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Leavin' Trunk Blues Hardcover – Jul 11 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (July 11 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312242123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312242121
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.9 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 535 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,138,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
JOJO'S BLUES BAR was a warm shot of whiskey, a cold Dixie on the side, and blues that could exorcise demons like a voodoo priestess. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Rafik on Dec 26 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Leavin Trunk Blues" by Ace Atkins kept my attention. Especially when I got half-way through. Despite the book's minor shortcomings, the plot and concept are brilliant. I will definitely get his first novel Cross Road Blues. FYI, I love the blues and play sax in a couple of bands. Blues music is an American art form that has many shapes and faces and Ace thankfully, is one of them. Reading the book made me appreciate the blues that much more. The story is based on Ruby Walker, a famous blues singer who was wrongfully sent to prison for a crime she did not commit. When she said, "Iam the Blues," I was hooked. In comes Nick Travers, blues historian and all-around good guy. Whose faced against a famous fictional evil character named Stagger Lee, made to be very real and throroughly hateful. As our hero digs up the past, bodies start dropping. Culiminating into a good read. Peopled with colorful characters you want to know more about. "Leavin", keeps you thinkin.
I look forward to see more from this author. Thanks Ace!
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By bill runyon on Aug. 12 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Atkins' story has a nice combination of solid writing, combined
with an engaging and moving story line.
Our hero, Nick, loves blues music better than anything, maybe
even better than his remembered girl friend, Kate, and when
he is given the chance to go to Chicago and root around in
the past, with the expectation of a revealing interview with
a former blues singer now in prison, he can't wait to get started. His trip north not only allows him to have that interview with a former blues great, whose career was cut
terribly short by a conviction of murdering her lover, but it
also allows him to re-united with that warm ex-, Kate.
When he attempts to learn the truth about the death of the long-
gone musician, for which Ruby was convicted, he encounters
one of the most nasty of fictional killers, and he also
runs into obstacles put up, mysteriously, by former friends
and fellow-musicians of the dead blues man.
The obstacles and problems only encourage Nick to further
explore the decades-old murder, as well as the story told him
by the inmate convicted of killing him.
It's a moving and warm story, both intricate and straightforward, and Atkins does a very nice job of combining
the elements of a good read.
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By A Customer on Nov. 18 2002
Format: Hardcover
As the author said, "Blues is religion" with all the illogic that implies. The deities are a bunch of doped up, drunken, adultorous, murderous, thieving no-goods who spend their lives whining about the consequences of their actions.
They can't sing worth a damn, either.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Leavin' Trunk Blues" is Ace Atkins follow up to his highly acclaimed "Crossroad Blues". In this adventure, blues historian Nick Travers seeks the truth about a fictitious murder of record producer Billy Lyons and the conviction of Lyon's lover, Ruby Walker. During the investigation, Travers becomes convinced of the innocence of Ruby Walker and encounters some obstacles to finding the truth in the form of villains Stagger Lee and his two psychopaths, Fast Lovin' Fannie and Butcher knife totin', Annie. Set in the streets of Chicago around Christmas time, Atkins does a great job of breathing life into his characters and holding the readers attention to the very end. A worthy follow up to "Crossroad Blues" and a worthwhile read for blues fans everywhere.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "Crossroad Blues", Ace Atkins examined the legend and music of Robert Johnson, essentially taking a real man and making him fictional. In "Leavin' Trunk Blues", Atkins, casts blues myth Stagger Lee as a character, essentially taking a fictional man and making him real.
Stagger Lee is the name of a number of blues and jazz standards about a tough Chicago man who gambles with, then murders, a fellow named Billy (usually Lyons). The stories are always the same, though a number of different artists, from Lloyd Price to Wilson Pickett, from the Grateful Dead to Nick Cave, have taken ownership of the song by switching around events, tempos, names, details. But the centerpiece is still the evil, dangerous, magnetic Stagger Lee.
In Ace Atkins' version, Stagger Lee is all the evil in Chicago's south side rolled into a single man, and Billy Lyons was the manager of a female blues artist, Ruby Walker, known as "the Sweet Black Angel". When Billy turned up dead, the Black Angel was accused of his murder and went to prison for life.
Enter Nick Travers, blues historian, amateur detective and old softy. When Ruby asks Nick to help her find out who killed Billy and get her out of jail, Nick jumps right in, meeting famous blues musicians, beautiful, knife-wielding assassins and Stagger Lee himself, taking time along the way to take a dig at that little blond kid who thinks he plays the blues but isn't old enough to know what they are.
Ace Atkins writes well. He's toned down a lot of the purple prose that marred "Crossroad Blues" and here concentrates on good, solid description and storytelling.
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