Go to Homepage   Don Bruns: Jamaica Blue


Crescent Blues Book ViewsSt. Martin's Press (Hardcover), ISBN 0312304900
With decades of bylines in the nation's top music magazines, rock-and-roll writer Mick Sever makes or breaks bands in 800 words or less. So when he agrees to listen to Derrick and the Laments, a new reggae band, manager Bobby Vane couldn't be happier. With a brand new style -- "It's like dance hall, rock steady, and ska all wrapped up in one sound," Vane says -- Derrick and the Laments see stardom just over the sunny horizon. But when women are found dead after each concert, Mick's story about an up-and-coming band finds a new angle -- one that few care to see him write.

Book: Don Brns, Jaimaica blue
Bruns hooks readers from the beginning with drugs, nudity, cadence and a murder that makes you want to flip the page to find out whodunit. Despite the fact that I correctly guessed the identity of the killer midway through the novel, confirming my hunch proved fulfilling rather than disappointing. Make no mistake: Jamaica Blue offers far from predictable entertainment.

Bruns' well-developed characters possess depth. By the end of chapter two, I found myself wanting to know more about these seekers of fame and fortune. Would Bobby Vane sell his own mother for a crack at managing the next superstar act? Does lead singer Derrick really believe the radical lyrics he sings? What drives Mick's ex-wife, Ginny, to assist the cheating man she divorced three years ago? And Mick, down to his bum knee, reveals layers that despite his past indiscretions, make him a likeable guy who could easily develop a following in future mysteries.

No sappy chick book, Jamaica Blue appeals to the reader who finds no fault in descriptions of jiggly cheeks on the beach and needs no further explanation when Ginny departs two scenes to "freshen up."

Jamaica Blue digs into the Rastafarian religion (thanks to the research skills of Mick's smart ex-wife) and delivers a backstage pass for music fans interested in the inside scoop. With its glimpses of hotel rooms to the yachts of big-money backers, Jamaica Blue offers a little something to both the devoted watcher of VH1's Behind the Music and the closet groupie-wannabe -- a believable, behind-the-scenes view of the rock scene, equipped with the drama one expects from the stars.

Stacey Carter-Lane

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