Thursday, August 30, 2012
River Bottom Blues by Ricky Bush
Chicago in 1964 was part of the blues circuit, but the unsolved murders of blues harmonica musicians didn't arouse much attention. Their lives, with the traveling, the liquor, and the drugs, often led to violent death. But, when Mitty Andersen heard of the death of Bobby T in Houston in 2009, it was a different matter. Mitty had left the newspaper three years earlier. He had been an investigative reporter, but he covered the blues music scene for years, and he didn't accept that Bobby T had died of a heroin overdose. Mitty, like Bobby T, played blues harmonica. And, he knew Bobby T didn't shoot heroin.
It took Bobby Tarleton's widow and an ex-con to push Mitty into an investigation of his own. The Wizard, Michael Melton, was a guitarist who ended up in prison for killing a harmonica player, "a harp player", in Dallas. He claimed he didn't do it, and, after he was released, he showed up at Bobby T's funeral. When Mitty tracked him down, he heard a weird story about someone who had been killing harp players for years, someone who was killing "those who play the devil's music". And, determined to find Bobby T's killer, Mitty falls in with The Wizard's mad scheme to draw out the killer, with a traveling blues band and Mitty on harmonica.
Ricky Bush takes readers on a wild ride filled with music and legendary musicians in River Bottom Blues. If you just let go, you'll be swept up in the stories and the atmosphere. It's a story filled with violence, but it reflects the life of blues musicians. Former journalist Mitty Andersen is the perfect narrator for this glimpse into the blues circuit. River Bottom Blues is a crime novel, but, first, it's an atmospheric piece filled with a love of blues music.
(Note: I don't own any blues music, but DirecTV has a blues station on their music collection. Perfect background for reading River Bottom Blues.)
Ricky Bush's website is www.richardbushbooks.com
River Bottom Blues by Ricky Bush. Barking Rain Press. 2011. ISBN 9781935460282 (paperback), 176p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.