Black Light by Martha J. Allard


It’s 1983, Los Angeles, and Trace Dellon, lead singer, knows exactly what he wants: the white heat of the spotlight. When his band Black Light is offered a record deal, Trace grabs for it, eager to move up from their club gigs. He will do anything it takes to make it.

Asia Heyes, bass player, knows what he wants, too. It’s not the fame or the adoration of fans and groupies. It’s Trace. It’s always been Trace. Though it’s been unspoken between them, Trace’s other lovers and his audience push Asia aside.

With the contract, Albrecht Christian comes into their lives. He is a man with everything but what he needs to live: the energy that runs just under Trace’s skin. Unfortunately, even Trace isn’t enough, and Albrecht finds himself starving.

Almost immediately, we get hints at Albrecht being a psychic vampire (a creature that feeds off the energy of other people), but the subtle hints make it harder to believe. It makes it feel less literal and more like a metaphor for how emotionally exhausting people can be, especially the Traces of the world. I spent large parts of the novel confused as to whether Herr Christian was being for real or just speaking symbolically.

The key to life is confidence. Just ask Trace Dellon. His band, Black Light, is finally gaining ground and Dellon is a rock god, all because he had the gall to believe it would. But this life is not what Asia wants for himself. He’s dragged along this entire novel because he wants Trace to be happy, and Trace knows it. Trace uses that because he’s always known he needs Asia, but he’s also always known that he will never reciprocate Asia’s feelings. I spent the entire novel angry at Trace because he seemed to have no regard for anyone other than himself. When Trace realizes the effect he has on Asia, he attempts to be noble and separate himself, but Trace will always haunt Asia.

Black Light is more Asia’s story than anyone else’s. It’s about how Asia is in love with Trace. It’s about how Asia feels watching Trace become involved with other men. It’s about how Asia will do anything to help Trace get what he wants, even if he doesn’t want to. It’s a story about toxic relationships and the emotional drain they cause. It’s about finding strength in knowing that it’s okay to love someone who can’t love you back. It’s okay to want to make them happy. But it’s not okay to let them rule your life forever.



  • 5/5 Stars
  • A story of Asia’s love, sacrifice, and strength
  • Trace is a god, and gods don’t need to care about people
  • Subtle hints at the paranormal