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Rock Critic Murders Mass Market Paperback – April 2, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Redolent with the atmosphere of Austin, Tex., Sublett's gripping debut is rooted in his life as a bass guitarist in that city, mecca for hopeful musicians. Narrator Martin Fender, also a bassist, agrees to a gig reuniting the once fabulous "True Love" group long after its breakup, when lead guitar KC gets cash in advance from a tricky club owner. After a rehearsal, the performance is canceled because someone murders KC, and amateur sleuth Fender investigates a case that takes on bizarre proportions. Two rock critics are later killed, possibly for stealing a cache of cocaine and the 2000-pound bug landmark atop the local pest-exterminator building. Staying a step ahead of the killers and sexy Lorraine (a threat to Fender's lover Ladonna), the bassist proves his expertise in detecting and, not incidentally, explains why today's performers, composers and fans are enthralled by funky music.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

First-person narrator Martin Fender, bass guitar player and part-time collection agency employee, may stage a comeback with a reunion engagement of True Love, a blues band once popular in Austin, Texas. The sudden death of lead guitar player, KC, however, and the disappearance of a kilo of cocaine set Fender on the track of some sleazy, money-grubbing characters in the music business. The Austin locale emerges strongly and persuasively, but the prose is dry and the plot mechanical and awkward.-- REK
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell (April 2, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440207037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440207030
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,431,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jesse Sublett is an Austin, Texas based author, musician and all-around character in the Live Music Capital of the World. Jesse is recognized as being a seminal force in the Austin music scene since 1978, when he formed two of the region's first punk/new wave bands, The Skunks and the Violators, which helped changed the course of music history in Austin. He began writing short stories and novels in the mid-eighties while still playing full time. His first novels, Rock Critic Murders, Tough Baby and Boiled in Concrete, were published by Viking Penguin between 1989-1992. These books are set in the Austin music scene and feature protagonist Martin Fender, a blues bass player who moonlights as a skip tracer and detective. Jesse's memoir, Never the Same Again: A Rock n' Roll Gothic, published in 2004, tells the story of his experiences in the Austin music community from the mid seventies through the 1990s, and chronicles in detail his struggle to survive stage 4 throat cancer, a time when he decided to also revisit the murder of his girlfriend, Dianne Roberts, by a serial killer in 1976. The book is shot through with heartbreaking experiences and life-affirming ones as well, with generous doses of absurd humor in the musical passages, despite the many grim themes and story threads. Jesse is also recognized as an insightful essayist and satirical commentator; his writing has been published in New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and the Austin Chronicle. He's also contributed to numerous nonfiction books, including We Were Not Orphans: Stories from the Waco State Home, by Sherry Matthews, published by UT Press in 2011, and he has also written and co-produced dozens of hours of documentary film and television. He regularly comments on film noir, crime fiction, music, politics and art on his blog at and plays in Austin clubs, performing original and traditional murder ballads, blues and rock n roll. He lives with his wife, Lois Richwine, and three cats in Austin, Texas.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Groverscorner on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jesse Sublett captures it all in Rock Critic Murders. Martin Fender, skiptracer by day/musician by night/investigator when necessary plunges head-on into trouble as he investigates a murder in the sultry summer in the city of Austin in the mid 80's. Anyone who lived in the heart of Texas for some period will recognize the landmarks Sublett paints with fond familiarity. It's funny, it's engaging & it has me yearning for more!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Will Ravenel on June 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jesse Sublett can write, but he needed a much better editor. It was fun for me, as someone who'd lived in Austin during the 1980s when the action of this book takes place, to find the characters eating, drinking, and socializing in the same Austin landmarks I knew so well. What wasn't so great was figuring out what was happening in the story because it made so little sense. The ending was long-awaited, but by that time I'd stopped caring.

I liked the Skunks, Jesse Sublett's Austin band from the '80's, though. But I liked the Simpsons and Bruce Springsteen too; I just don't care about them anymore.
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