A “musical novel” about the blues and Elvis from short-fiction writer and poet Dunn pays dutiful homage to the birth of rock’n’roll through romance and a roadhouse murder mystery—but without a whole lot of intensity. The pink Caddy enters the scene carrying Elvis, who blows by a pretty young singer thumbing her way to an uncertain musical future. Meanwhile, a young white sax player with rocking riffs impresses black blues impresario Bearcat Jackson, who asks him to join his roadhouse band on the outskirts of Memphis. The singer, Daisy, and the saxman, Dell, join forces in Bearcat's band, sparking on stage and off and creating a sound that draws the King himself, but it's still the ’50s in the American South, and powers-that-be conspire to take everything Bearcat owns—including his life. That's the main story, but cobbled onto it is a record collector's search 40 years later for the one disc of Daisy and Dell that Bearcat recorded, “Pink Cadillac,” which almost no one believes ever existed.
The drama of the hunt doesn't match the passion and life-and-death issues of the original participants, but the pervasive passion for music does provide the novel with a steady heat.