Killer Groove #1

“Was a dark scene, man. Then the Beatles broke up and it just felt like the whole thing ended.”

Killer Groove combines music, murder, and mystery into three tales set in 1970s Los Angeles. For the protagonist, Jonny, life hasn’t turned out exactly as he’d hoped. Journeying west to seek a career as a singer-songwriter, his music never really took off. He juggles work between performing to unenthused audiences at a bar and being a bartender. Seeking Los Angeles for “peace and love,” he instead found a darkening music scene: concert violence, band breakups, and the Manson murders. Though he tries to perform and record, his heart isn’t in it; something is missing.

Killer Groove comes from the creative team of writer Ollie Masters (The Kitchen, The Raid, Snow Blind) and artist Eoin Marron (Army of Darkness, James Bond, Centipede). I really enjoyed the art style and the muted color palette, which complement an engaging story of music and violence in 1970s Los Angeles.

Jonny’s world is turned upside down when he steps in between two men fighting in an alleyway at night, leading to a man dead at his hands. His life isn’t the only one affected by violence. In the opening pages, a man, lounging in his apartment, is met by knife-wielding assailants wearing masks. He manages to escape, fleeing with only a suitcase. Jackie Fuentes is an associate of Jonny’s working as a private investigator. A strong-willed, no-nonsense girl shows up at her office, seeking a professional’s help to find her missing father, a Vietnam veteran who was last seen with a hippy group called the Masters of Peace.

When Jonny breaks up the fight in the alley, he learns that the man he protected is an assassin hired to kill the other man. After the two chat in a coffee shop on the dark undercurrent of the music scene, the assassin offers Jonny a gig as a hitman, commending him on his nerves under duress. As a struggling musician singing about peace and love, can he even consider the offer? Something is clearly happening in the aftermath of the sunny 60s, as music and murder collide and assassins lurk, cause unknown. Fans of stylish crime stories, especially Quentin Tarantino’s films, should definitely check out Killer Groove.

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