18 October, 2021

River Bottom Blues by Ricky Bush


River Bottom Blues
Ricky Bush
Barking Rain Press
ISBN-10: 1935460285

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J.P. Dillon. Top Cat. Jimmy Miller. These three guys have exactly three things in common: They were relatively well-known, successful blues musicians; they played the harmonica; they were murdered by serial killers who intelligently made their deaths seem natural, self-induced, or caused by someone else.

Unfortunately, the harmonica serial killers have stolen more than three lives.

Bobby T., one of Mitty and Pete’s close friends, joins the list of murdered blues musicians. Though officials have written Bobby’s death off as a heroin overdose, Mitty (and later Pete) are convinced that there’s no way Bobby died from that. Sure, he was once a junkie, but Mitty is convinced that Bobby’s constitution was much too strong to suddenly overdose years after quitting.

Even if Bobby’s wife hadn’t asked him to look into Bobby’s death, Mitty would have done it anyway. His skills and connections gained from being an investigative reporter and blues musician really helps.

His journey for answers is definitely not an easy one. Bodies are piling up left and right. The deeper Mitty digs, the crazier things become.

Mitty, Pete, and everyone willing to help are determined to find the murderers, but the murderers are always one step ahead. Can Mitty win or will he die trying?

River Bottom Blues is well-written and interesting enough to appeal to both blues fans and people who know little to nothing about blues. Author Ricky Bush does a great job capturing the blues culture and reflecting it in this novel. Bush’s skill as a blues musician and journalist himself really shines. Though I didn’t like all the name dropping (after awhile, I had a hard time keeping up with all the names and deciding who mattered most), it’s excusable since the names do a marvelous job illustrating how vast the Blues world is.

Apart from the occasional awkwardly phrased sentence, no errors really jumped out at me. Not only were the stakes high, but the characters were interesting and memorable. The climax, just like with any great murder mystery, was hectic and nerve wrecking. All in all, I found River Bottom Blues an enjoyable read.

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