FENDER BENDERS by Bill Fitzhugh


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Good songs, a great smile, and a fabulous p.r. campaign put a hard-working country singer on the top of the Nashville charts, easing the pain of his late wife’s departure.

Fitzhugh (Cross Dressing, 2001, etc.) applies his school-of-Carl-Hiaasen technique to the capital of country music, dragging in enough characters to fill the stage at the Ryman Auditorium. Handsome young Eddie Long has been working the dives and frat parties at the bottom levels of the country-music food chain long enough to cultivate a real good stage presence and some not bad songs, and he’s itching to move up in the world. His purty young wife Tammy, daughter of the local Dollar Store owner, itched for something else while Eddie was singing out of town, but she’s dead now, the latest victim in a string of adulterated headache-powder deaths. Eddie turns his widower’s grief into a whale of a song that gets him an audience with Big Bill Herron and Franklin Peavy, a couple of downwardly mobile music producers who set their mutual loathing aside for what looks to be a boy with a future. They’ve met their match, though. Eddie’s not only talented, but he can read a contract. And he has his own ideas about how to turn that real sad song into a chart buster using the power of the Internet. Watching and chronicling Eddie’s moves is his Boswell, freelance music reviewer Jimmy Rogers, who will lose his Country deejay girlfriend Megan to Eddie as Eddie’s self-designed, Internet-based publicity campaign takes him to the top of the charts. Heartbroken and pretty damned bitter about being dumped, Jimmy starts turning Eddie’s biography into a police procedural, checking into that awfully convenient removal of Tammy from the career path. Singing backup in this Music City Saga are Otis and Estella, shrimp restaurateurs with big grudges against Big Bill, talented but totally un-savvy singer Whitney Rankin and his long-lost daddy, and a few law enforcement types.

Fitfully funny send-up of sitting ducks.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-380-97757-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2001


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