The Manhattan blues scene—in more ways than one.
The CD Rick Schneider promised Maxx Maxwell that his company Prowling Rooster Records would make to launch her little blues band into the festival orbit hasn’t materialized. When Maxx goes looking for Rick to find out what happened to the CD and the $1,000 she paid him to produce it, he’s nowhere to be found, and his co-partners, Ben and Steve, claim they know nothing about it. Rick, as savvy readers will suspect, is, alas, a corpse, found by Maxx, who, in between waiting tables and gigs with her group, Maxximum Blues, is determined to find that CD master. If that means she has to unravel the mystery of Rick’s death, so be it. The cops think the mob hit him for pirating CDs. Maxx suspects everyone else, from Ben and Steve to Rick’s sweetie, Brenda Honeycut, and even his daughter. Her snooping leads back 20 years to Rick’s days with his own musical group, which broke up after some disagreements over who wrote which songs and who was sleeping with whose girl. Eventually Maxx, all kooky wardrobe and ear-grating slang, solves a mystery that baffles the cops and moves on to her next gig.
Much more contrived and straining to be hip than Maxx’s debut (Sweet Man is Gone, 2008). Probably just as well if that CD stays missing.