue by eliminating their traditional brick and mortar retail competition and they build a grandiose copycat version of Eclectic Emporium a few miles away from NIc’s store, naming in Prostitute Eclectic. They do this not only in Detroit, but to key retailers throughout the world, using their deep pockets, celebrity status, and ruthless tactics to steal away their competitors clientele. There is, however, one unusual distinction that sets Nic apart from the rest of their victims and plays directly into Nic’s strategy to fight back. And that is that Prostitute Records is run and partially owned by a man named Hank Tyler, who happens to be the brother of a rock star named Ben Tyler, who happens to be Nic’s estranged bio-Dad. This connection unexpectedly brings Nic back into the mysterious and nefarious Tyler world. But this time around, at thirty years old, Nic’s livelihood is at stake and he will not walk away quietly, as he had done as a teenager. He also remembers what Ben Tyler wrote to him in his letter of years gone by that he would be there for Nic should he really need him. For NIc, that time has finally come. He immediately summons his bio-Dad to straighten out this mess and prevent his brother from destroying his Detroit landmark. Unfortunately, shortly after the Prostitute assault begins, Ben Tyler tragically dies overseas from one of his addictions, once again abandoning Nic, and leaving his half billion dollar estate up for grabs, which includes a majority stake in Prostitute Records. Nic—who never once met his bio-Dad—must again go it alone and fight evil bio-Uncle Hank and intermingle and negotiate with his narcissistic and unruly half-silbings. And somewhere down the line, in an attempt to first survive, and then, later, to take over the “family business,” Nic crosses the lines of legal and moral propriety and engages in murderous and incestuous behavior which changes him and others forever.
About the author
Matthew Benjamin has been a screenwriter, teacher, college professor, and involved in the world of finance. Although no longer actively engaged as a screenwriter, he currently has one script in development with actor Morgan Freeman executive producing the project, entitled Wrong Ticket, a period piece involving brilliant but desperate people trying to get ahead at the dawn of the Internet age. He lives in Shanghai and Long Beach, CA, with his wife, Wei.