In the depths of the Great Depression, father and son musicologists John and Alan Lomax make several eye-opening—at times menacing—journeys through the Jim Crow South. Assigned to record pioneer blues artists for the Library of Congress, they visit plantations and penitentiaries, rural crossroads and bustling cities. During their travels, they encounter a series of bizarre killings. Among the victims are country blues giants Charley Patton and Robert Johnson, along with singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. The police show little interest in investigating the deaths of these seminal black performers, so the Lomaxes decide to look into the murders. They learn that the crimes are the work of a single deranged killer, and as they come closer to identifying the madman, they become targets themselves. Their discovery of who committed the murders, and why, carries with it the threat of imminent death. (Level Best Books, 2020)

“This rich, atmospheric thriller follows musicologist detectives into the heart of the blues on the trail of a murderer…. The music jumps off the page.” —Publishers Weekly

“Captures the atmosphere of the period perfectly, and the dialogue rings just as true…. Makes for an intriguing and enlightening read from start to finish.” San Francisco Book Review

“Martin’s knowledge of and admiration for the talented, mostly self-taught musicians earning a few dollars against great odds shows through…. An honest page-turner.” —Historical Novels Review

“A fascinating tale of music and race during the Great Depression. There’s a lot of great history of Blues packed into this murder mystery.” —Kelly Oliver, bestselling author of the Fiona Figg Mysteries

“A revelation. Brings the early blues greats and their times to life. I can’t wait to read Martin’s next book!” —Jeffrey Meyerriecks, renowned classical and jazz guitarist