by Reggie Nadelson
Walker & Company
In this easy-to-read and even exciting book, Reggie Nadelson explores the life story and mysterious death of Dean Reed. Reed’s singular tale is so compelling that Tom Hanks optioned it for a film. The arc of his life begins with relative obscurity in the ’60s American music scene and then launches from a South-American-popularity springboard into rock star status behind the Iron Curtain.
The Colorado-born Reed became the Soviets’ own American superstar but was perhaps more a pawn for Communism propaganda than a rare talent. The fall from this gilded cage was a slow decay, and when it ended with Reed found dead in an East Berlin lake in 1986, there were more questions than answers.
Was Reed “dying” to return to America? Was he on the edge of his biggest artistic success ever or staring failure in the face? Was he murdered or was it suicide?
Comrade Rockstar is an attempt to understand Reed’s life and a consideration of the various conspiracy theories surrounding his suspicious death during Perestroika. Wives, ex-girlfriends, Americans, and odd characters out of the cave of Communism blink rapidly in the bright glare of rock stardom that left behind a shadowy existence.
While Reggie Nadelson’s investigation may not provide the final answer, the globe-trotting chase to find the real Dean Reed is well worth the read.