Books by Bill Moody

FADE TO BLUE by Bill Moody
Released: April 1, 2011

"A mystery marked by tight plotting, a brisk pace and a satisfying solution."
How dark is the dark side of the charismatic Hollywood actor? Read full book review >
SHADES OF BLUE by Bill Moody
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"Evan's sixth case (Looking for Chet Baker, 2002, etc.) offers an infectiously mellow first-person narrative, a nostalgic undertone and a nicely drawn combo of sidemen (and women)."
A jazz pianist turns sleuth once more after an amazing discovery at his dead mentor's crib. Read full book review >
Released: March 13, 2002

"Insider talk provides rich rewards for jazz buffs, though mystery fans might feel short-changed."
Jazz pianist/sleuth Evan Horne (Bird Lives!, 1999, etc.) is living these days in a minor key. After helping to snag a vicious serial killer, he's suffering, an FBI shrink tells him, from posttraumatic stress syndrome—plus the busted-up blues from the abrupt quietus to a long-term love affair. But the beat picks up in Amsterdam, where he's fled to get away from it all. Evan's playing a gig with that great expatriate tenor sax-man Fletcher Paige, making good music, drawing ego-salving crowds, and trying not to be too uncomfortable about his vanished friend, jazz historian Ace Buffington. Ace was last seen alive in Amsterdam's Prins Hendrik Hotel, made famous, or infamous, 13 years earlier when Chet Baker was last seen alive there too. It was from the window of Room C-20 that the legendary trumpeter jumped, fell, or was pushed—the consensus rather favoring jumped or fell since the 58-year-old virtuoso was also a noted substance abuser. On the other hand, pushed makes a better story, and Ace had been after Evan to join him in unraveling what might be a sensational mystery. Both tempted and hesitant, Evan had been waffling. But now that Ace's disappearance means two mysteries for the price of one, his resistance collapses. Con brio, the game's afoot. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 28, 1997

Is it live or Memorex—or a ringer? That's the question Prof. Ace Buffington, his newly promoted friend in Las Vegas, has for Evan Horne (Death of a Tenor Man, 1995, etc.). Seems Ken Perkins, a shadowy ``partner'' of Ace's, has discovered an unreleased recording of trumpeter Clifford Brown, already a legend at his death 40 years ago at age 25. For a fee, will Evan confirm that the horn player really is Brown? Sidelined from the piano by a hand injury, Evan can't think of any better way to pick up an easy few hundred dollars, even though he can't understand why he'd have to be driven out of town blindfolded to listen to the recording. It's all very hush-hush—until the two shots that kill Perkins while Evan's relaxing in the next room after duly giving his opinion that, yes, that's Clifford Brown. He'll spend the rest of this case hunting down the provenance of that tape and a battered trumpet Perkins claimed belonged to Brown as well; pondering how the tape could've been faked; and trying to nail Perkins's other partner, a blandly smiling collector who skedaddled within moments after those two shots went off. There's never much mystery about who killed Perkins, but the tale of the tape gives Evan an excuse for some great duets with aging jazzmen with long memories, and a supporting role in the strangest confession ever recorded. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 11, 1995

To oblige his buddy Ace (a.k.a. Prof. Charles Buffington), who needs one last research paper to support his promotion at the University of Nevada, jazz pianist/shamus Evan Horne agrees to look into the 1955 death of Wardell Gray, a tenor sax player whose stint at the Moulin Rouge, Vegas's first integrated nightclub, was ended by a death so ignominious and obscure—he was found in the desert with a crushed right hand, a nasty head wound, and a bloodstream full of narcotics—that it's not even listed as unsolved on the police blotter. But lots of other people, from Horne's pal Det. Danny Cooper, a detective back in Santa Monica, to mobster Anthony Gallio, don't think it's such a hot idea to stir up Wardell Gray's dust. Soon two new homicides and a series of increasingly pointed threats from Gallio, who's interested for some reason in the Moulin Rouge preservation movement, take the case off the back burner. Horne marks time by making time with Cooper's colleague Natalie Beamer, asking around for realtor Louise Cody's missing daughter, Rachel, and playing stints at the Fashion Show Mall, but he knows it's only a matter of waiting before he comes head to head with Gallio. Lots of modest surprises (and sweet blues) along the way, but don't count on a lightning flash to show what really happened to that tenor man. Moody (Solo Hand, 1994) seems as determined as the bad guys to put Wardell Gray behind him. Read full book review >
SOLO HAND by Bill Moody
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

A week before The Soul of Country, King of Soul Lonnie Cole's duet album with Mr. Country and Western Charlie Crisp, is scheduled to sweep the American Music Awards, Lonnie gets a photo in the mail—a shot of him in bed with Crisp (passed out drunk after a party, though that's not how it looks)—together with a note naming former jazz pianist Evan Horne as the bagman for a joint $1 million blackmail demand. Evan, whose wife Sharon left him for Lonnie just about the time an accident left him with a right hand useless for carrying the melody, reluctantly agrees to gather some information while the money's being collected, but the payoff is hijacked at the drop and the police announce that Evan's typewriter wrote the blackmail demand. It's a setup, of course—and it isn't long before Evan realizes the whole scheme is a cover for an elaborate plan to skim Lonnie's royalties from his last album. This first novel peoples its savory music-industry background with such forgettable characters that it actually gets less interesting as it goes along. Read full book review >