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Descending Memphis Paperback – May 28, 2015
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About the Author
During those few exciting years, Robert played on the bill with numerous bands including the Bad Brains, Minor Threat, S.O.A., Black Flag and Channel 3. Venues where he performed include CBGBs, the Peppermint Lounge, A7, the Wilson Center, Oscar’s Eye, the Mabuhay Gardens and many more across the United States.
Now, more than 30 years later and with the benefit of hindsight, Robert draws on his experiences—along with the accounts of others and his imagination—and places them into a work of fiction set years before he was born. In what is his first novel, Robert tells a detective/coming-of-age-story that goes beyond music and crime and speaks to issues of race, as well as to universal ideas of becoming an adult in a world that centers on youth.
Robert has worked in the film, television and advertising industries and currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.
Read an interview with the author in Shea Magazine.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story takes place in the racially segregated Memphis of the 1950’s at the genesis of Rock N’ Roll. There is rich and precise attention to details of locality, cars, music, food, and colloquial language. Reading the story makes one feel that they are transported back to that time and place. The plot and writing flows at just the right pace with not a word or sentence superfluous. Much is learned about the protagonist, Tommy Rhodeen, a small time private detective who seems to be barely making it when he is recruited by a high profile client to work on new case more difficult than any he has dealt with before. Themes of love, loss, music, good, evil and marginality infuse the novel. Ghosts and personal demons haunt Tommy Rhodeen as they weave their way mysteriously in and out of the storyline. An intriguing aspect of the protagonist is his marginality. You can’t exactly call him a hero but he isn’t a criminal either. The nature of his work requires that he operate in both the reputable and seedier sides of 1950’s Memphis. Similarly, he must engage all the racial circles of that time not always with desirable outcomes.Read more ›
This fast-paced detective tale has great twists in story along the way. Loved the music-slant and the section where Rhodeen is in the recording studio is a masterpiece. Excellent coverage and I wanted to read more.
The character development is perfect. You know just enough about the characters without being overwhelmed but just kind of wish you knew a slight bit more. I liked it that way. It let me follow the story and draw my own possible reasoning for certain behaviors.
Each chapter did not drone on and on. There was so much detail about the way things smelled, looked, felt, and sounded yet not over-stylized and over-stated. You just kind of feel like you are there.
Just when you think you have it figured out...you don't!!!!!!!! That's the best part. It almost made me mad that I didn't see IT earlier. If you like great novels with twists you will love this!
The thing I really identified with the most was how the main character probably never had a day go like he thought it would when he woke up in the morning. Say what you want, but it makes for an interesting and never boring life to say the least. This is what really made this book fun.
I am a music freak. I cut my teeth on DC Punk and bands in the 80s like the The Smiths and The Cure and G.I. and Scream and No Authority and Bad Brains and yes, even Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and Bob Marley and Excene Cervenka. With THAT said..I loved the old great blues and rock and roll in this book. It made me search out that music and listen to it and I have a new found respect for it. Now I see why Johnny Marr plays the way he always has.
Everything is visual to me. This book HAS to be turned into a series on HBO or a major motion picture. Right up there with True Detective or even a movie as great as Mulholland Drive.Read more ›
Rhodeen is an interesting and well developed character. Many of his friends and acquaintances are petty criminals, and his inroad to private investigation - retrieving stolen property - is not entirely above the law. Nonetheless, he generally tries to do the right thing and effect a positive outcome. Part of what makes Rhodeen such an compelling character is the fact that he hasn’t fully figured out what he wants to do with his life. He’s more or less stumbled into private investigating, but his passion is to be a rock and roll musician. Meanwhile, his Aunt Norma would prefer that he take a conventional steady job as a mechanic. Unlike the standard protagonists of hard boiled detective fiction or film noir, Rhodeen does not come off as cynical or jaded despite his conflicted nature.
There are many twists along the way, and most of the actions that Rhodeen takes trying to solve the case have unintended results. This kept me engaged and guessing. Nonetheless, the ending surprised me and left me thinking “why didn’t I see that coming?”
Bonus: If you take the time to listen to the artists that are that are mentioned in the course of the narrative, you are both in for a treat as well as a more immersive experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Purchased from another vendor, this was an enjoyable diversion, hard-boiled fiction employing a few updated twists and characters one wouldn't see with some of the classic authors... Read morePublished 3 days ago by andrew meissner
I bought this book from P.J. Boox Bookstore in Fort Myers, FL. It took a bit of time for me to fall into the short choppy cadence of the narrative but it does seem to help create... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Patti Brassard Jefferson, Author
I loved this book! I have always enjoyed a good noir defective novel, but I have not read such a good one in a long time. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Elisha Kane
As someone who loves the history of Rock N' Roll, and also a good mystery, this book hit my sweet spot. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Barry S.
I'm a dedicated reader of Crime & Noir fiction. Everything from Patricia Highsmith, Chester Himes, David Goodis to the great Raymond Chandler. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lizo
This is a fun one. Mr. Moss should be proud. He sets the stage and then things are off and running right to the end...and I do do mean the absolute end! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michelle
Descending Memphis is a fast paced crime thriller, written with style and insider knowledge of the Memphis underworld, both low and high classed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maurice Colgan
This is a really cool and unique book. It's lit noir, old-school detective style, but with some early rock and roll thrown in. Read morePublished 2 months ago by dave
I couldn’t resist a story that promised an action-packed noir detective thrill-ride mixed with Rock ’n’ Roll. Robert Moss certainly did not let me down! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jason B Dougherty