Book Review: Ritual of the Savage by Jay Strongman

Ritual of the Savage

by Jay Strongman

Ritual Of The Savage: A Romp Through Tiki-Noir Los Angeles Suddenly Turns Sinister

In the realm of gritty detective stories, Ritual of the Savage (Hungry Eye Books) reigns with the unsettling visage of a Polynesian Tiki figure. It’s the long, hot summer of 1958 and struggling private eye Johnny Davis embarks on a seemingly routine case which drags him out of his comfort zone of sharp suits, bottle blondes and Tiki bars into a nightmare world of mind-altering drugs, deception and murder. From LA to the island paradise of Hawaii, in an era when the old certainties are being challenged, the biggest betrayal of all is yet to come as Johnny begins to question his own loyalties.

Jay Strongman is a renowned international DJ and a respected commentator on popular and underground culture. Like many of his generation, Jay was heavily influenced by American TV shows, movies and music permeating British culture in the 1960s and 70s. That love of mid-20th century Americana led him to starting London’s first neo-rockabilly clothing store, “Rock-A-Cha,” in 1979 and fronting a rockabilly band called the El-Trains the same year. A few years later his pioneering mix of music led to him becoming one of the first DJs-as-popstars, gigging across the globe from Tokyo to Toronto, New York to Sweden, Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro and all over Europe.

Besides his thirty-plus year career as a DJ, Jay has also been a regular writer on music and fashion for such publications as the Face Magazine, the Sunday Times, i-D Magazine and Vogue. He has written extensively on popular culture, including Tiki Mugs – Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop  (Korero Books) and the highly acclaimed Steampunk – The Art Of Victorian Futurism (Korero Books).

Ritual Of The Savage is his first novel, inspired by rainy Sunday afternoons as a child watching Bogart and Bacall films on TV and reading Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury and Jonathan Latimer novels late into the night. Jay currently spends his time between his newly adopted homeland of Southern California and his first love, London Town. Jay is now working on his second novel, a partially autobiographical story about a DJ during the hedonistic 1980s, in addition to working on a pilot script for a science fiction TV series.

For more information, please visit:

Ritual of the Savage
Available online everywhere, and at the author’s website:
ISBN-13: 9780993186615


Amazon Review

5 Stars  Intoxicating Vintage Pulp reviewed by Will Viharo
“Tiki Noir” is apparently a thriving subcategory of crime fiction, and author/veteran DJ/renowned tiki culturist/lounge music legend Jay Strongman sets a new gold standard with his very first stab at the genre. Set in 1958, the settings include L.A., Palm Springs and Hawaii, the period and places deftly described with such conviction that “Ritual of the Savage” truly comes off like a long lost pop literary classic, buried Polynesian pulp treasure recently unearthed for contemporary consumption. Strongman is British, and he brings a foreigner’s appreciation of iconic midcentury Americana to the torrid text. The smoothly composed narration by his P.I. protagonist Johnny Davis rings true throughout the many twists and turns, never sounding corny or kitschy, but authentically hard-boiled and world weary (if charmingly vulnerable) in the traditional spirit of the genre. Characters both historically real and imagined weave in and out of the fast-paced plot, which stylishly steeped in richly romantic, classically cool atmosphere. Put on some Les Bater, mi a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, sit back in your favorite lounge chair, and immerse yourself in vicarious thrills from a bygone era.

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