The Virgin Of Small Plains

Author: Nancy Pickard

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Price $31.95, HC

In Small Plains, Kansas, in 1987, an 18-year-old boy finds the naked body of a dead teenage girl in his father’s field. Even though miraculous things happen to those who tend the grave of “the virgin,” questions about her death are never answered — that is, until 17 years later when Mitch Newquist, a boy who disappeared the day after the discovery, returns to town. This is a suspenseful tale that keeps you guessing until the final chapter.

Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?

Author: Gavin Edwards

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Price $18.95, TP

Too much information, you say? Not if you put the aforementioned in the context of the book’s subtitle: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, And Rumors Revealed. The answer to this and other music trivialities including what Bryan Adams’ Summer Of 69 means, what the man says at the end of Radiohead’s video for Just or that keeping-me-up-atnights query about whether Saved By The Bell’s Dustin “Screech” Diamond and Beastie Boys’ Mike “Mike D” Diamond are related.

Hotel California

Author: Barney Hoskyns

Publisher: Wiley

Price $33.99, HC

From the mid- 1960s to the mid- 1970s, California lured the likes of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons and the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey. But the free-andeasy Summer of Love spirit morphed into the sex-drugs-rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of the rich, famous and selfindulgent — culminating with the Eagles’ statement on it all, their Hotel California album. Some appealing insight into the workings of musicians and the music biz from that bygone era.

Rat Salad: Black Sabbath The Classic Years

Author: Paul Wilkinson

Publisher: Pimlico

Price $32, HC

Wilkinson’s first authored work is a detailed-enough account of the British heavy metal act’s first six albums. It’s essentially written from the perspective of one Black Sabbath devotee, with input from other longtime fans as well. There are good historical anecdotes from beyond the bubble in which Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward worked. But inserting the author’s own day-to-day activities are minute details no hardcore Sabbath fan really wants to know.