TOUGH BABY by Jesse Sublett


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A return for Texas bass-playing Martin Fender (Rock Critic Murders, 1989), who finishes his gig, has a drink with Retha Thomas, and wakes up the next morning to find that she's been beaten unconscious--with his candy-apple, red Precision bass. Fender, who can't remember the end of the evening, thinks he might have been doped and sets out to clear himself. Meanwhile, Retha's chum Barbra crooks a seductive finger at him, but what are her ties, if any, to small-time record producer, sadistic slob Vic Travis (now being blackmailed) and big-time Texas payola king Bingo Torres? Moreover, why was Rhea pretending to be a government agent investigating them? The tangled shenanigans include an unwitting borrowing of money from the blackmailer to pay the blackmailer, boyfriend stealing, problems with Fender's band members, plus attempted rape, assorted beatings, and the surfacing of another blackmail victim. Then Retha wakes up--and the dour, multi-corpse story takes a final twist. Appealingly quirky hero in a down-and-dirty plot--and a nifty glimpse at one. night stands (music and otherwise) in the music subculture.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Viking