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A Song to Die For    by Mike Blakely Amazon.com order for
Song to Die For
by Mike Blakely
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I have to admit that neither country western music nor cowboy novels have ever been on the top of my list for Christmas presents. Boy, have I changed my mind! I just finished A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely. My only negative reaction is that it wasn't long enough for me.

The time is 1979. Guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to jump on the new wave of the Texas-style, Austin-based country music bandwagon. He has written and performed one big hit and hopes to do the same with another. But the Vietnam War intervenes and by the time he comes back with both physical and mental scars, his music partner also the love of his life has moved on to hit the top of the playlist, partly on the strength of his great song.

By chance, he meets country singer Luster Burnett coming out of retirement to earn the money to pay I.R.S. back taxes. They form a band and move quickly up the ladder. Concurrently, two young women have been murdered and Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson is trying to find a link between the girls. Somehow he realizes that the mob is involved. The band is booked into Las Vegas' biggest casino as Hooley works his sources to catch the perps red-handed.

I loved this book from the first page and found it hard to stop reading to do mundane things, such as eat and sleep. I fell into the ambiance immediately and truly felt a part of the story. I became wary at times at the actions of those who didn't seem trustworthy, enraged by the plotting of the bad guys. Human life meant nothing to them. And I mentally encouraged the good guys when they seemed to find an answer to two girls' murders.

The novel is well written and plotted, down to the last little detail. Blakely created people easy to know and love, with very human flaws. A Song to Die For is a very good book. Mike Blakely is an award-winning novelist as well as an acclaimed singer/songwriter. He has performed all over the world and has co-authored with some of the greats.

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