Saturday, November 20, 2010
Review: Death of a Blues Angel
Death of a Blues Angel by Sarah Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's 1966 and although people of all races live quite peacefully together in Washington DC, it's an entirely different story in the South. Three famous old black masters of blues, James Hurt, Blue Otis and Blind Pete, come to perform in the Blues Angel Bar, Washington DC. With them is a young white man, Rafael Hurt, who plays the blues just like they do.
Deacon, half black and half comanche, a reporter with the Washington Post, is sent to the Blues Angel by his boss, Brian, who is also his good friend. Deke is reluctant to go, since he doesn't see the point in interviewing three old me just to write a Christmastime feelgood story like Brian insists he do. Besides, the Post already has a music reporter. But when Deke gets to know Rafe and his three old men better, he is lost. Rafe and Deke fall into mutual attraction almost immediately, and it turns to love for both of them faster than they ara aware.
During Rafe's first gig at the Blues Angel, a young girl is murdered. This murder, and its painful solution almost tears Deke and Rafe apart. Set in their mutual ways, they have to follow their respective fates, even though this might mean losing each other. Then again, their love is strong and true; it might even be strong enough to overcome everything that separates them.
This story was so unbelievably wonderful I didn't want it to end.
The fast, laconic writing style created a film-noir feeling which formed the perfect backdrop to a story so old, sad and sweet like the blues itself. Rafe, depicted as an angelically beautiful boyish man, is deeply rooted in his homeland's ways, tangled up in a net of familial ties he can't escape, even at the price of losing his newfound love. Deke, self-contained lone wolf, never had a family to speak of and has always suspected he'd end up alone. When he meets and falls in love with Rafe, the hope of having found a companion and the pain of losing him again almost break him. These two men are so different and yet so perfect for each other, both so intense and absolut in their determination that their love shimmersand dances from the pages.
This story is as simple, clear and multi-layered as the music which it is all about, the kind of music that needs to be sung when you just can't keep it in any longer.
Don't miss this story, it's worth it beyond words.
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