BONE MUSIC by Alan Rodgers


Email this review


 A passel of bluesmen, both living and dead, and a thrice-born voodoo child combat demons and bad religion in horror writer Rodgers's hardcover debut. The premise has promise: Knit the lives of some celebrated blues travelersRobert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbellyinto the legends of Hoodoo Voodoo, which is regular voodoo's bloodlust, hell-and-damnation side. Toss in the devil girl; add a baffled male character who spends most of his time running around with a resurrectedjump back!Elvis Presley, now a pretender to the priesthood of Hoodoo Doctors (i.e., bluesmen), who've fallen on tough times (he's a filth-encrusted hobo when we meet him); and then send the entire unholy cast down to New Orleans, where a cataclysm of apocalyptic proportions is underway. The Big Easy is crumbling while demons run amok through the streets because Robert Johnson, in his vast vanity, sang a song called ``Judgment Day'' that put a crack in the ``Eye of the World.'' With the natural order of good and evil upset, Johnson is raised from the dead as a demi-being and given the opportunity to right the ills of his arrogance (no bluesman is supposed to sing ``Judgment Day'' until the Rapture at the end of the world). After a while, it begins to look as if devil child Lisa's mother, Emma, is Robert Johnson's daughter, a suggestive affinity that the narrative's slide-around time structure (``Greenville, Mississippi: 1938''; ``Hell: Timeless'') leaves unclear. Before the final battle, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Furry Lewis, and Tampa Red figure out what's up and rush in to join the party, enabling Rodgers to squeeze into his yarn nearly every notable bluesman who ever picked up a guitar. The delivery, in a rumbling Delta baritone, is convincing; the rest is overwrought and mostly unscary.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-681-10086-9
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1995