KILLING THE BLUES by Paul Johnson

KILLING THE BLUES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A first novel in which a hippie of advanced years stumbles on the carcass of a woman butchered and hung from a tree, seeks the butcher, and, decades after the 60's, finds himself. Kermit ""Casey"" Jones--writer, vegetarian, wanderer, sensitive person, and major smoker of dope--has washed up in Ulster County, N.Y., where he is being kept by Agnes, a beautiful family therapist. They live in an uneasy arrangement with Agnes' two sons, her ex-husband, and his lover in a flashy but hard-to-heat house. It's what Agnes wants, but it's all too much for currently impotent Casey--even though he seems to be shaping into a sensitive and caring father to Agnes' boys. These messy, silly lives are rocked when Casey and one of his 60's pals, an efficient marijuana farmer from Arkansas, run across a flayed torso strung from a tree. The disgusting object seems to Casey to be the remains of a woman, but all the obvious signs of womanhood have been stripped away. The local constabulary try to pin the rap on one of Casey's less attractive neighbors. But Casey thinks not. As his relationship with Agnes deteriorates, he becomes more and more determined to find just which of the degenerate local stock might have sunk to such depravity and, with the help of his sensitive and caring neighbors, is soon hot on the trail of the sadistic murderer. The story can be swallowed, but the hero is indisgestible.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's