THE ACCOMPANYING literature informs me that Jambeaux "may well be the novel of rock and roll." I will cheerfully concede the point. Gonzales wins hands down, though by default; there probably isn't more than one decent novel to be gotten out of the rock scene, and I have a shrewd suspicion that almost everybody else who huddles around the edge of that frightful din can't parse Jack and Jill, diagram a sentence or conjugate a verb. Like Dr. Johnson's lady preacher, Gonzales is therefore a wonder. He has an excellent ear for dialogue, considerable powers of description, and a brisk way with a story -- which in this case revolves around a rock group named Jambeaux, led by a guy named Page. Gonzales' attempt to equate the whole phenomenon with modern warfare is an interesting one, but he cannot sustain it, and the rest of the novel is devoted to unpleasant people doing nasty things with guns and chemicals amid a log of tediously enumerated but costly hardware. Gonzales does this about as well as it can possibly be done, but by concentrating on the music -- which by definition we can't hear -- while ignoring motivation, he has produced a sort of album, rather than a novel.