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Highway 61 Resurfaced: A Novelby Bill Fitzhugh
Synopses & Reviews
FM rock deejay and private investigator Rick Shannon is back in a big way in the second novel of a series that began with the rollicking Radio Activity.
Highway 61 Resurfaced kicks off when a woman named Lollie Woolfolk sashays into the offices of Rockin' Vestigations and says she wants to find her long lost granddaddy, blues producer Tucker Woolfolk. Before it's over, Rick Shannon has crisscrossed the sweltering Mississippi Delta in search of the thread that connects a dead man in Yazoo City found with a fork stuck in his back to an old man known as Pigfoot Morgan who was just released from Mississippi State Penitentiary after serving fifty years for murder. Further complicating matters is the lovesick Crail Pitts, onetime Ole Miss football star who is driving around the Magnolia State with a noisy lawyer in his trunk, and Cuffie LeFleur, one of four generations of a cotton dynasty that may be on its last legs. In the end, everything points to one of the great mysteries in blues lore: whether Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, and Crazy Earl Tate ever recorded together. When Rick starts a rumor that he's found the tapes from the legendary Blind, Crippled, and Crazy sessions, a killer is sent to collect them and Rick starts singing the PI blues.
"Some fine characterization helps offset an overly complicated plot in Fitzhugh's second mystery to star veteran disc jockey and rookie PI Rick Shannon (after 2004's Radio Activity). Now working at a radio station in Vicksburg, Miss. (and more into old blues than rock), Rick also heads Rockin'Vestigations, to which an attractive young woman who calls herself Lollie Woolfolk applies for help in finding her missing grandfather, Tucker Woolfolk, an old-time record producer. When Rick discovers Tucker dead, he has a murder case on his hands. Then Lollie disappears, and another gal claiming to be Lollie Woolfolk turns up. The eccentric, mostly elderly cast includes the members of the blues group BCC (short for Blind, Crippled and Crazy); a pill-crazy killer; a crooked, prejudiced and big-bellied white sheriff; and an innocent black man released from jail after doing 50 years for murder and ready for revenge. Providing comic relief is a sickly alley cat Rick befriends. A search for the old tape of a legendary blues session by BCC generates some suspense, even if its fate remains unclear. Fans of Radio Activity may be disappointed that Rick's detective work leaves him so little time behind the mike. Agent, Jimmy Vines. Author tour. (Apr. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[F]or fans of Ace Atkins' Crossroad Blues (1998), also about the discovery of lost blues recordings, this one plays nicely." Booklist
"[W]here [Fitzhugh] really shows his artistry is in his richly comic, warmly affectionate character studies of battered old men with long experience in living — not just playing — the blues." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Fitzhugh's dialogue is as cool as a pitcher of iced tea, and his characters are just over the top, like a Carl Hiaasen cast plucked from the Everglades..." Time Magazine
"Bill Fitzhugh is a deeply disturbed individual who uses his warped talents to write very funny novels." Carl Hiaasen, bestselling author of Skinny Dip
"Mississippi native Bill Fitzhugh has written some of the funniest mysteries on the shelves." New Orleans Times-Picayune
"[A] pleasant trip crisscrossing the rural back roads of Mississippi, with some good music on the radio and a wheezing cat in the back seat. If this sounds at all like a trip you'd like to take, then by all means, go." BookReporter.com
"[E]ndearing enough and eager to please, but it tends to lumber around a bit, and is never what you would call subtle or overly averse to knocking cups off of coffee tables....This is a hard book to dislike, and it's probably best not even to try." BookReporter.com
Funny, suspenseful, and full of rock 'n roll, this is the second tale in the hilarious mystery series featuring aging DJ turned PI Rick Shannon.
About the Author
Bill Fitzhugh is the author of seven novels. He loves the sound of mandolins, slide guitars, and banjos. He's fond of barbecue, okra, and fried catfish. He's been to the Grand Ole Opry and likes all kinds of country music. His biggest regret is that he's never owned a proper pickup truck. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, three dogs, and a cat, all of whom like to sing along.
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