Based on my Mississippi roots and my nomination for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Best Fiction Award for “Highway 61 Resurfaced” I was invited to contribute a story to “Delta Blues.” Published by Tyrus Books and edited by Carolyn Haines (with a forward by fellow Mississippian Morgan Freeman), “Delta Blues” features stories set in the Mississippi Delta and written by such talents as James Lee Burke, John Grisham, Charlaine Harris, and yours truly.
My story is an exercise in re-imagination. In “Highway 61 Resurfaced” I created three semi-legendary bluesmen from the Leland area: Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, and Crazy Earl Tate. In the novel, the McGuffin are some long lost tapes known as the Blind, Crippled, and Crazy sessions. They drive the action of the story.
For this collection, I have taken the legend created in the novel and made the fiction, even more fictional — is that meta-fiction? In other words, what was ‘true’ in the novel, is treated as fiction here in service of… well, that would be a spoiler, so I’m not gonna say anything else.
“The blues are at home anywhere, but the epicenter is Clarksdale, Miss., the setting for at least a third of the 19 original stories in this virtuoso crime anthology.”
“The Delta seems to evoke stories of wild men and bitter women, hungry blues singers, and a sneaky Devil. It’s all quite fun.”
“Theme anthologies are common in the mystery genre, but here’s one that distinguishes itself from the crowd.”
“Delta Blues is a perfect book to pick up for a short break because you can read one story, put it down satisfied and come back for more. Be sure to put it on your summer reading list.”