Under the Cornerstone


Set in present-day Brooklyn, "Under the Cornerstone" is the story of Noely, Johnny and his band mates in Bloodfeather, an up and coming rock band, and the intense emotions of these twenty-somethings as they find their place in the world.  Johnny, lead singer and heartthrob bad boy is in love with Noely, who’s been a driving force behind the band since the beginning.  She loves him back, but won’t show it.  They’re stuck in the "friend zone".  The story begins just before the boys head out on tour. Noely is assaulted by her boyfriend, which sets a string of events in motion that has Johnny and Noely first sleeping together then flying angrily apart, a pattern they repeat several times.  Each time misperceptions, miscommunications and sheer bad timing prevent them from getting it right.

Ms. Marshall writes in the first person, present tense, giving the story an intense immediacy that lets the reader ride shotgun on the emotions of her characters.  Unvarnished language, tattoos, alcohol and graphic sex abound.  The story is told in a she-said/he-said style, starting with Noely narrating and halfway through switching to Johnny.  One gets to know these two characters very well, feeling their loves and frustrations as events unfold.  Occasionally, the intense focus on the main characters comes at the expense of secondary characters, who feel a bit flat.  Johnny’s two band mates, Rich and Ryan, seem mostly interchangeable.  The plot drags a little when Johnny re-narrates the events that we’ve just gotten from Noely, and the reader is left wanting Marshall to hurry back to the point where Noely left off.

Marc Joseph