Ben Vendetta – Heartworm


Paperback book, 199 pages


Britpop, booze, cults, and a questionable Chinese restaurant bar? It’s 1995 and small-time music critic Drew has a desire for destruction. While championing an underdog Irish band, Whipping Boy, he embarks on a voyage of sex and drugs from Boston to Belfast while burying memories of his estranged wife – who is now in danger. His life was once saved by rock ‘n’ roll, but it may be too late for redemption in the last days of the music industry before the bubble bursts.

Whether dropped by your record label or dropped by a lover – these situations call for a drink.


Vendetta’s strengths as a writer don’t just include an encyclopedic knowledge of ’80s and ’90s UK indie/shoegaze/Britpop, but also an ability to cultivate sentences and paragraphs that make it almost impossible to put this book down.

Matthew Berlyant, The Big Takeover

Loaded with countless cultish references that will leave the Brit-pop uninitiated scratching their heads – that is, if you don’t embrace the foreign-ness of it all. At times, Vendetta’s voyage into British pop culture has the exotic flair of an Ian Fleming novel, minus the spies, intrigue and glamour, of course.

— John Petchovic, The Plain Dealer

Vendetta is obviously a serious indie fan and, in amidst all the Blur, Oasis and Verve references, the pages of this enjoyably witty and fast paced novel are littered with the names of relatively obscure bands that you’ve probably forgotten – Lush, Auteurs, Ultra Vivid Scene, cast, etc. Immediately after finishing Heartworm, this reviewer spent several hours revisiting the ’90s on YouTube.

Olaf Tyaransen, Hot Press

Heartworm will make you nostalgic for the mid-1990s Brit-rock scene – even if you never lived through the era. But this is no moody walk down memory lane. The second book in Vendetta’s trilogy about rock journalist Drew is a moving and often very funny look at growing older, sometimes not so gracefully, as the post-college years turn into adulthood. And, it comes with a great soundtrack, from the Jesus and Mary Chain to Oasis to Whipping Boy.

Laura DeMarco, Cleveland Plain Dealer