When Snippets Become Spin-Offs: The Murder Rule, and More (Part Two)

In the previous post, here, I discussed the new novel-in-parts that for right now will be called The Murder Rule, with two parts already being worked on and one or two or three more parts being considered—there will be at least one more part to this novel. Here is a snippet from the previous post linked above featuring two of the main characters within this first part:

In order to introduce this novel-in-the-works, I will begin with a snippet that will introduce a major character within The Murder Rule. He is another rock star, singer Denny Spradlin of the band that helped mentor the prodigal band Sound Unltd, called Wolfin. (Note: it was originally called ‘Wolfen,’ but since that is the name of an 80s mystery movie set in the Bronx, I had to change the spelling.) Denny and his collaborator, guitarist Blake Fenmore, while loving their fame and fortune, eventually turn into nothing but party animals and eventually become lazy and stop producing hits, falling into has-been-dom, which leads to trouble and danger. Denny becomes a ‘useless eater’ of sorts to those controlling the music industry evil agenda; further, he is addicted to the opioid designer drug mentioned in the trilogy, called skuz.

The previous post linked above ends with a snippet from Chapter Nine of Battle of the Band that inspired this part of the new novel. This snippet ends with a televised report of Denny being found dead ‘from a drug overdose,’ which shocked the viewer of this report, the singer for the prodigal band, Erik, who considered the possibility that Denny might commit suicide even though Denny told him he wouldn’t even consider it.

This notion of a rock star committing ‘suicide’ has been commonplace since the 60s, if not a drug overdose: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington were prominently featured in my post from last June, here, about ‘if dead rock stars could talk.’ Some of these deaths, which have been proven of late to have likely been murders, caused some inspiration for my trilogy, considering that it seemed as if these murders happened because these rockers went against the evil narrative that has been growing within the music industry since the 60s. And because my fictional prodigal band Sound Unltd slowly but surely turned against the narrative, they too would be planned ‘victims.’ Only it didn’t quite work out as the fictional evil music industry overlords had hoped for the prodigal band. Unfortunately for Denny, the evil ‘plan’ did work; but before he died, Denny put a kink of sorts into the ‘plan.’

And that brings me to this snippet from The Murder Rule, which features the entire first chapter. The first part features Wolfin singer Denny Spradlin and an ‘advisor’ and ‘friend’ who just happens to represent the music industry evil narrative, who is ‘advising’ Denny (as well as fellow band member and ‘party animal’ Blake Fenmore, Wolfin’s guitarist) to, so to speak, ‘do what you’re told.’ Get back to the music business in order to make hits and hit videos; recruit for the agenda ‘mission’ according to what is called ‘The Pleasure Rule,’ and mentor these future rock stars according to the industry narrative—in reality, recruit for the evil, which in The Prodigal Band Trilogy is known as Corion, the ‘god’ of the evil and satanic cult called ‘The Church of the Circle of Unity.’ For there are ‘consequences’ for those who fail to fulfill these ‘missions.’

Afternoon, February 3, 1996

“So, ol’ man, you honestly believe my band, Wolfin, a dominant band from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, won’t be able to put together one last effort to get back into the limelight?”

Wolfin singer Denny Spradlin’s voice was as tense as it ever could be, in the midst of an argument with a friend and advisor, both sitting on couches in Denny’s large parlor at his Wistview estate south of London.

The advisor smirked as he faced the singer. “Look, Denny. Wolfin has been played out since 1994 at the latest. Your last two albums barely sold. You haven’t had a platinum since 1991. Your band took 1992 off, with you and Blake mostly partying, and then both of you were guests on various 1992 and 1993 tours, and all that partying in the meantime. So you wonder why you didn’t get any MusicCom video deal last year when you haven’t done a bloody thing since 1991? Your bassist Art and drummer Pete wanted to get back to work but you and Blake refused. I know you have satisfied The Pleasure Rule, but you have not done other tasks we required of you.”


“Have you recruited for us lately? No. Have your mentored for us lately? No. The Pleasure Rule isn’t just about partying and pleasure. It is also about growing our society and our message, Denny.”

Denny nearly stood up in frustration. “But I’ve stopped partying the way I used to and want to get back to work, and you know that!”

“Right. And you are supposedly cleaning yourself up.” Smile. “Too late, my friend. Too late.”

A couple of minutes later, the friend left, cleaning up his tracks, unable to find a large metal strong box that contained a letter meant for X-Zine, an alt-rock magazine for which I, Lloyd Denholm, freelanced.

Leaving Denny on the floor as death approached.

But not before Denny slithered on the floor to insert a hand-written note inside that same metal box under a nearby parlor cabinet. He knew Blake, Wolfin’s guitarist, had a spare key.

