Jamaica Blue is the first book by Don Bruns in the Mick Sever series. Mick is a journalist who writes about the music industry. When Bobby Vane calls him to come down to Jamaica to do a story on the "next big thing" in music, Mick finds himself investigating a series of murders in addition to Derrick Lyman, Bobby Vane's "next big thing." At first the murders all occurring after Derrick's concerts in Jamaica is racked up to coincidence. But when Derrick and his band come to America and another murder occurs, no one is calling it coincidence anymore.
This book has such a realistic look into the music industry that it literally made me cringe. I would never want to have any connection to it. More than once I found myself saying, "ewww!" Bruns brings that realism from his own experiences in the "biz."
Mick's the protagonist, and there are times that you really want to like him because there seems to be something good buried in all the layers. But then the annoying womanizing side shows itself. As his ex-wife constantly reminds him, he's never grown up. As a female listening to this book, I empathized with his ex-wife, Ginny. Ginny is a great female character: smart, strong and of course very good looking. A womanizing man in the music business could never be married to anyone who wasn't drop-dead gorgeous, right? This book is an interesting one in that I'm sure it's a completely different book for each reader based on their gender and age. Remember, a lot of one's connection with a book involves what you bring to the book from your own experiences.
I listened to Jamaica Blue on audio book. It was read by Don Bruns and he did an o.k. job. However, he doesn't have much in the way of distinctive voices for characters. And at times it was hard to tell who was saying what since every sentence doesn't end in "he said"/"she said"/etc, the way the Spenser novels do. And there were several Jamaican characters; he didn't include any kind of dialect for them. Occasionally there was a little, but it wasn't consistent at all. This is just a personal irritation, but Bruns pronounces the word "a" as a long a most of the time. It's very rare for the word "a" to sound correct pronounced that way, and I couldn't force myself not to pay attention to it. I'm quirky; I'll admit it! Reading back over this it sounds pretty bad, but I will tell you that I have started the second book in the series on audio book, so it can't be all that bad or I wouldn't be willing to listen to a second one!
Overall, this was an enjoyable novel with a distinctive voice. It's the first crime fiction book I've read that was centered around the music industry, so that unique factor is a definite plus.