Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Book Review: 27 by Gene Simmons

Boring. That’s not a word typically associated with Gene Simmons. Unfortunately, it’s the best one to describe his new book, 27: The Legend and Mythology of the 27 Club. I went into this book wanting to enjoy it, as I have with his other literary work. However, I just couldn’t get into this one and found it to be dry compared to the charismatic and compelling style found in his other books.

The biggest reason why 27 isn’t good is because, unlike all of his previous work, it’s not about the author. When people read books by Gene Simmons, they want to learn more about the man himself – not other musicians. This book focuses on musicians, several of whom KISS or Gene Simmons fans may not even like. Furthermore, in the absurdly long introduction Gene points out how scientifically there’s no data validating the 27 Club, totally deflating any interest the reader might have had going into this book. It’s a cataclysmic storytelling error from which 27 never recovers.

The fact that this book wasn’t a best-seller on any chart and that it currently only has six reviews on Amazon, makes it clear that the general public, as well as KISS and Gene Simmons devotees either didn’t like this book or have zero interest in it. Further compounding its limited reach, the publisher made the puzzling decision to only have a hardback version of the book. The smart decision would have been to have Gene narrate an audiobook version and to produce an e-book as well. Neither of these are available. If you don’t want a hardback copy, you’re out of luck. Why a publisher would do this in a digital age dominated by strong audiobook sales and a large segment of the reading population exclusively reading e-books, I have no idea. It is a massive oversight.

I can’t recommend 27 to anyone. The only positive I can say is it’s beautifully produced, with charming illustrations of the musicians Simmons writes about and the inside of the dust jacket is equally impressive. But books are about substance, not style. Unfortunately, 27 doesn’t deliver in that respect.

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