In the second part featuring narrator Lloyd Denholm—who also narrated the third trilogy novel The Prodigal Band—Lloyd receives a phone call from his pop culture magazine ‘boss’ called ‘CalEdit’ of the magazine called X-Zine regarding a letter sent to X-Zine by Denny’s friend and band mate Blake about how Denny died. ‘Cal’ emailed Lloyd a scanned copy of the letter and Lloyd read it. Then ‘Cal’ wanted to know if Lloyd will do an investigation into how Denny died that X-Zine would publish, and Lloyd accepts the invitation—Lloyd has known Denny since 1985 and did his first interview for a pop culture mag with Denny. This second snippet time frame is Spring, 2005, nearly ten years after Denny’s death; Lloyd lives in the fictitious city called Richmont in California, a prominent city within the trilogy. Here is the second and long snippet:

Richmont, California, Spring, 2005

“Lloyd here,” I said into the land-line phone receiver on top of my kitchen counter, being interrupted by a call from my X-Zine boss. I had been making my lunch of burger and crisps.

“We just got the information you were looking for about Denny Spradlin’s demise. And you were right.”

“You mean, it wasn’t a suicide after all?”

“Not if what Blake’s hand-written letter to me says is true. And it must be, since he originally stated it was a suicide but— Look, Lloyd, I’ll mail it to you.”

“E-mail it, eh? Like, scan the pages and e-mail them.”

After eating the lunch at my dining room table, I went into my office space and proceeded to open the e-mail with my laptop. The e-mail was from cal.edit@xzine.co.uk. ‘Cal.edit’ was not the editor’s name, and in fact I did not know the editor’s name. No one who worked or wrote for X-Zine knew his name! Why? Because X-Zine had not one but several editors within a collective known as ‘cal.edit’, men who had been musicians in the mid-1960s rock bands from Manchester, England, and the surrounding metropolitan area in eastern Lancashire. Had their names been known, they’d likely be dead by now, or so they thought.

X-Zine was truly the only truth-telling pop culture magazine on Earth. The editors had to keep their identities hidden.

For the forces of evil within the popular culture industry could not stand the truth about their ruthless occultist control of recording artists seeing the light of day. If they ever found out who ran X-Zine’s entire operation, they would do whatever they could to ‘put to death’ that operation!

Further, ‘Cal’s’ ‘operation’ was in its entirety over encrypted web servers and VPNs, virtual private networks. They used TOR browsers they helped create which were even more secretive than the ones that were supposedly impossible to hack. And, oh yeah, they changed passwords just about every hour using a code only they knew about, such that figuring out the new password was a cinch. For them anyway.

“Did you open the email?” Cal rang me up as I was reading the document sent.

“Bloody hell, Cal,” I blurted into the phone, “will you let me actually read the bloody thing?”

“Okay, okay, Lloyd. I’ll ring you about it later.” Hung up.

As I, Lloyd Denholm, former CounterCulture Magazine freelancer and now writing, as well as investigating, for X-Zine, read through the email-scanned document written by Blake Fenmore, I wondered.

What caused Blake to finally open up about the truth of the likely murder of his best friend from the seventies into the nineties, Denny Spradlin, who was also his Wolfin bandmate? Guilt?

Fenmore, since the so-called suicide of Wolfin’s front man-singer in early 1996 that supposedly happened at his Wistview estate near Torquay Manor in Surrey, had promulgated the notion that Spradlin’s death was either a self-inflicted drug overdose or simply a drug overdose. After all, everyone who knew anything about Spradlin’s party-party lifestyle knew he was addicted to skuz.

But so was Fenmore, and so were many rockers they’d hung out with. So then why would Spradlin die of a skuz overdose, intentional or not, if so many of his celebrity mates hadn’t up until then?

Depression, the pop culture and tabloid media blasted on their front pages as if the singer had let them know beforehand why he would do such a thing! But they had their excuse. Though rumors abounded that Wolfin was heading back to the recording studio for one last comeback effort, the media knew that success would elude Spradlin and his mates, guitarist Blake Fenmore, bassist Art Fenton, and drummer Pete Carson. Wolfin’s time had passed. Thus spoke the consensus.

And consensus appeared to rule the roost in pop culture media. To heck with the truth.

And why did I, Lloyd Denholm, never buy into the consensus narrative? One reason and one reason only—the morning of the day of his death, 3 February, 1996, I had interviewed him at his estate.

“Denny, I’ve heard rumors from sources close to you that you have been giving away some of your prized possessions. You gave Blake your luxury sedan hood ornament and you gave away a platinum album souvenir and some prized earring and other things.” To various friendly rival rockers of the day. “Blake told me this information, and while Blake didn’t come to any conclusion as to why you’re giving away such treasured possessions, I must ask you this question. Are you about to take your life?”

