The Armageddon Rag
by George R. R. Martin
Frustrated former hippie novelist Sandy Blair becomes involved in the investigation of the brutal murder of rock promoter Jamie Lynch, whose heart had been torn from his body. Lynch, a despised rock promoter, had been found dead in a small town in Maine, the victim of a ritualistic murder. Lynch had managed several bands, including the legendary rock group the Nazgûl (named for the evil Ringwraiths in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings). He was found dead on the 10th anniversary of the Nazgûl's breakup, with his bloody body placed on top of the band's West Mesa, New Mexico concert poster; during that concert, Nazgûl lead singer Patrick Henry "Hobbit" Hobbins had been mysteriously murdered.
Lynch's high-profile death soon opens the door for a Nazgûl reunion tour, which slowly begins to eerily mirror the events of their original West Mesa tour. With Lynch out of the way, a disastrous act of arson forces the remaining three members of the Nazgûl to go on a reunion tour, promoted by a rich man named Edan Morse. The mysterious Morse may or may not had been a left-wing revolutionary in the 1970s, noted for his violent methods. Morse produces a young man who is a doppelganger for Hobbins, who Morse plans to make the lead singer of the reunited Nazgûl, despite the fact that the doppelganger's musical talents are subpar and he lacks any charisma. Interviewing the surviving members of the band while tracking down his old friends from the 1960s, Blair meditates on the meaning of the flower power generation as he crisscrosses the country. He eventually becomes the Nazgûl's press agent and is soon swept up in the frenzy of their successful reunion tour and an oncoming supernatural convergence, whose nature he must uncover in order to solve the murders of Lynch and Hobbins. Blair comes to suspect that Morse wants to bring the Nazgûl together to perform an occult ritual that will unleash a dark supernatural power upon the world, an act of revenge against a world that has spurned the idealism of the late 1960s counterculture.