Go to Homepage   Bill Fitzhugh: Radio Activity

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsWilliam Morrow (Hardcover), ISBN 0-380-97759-1

Unemployed disk jockey Rick Shannon accepts a job at a small FM rock station in McRae, Mississippi, and moves into the apartment of one of its former employees, Jack Carter. Carter, it seems, simply failed to show up for work one morning and disappeared leaving behind all his possessions -- except his bright red Chevrolet Corvette.

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While sorting through Carter's massive record collection, Shannon discovers an audiotape of puzzling conversations implying some type of blackmail scheme. This tape, plus a visit to the apartment from an armed assailant mistaking him for Carter and demanding payment of a debt, convinces Shannon to take a look at the circumstances of Carter's disappearance. Since he knows no one in the area, he enlists the help of the station's receptionist, Traci Foster, in gathering background material for his investigation. Besides, he anticipates that he and Traci may find other more agreeable ways in which to cooperate.

Assuming the pseudonym of Buddy Miles to protect his on-the-air identity, Shannon and Traci ferret out information suggesting the involvement of the Dixie Mafia in a variety of schemes including blackmail, arson, kidnapping, prostitution, and murder. With the help of Mississippi's only black female sheriff, the interlocking schemes tumble, and Shannon begins to think seriously of a career change from disk jockey to private investigator. In the meantime, however, he moves on to yet another FM rock station in yet another town.

In the pot smoking, classic rock aficionado disk jockey Rick Shannon, author Bill Fitzhugh develops a unique amateur detective. A former disk jockey at several FM stations during the 1970's rock era, Fitzhugh brings an authentic feeling to the small radio station setting and provides the reader with a plethora of information and insight into the music of that time period. Folks who made many happy memories listening to that music will wax nostalgic as they turn the pages. On the other hand, readers who lack Fitzhugh's fascination with that musical era may find the repeated speculation about which music should be included in the "classic rock" category and the constant references to somewhat esoteric album cuts more intrusive than entertaining. I fall into the latter category. While I admire the author's wit and subtle sense of humor, the rather unexciting plot line only slightly held my interest.

Clint Hunter

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