Spradlin broke into a cocked-head pose with a mouth of scorn. “Bloody hell, no! Why the bloody hell would I do that?” Threw his arms out. “We’ve started working on new tracks, new songs, and we’re going back to our original roots, hard and heavy. The music we used to do when we led the Outlaws rock genre. Art’s been on Blake and I for the last couple of years and I’m not gonna disappoint the bloke, okay?”

I sat across from him with his mahogany coffee table between us in his snooker parlor. “But then why would you—?”

“Look, Lloyd,” still with his arms out. “I gave away the razor blade earring and other icons I’m known to wear and all that other stuff because either I got better ones or because I’m kinda making meself over a bit. I knew I screwed up, eh?”

He lit a cigarette, threw the lighter onto the table. “I know Blake and I have party’d like bloody crazy,” he cussed, “and became lazy. When we didn’t get any video deal, MusicCom, eh?” Puff.  “When we didn’t get any deal like all the others did, Blake and I knew it was our own fault. Had we gone back and made albums a year or two ago like Art wanted, I’m sure we would’ve gotten at least a few mil out of it.”

“Makes sense. That’s likely why the media has been saying that Wolfin is not likely to head back into the big time. No video deal.”

“Likely right, eh Lloyd?”

MusicCom, the main new rival television network to MusicTV, was handing out millions to nearly all of Wolfin’s rival recording acts, while Wolfin got zip. Consensus? Wolfin was a has-been act, washed up. The tabloid TattleTales called Spradlin’s band the ‘sinking ship Wolfin.’ CounterCulture didn’t even question why the band of the late 80s and premier band in the Outlaws rock genre didn’t even get consideration for a video deal. It was as if Wolfin no longer mattered even the slightest.

Yet I felt Wolfin still mattered to Denny and his band mates, and thus the singer wouldn’t even consider suicide. Perhaps he gave up his iconic crystal nose spoon, which he used to snort skuz, because he was cleaning himself up, giving up an expensive designer drug that he helped to make the rage among his wealthy rock star cohorts.

So then why would he OD on it? He was giving it up, reducing his amounts each time as others rehabbing themselves had done.

As Blake was doing. Fenmore must have known his best friend was also beating the habit. So then why would he espouse the notion that Denny OD’d? Or took his own life?

As I would learn by reading his scanned and emailed document, it was clear that Blake Fenmore had been too afraid to reveal the truth for several years. By 2005, however, he couldn’t keep what he knew to be the truth to himself any longer.

Cal, or whatever your name is, the X-Zine editor,

This is Blake Fenmore, formerly of Wolfin, now living alone in the countryside in a rocky farmhouse, but I won’t say where, in England. I have let go of the guilt I felt about not saying what happened to my mate Denny Spradlin. Lloyd Denholm was right. Denny did not commit suicide by OD-ing on skuz. He also did not OD on skuz or any other cocaine- or opioid-laced drug. So how do I know this? I will state what I know later in the letter, but Lloyd was right. Denny gave up his crystal nose spoon because he was giving up addiction to skuz and the other drugs as Lloyd had surmised. I knew this all along, but I could not admit this in public until I knew for sure how Denny died.

Denny had a large metal box he stored important documents within. I had originally opened it straight-away after he died as he had given me a key in case anything happened to him.

He told me he believed someone was going to hurt him. Why? He had said weeks before he died that he owed money and was in debt over an estate he had bought back then as well as another car he had bought and that he had not paid his driver in over a month due to the debt.

But then I found documents within the box, receipts, proving he paid the debts and had also paid the driver right before he died. So since he no longer owed money, it was not the bank or outfit he owed money to that was out to hurt him.

Then I found in the box a note he left, scribbled quickly. He must have stuck the note in the box in desperation before he collapsed. Here is what the note said.

“A hooded man has forced poison up my nose, not skuz. Pray for my soul. Denny.”

In other words, Denny knew he was going to die and wanted to let me know how it was done.

More proof Denny would not commit suicide:  he had told a friend of his—I won’t say who this friend is—that he was giving this same friend his prized razor-blade earring because he had a better one. This is true. I found an almost exact match to the old earring in this metal box, but the new one was in a gift box within the metal box.

I do not know who did this act and killed Denny, but I think I know why.

Denny was giving up the life he had led and that I and so many others in our profession led. The party-party-do-what-you-want-no-consequences-lifestyle that was leaving him empty and without meaning. That was why he wanted back into the studio, for a life purpose again. But it seemed to him anyway that there were people of influence in the business that would not let him escape the emptiness he was trying to overcome. People that wanted to continue to control him and Wolfin as a whole, who wanted Denny to continue to be the front-man he had been, to keep fulfilling their agenda. Since Denny was trying to oppose their agenda, he felt these people were out to harm him. Denny was the one they had to ruin to punish Wolfin, since we had started to refuse to carry out their wicked agenda.

