Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hank and Muddy - Stephen Mertz

I've read a lot of books by Steve Mertz over years and enjoyed every one of them, but he elevates his game even more with HANK AND MUDDY, his new novel from Perfect Crime Books. To start with, the story has a great concept: Hank Williams and Muddy Waters are thrown together by dangerous circumstances in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1952 and wind up having to go on the run to stay alive. Mertz throws a lot into the plot, which includes murder, a missing notebook containing all the songs Hank Williams is writing, feuding gangsters, G-Men, commie spies, a bank robber's beautiful daughter, and, oh yeah, gators. How could you possibly not want to read that book?

Mertz takes it a step further, though, by telling his story in alternating first-person chapters from Hank and Muddy. Switching first-person POV is a tricky thing to do, but Mertz pulls it off in splendid fashion, giving each of his narrators a distinctive, pitch-perfect voice. Not only that, he captures the early Fifties setting very well, from the motor courts to the nightclubs to the rural filling stations.

I'd heard a lot of good things about this book, and HANK AND MUDDY doesn't disappoint. It's Steve Mertz's best novel so far, easily one of the best books I've read this year, and gets the highest recommendation I can give it. This is brilliant stuff. Go read it.

1 comment:

Troy D. Smith said...

Perfect Crime Books is fast becoming a major outlet for great mystery storytelling. I've been looking forward to this one.