Keith Richards (with James Fox)

I’m no fan of celebrity bios in which a professional writer assembles the jumbled memories of someone who’s lived a life in the public eye, but couldn’t make a book out of it unless someone literate forged those recollections into something vaguely readable. But when Keith Richards wants a writer to help tell his tale, he’s able to get a good one. James Fox, who wrote the compelling novel White Mischief, not only knows how to tell a story, he’s remarkably successful at capturing Richards’ voice as he tells his. In interviews, Richards tends to be clipped, sardonic and arch, but no one could reasonably expect him to structure a long memoir and keep it coherent. Fox does that for him, and this is captivating reading, from the grubby early days to the present. Richards has taken a self-administered licking, but he keeps on ticking, and though he hasn’t done heroin in three decades, he’ll always be remembered for his marathon dance with death and dissolution. Beyond all that, though, is his fierce love of the music so many of us also loved since Mick and Keith first started plundering all those great bluesmen the Stones worshipped and adored. There’s sound here, and there’s fury, too. With Fox’s help, Richards’ Life is a gas, gas, gas.