Denny had taken an oath, as had I, but not Art and Pete. That oath was to Andelusia, a secret society of wealthy entertainers such as Denny and I. Part of the oath we took was to live by what is called The Pleasure Rule. But there was only so much pleasure Denny could handle. The Pleasure Rule is a core concept of Andelusia which one had to give an oath to in order to make it big in present-day show biz. Andelusia though leaves one empty and without meaning and purpose, just pleasure-living high on drugs that one could easily OD on and die. It’s great for a while, but when one starts to grow up out of the party lifestyle, one realizes there is only so much pleasure one needs. One also needs meaning and purpose in life. It is my core belief someone in the Andelusia hierarchy punished Denny for giving up living by The Pleasure Rule, and killed Denny in the process. It would be my wish for X-Zine to aid me in the process of finding out who did it.

Signed, Blake Fenmore.

‘Cal’ rang me back shortly after I had read the letter.

“So, Lloyd, are you going to delve into this investigation? You’d be perfect. You even look like Sherlock Holmes! With long hair, that is.”

“Funny,” I snorted. “Yes. And X-Zine had better back me up on this!”

“Lloyd, this is X-Zine, not CounterCulture! They screwed you over,” Cal cussed, “by not publishing your article back in 2001. We’ll never pull that codswallop with you.”

Cal referred to my investigation over ‘burning’ issues plaguing one of the top bands in the entertainment world, a band Wolfin was very close to, a band Wolfin mentored in the latter 80s, a band that, for many years, defined The Pleasure Rule to the fullest and thus was showered with all the trappings of rock-god status—Sound Unltd, the ‘Super Six.’ As troubles piled up for each of them including alcoholism, drug addiction, heart attacks, family issues, and the realization that they had to clean up their lives and unwind as they called it, they, too, began to renege on their oaths. They, too, were punished, quite severely. But they survived tribulations, one after the other. CounterCulture, which had given me the assignment to investigate these events, would not publish my multi-part findings, so I quit that outfit.

“Besides, Cal, Denny and I were close for a long time. Denny was probably the one connection I had that I needed to get into the tabloid and then pop culture media business.”

“You grew up with him?”

“No, but I met him by accident while I was trying to connect with The Scene, my first gig. At Dog’s Wolf Den. I was coming out of the men’s room as he was entering and I nearly knocked him over! This was in 1985, the year before Wolfin made it big. I apologized, then he agreed to let me interview him.”

“Your first big interview?”

“It wasn’t big then, but it was Denny’s first interview that would eventually get into the media. Because that piece was what got me my gig at The Scene.”

So ends Chapter One of Part One of The Murder Rule. The next post will go into the beginning of Part Two which features Bobby Jones, who was a part time member of the prodigal band Sound Unltd’s ‘road crew’ in 1993, who also later composed a ‘Christian rock’ song meant for the prodigal band. Bobby is a minor but important character in both Battle of the Band and The Prodigal Band. A snippet post from the first chapter of Part Two (or whatever I decide to number the chapter) will appear in the post following the next post.

Use the menu above to purchase books, read trilogy snippet posts, download the Free PDF The Prodigal Band, and more. Cheers! And while The Murder Rule is not copyrighted at this time since it is not completed, the snippets in this post are copyrighted, as is everything posted on this site, and here is the copyright: this post © 2022 Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to post anything from this post or anything else on this site, elsewhere.

Author: deborahlagarde

Born on Long Island, NY, in 1952, now live in the mountains of far west Texas. Began writing fiction stories at about 8 years old with pen and loose leaf paper, and created the characters in my Prodigal Band Trilogy as a teenager. From the 70s to the 90s I created the scenario which I believe was inspired. While bringing up and home schooling my two children I continued to work on the novels and published "Battle of the Band" in 1996 and "The Prophesied Band" in 1998. Took off the next several years to complete home schooling and also working as an office manager for the local POA. In 2016, I retired, then resumed The Prodigal Band, a FREE PDF book that tells the whole story to its glorious end. Hint: I'm a true believer in Christ and I'm on a mission from God, writing to future believers, not preaching to the choir. God gave me a talent and, like the band in my books, I am using that talent for His glory, not mine (and, like me, the band is on its own journey, only fictional.) I also wrote for my college newspaper and headed up production, was a columnist in a local newspaper in the early 2000s, and wrote for and edited "Log of the Trail," the news letter for the Texas Mountain Trail Writers, and wrote for and edited it's yearly catalog of writings, "Chaos West of the Pecos." OmegaBooks is my self-publishing sole proprietorship company founded in 1995. Other jobs included teaching secondary math, health aide, office worker, assembly line work, and free-lance writing and bookkeeping,much of it while home schooling.

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