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Looking for Chet Baker [Mass Market Paperback]

Bill Moody
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 19 2003 Evan Horne

Pianist Evan Horne's European interlude lands him a gig in Amsterdam, where the old jazz clubs are alive and well. But here he unexpectedly finds himself reliving the last days of legendary blues trumpeter Chet Baker, who died under mysterious circumstances. Did Baker fall from a hotel balcony or was he pushed? The answers lead Horne on an odyssey into one of the greatest mysteries of the jazz world -- and beyond.

Horne's longtime buddy Ace Buffington, in Amsterdam researching the late jazz great's life and tragic death, has disappeared. Ace's trail parallels that of Baker's last days, so Horne does what he does best: improvise, baby, as he finds himself following the same path into Baker's dark, even dangerous past, and in doing so, confronting his own deep-rooted melancholy. In the smoky clubs and on the mean, exotic streets of Amsterdam, Horne hits all the right notes in a world where playing it by heart can make you a legend . . . as easily as it can get you killed.

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From Publishers Weekly

"I'm a pushover for minor keys, minor chords, minor blues. Always have been," says jazz pianist and amateur detective Evan Horne. "I was drawn to those players and composers for whom minor keys and blues-drenched creations were a way of life." A blues-drenched creation aptly sums up Moody's sad and mellow Evan Horne mystery, his fifth (after 1999's Bird Lives!), in which his suffering hero, still recovering from the aftereffects of the violence of earlier cases, decides to get away and takes some gigs in Europe. In London, Horne meets an old friend, Ace Buffington. An English professor who needs to publish one more book to achieve tenure, Ace wants Horne to help him research real-life jazz great Chet Baker. In 1988, Baker fell (or was pushed) from his hotel window in Amsterdam, i.e., he died "under mysterious circumstances." Horne has no interest in more detective work, but when he gets to Amsterdam, he discovers that Ace has disappeared. Since the police express little interest in finding the missing professor, Horne is obliged to go looking for his buddy himself. Ace's trail parallels that of Chet Baker's last days, so Horne has to learn a lot more about Baker, his legendary talent, his tragic addiction to drugs. Moody does a wonderful job of re-creating the man and his times. For anyone interested in jazz, this is a must. For anyone just interested in a good mystery, this is just what the coroner ordered. Agent, Philip G. Spitzer. (Mar. 13)Forecast: As a jazz drummer and respected critic in the music world (Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association, and Dick Conte, of San Francisco's KCSM/KKSF, supply blurbs), the author is well positioned to push this latest jazz mystery to the obvious crossover audience.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Series narrator/sleuth Evan Horne has success playing jazz piano in Europe after recovering from an injury to his hand. He winds up in Amsterdam, stays at the same hotel where some 11 years earlier jazz musician (and junkie) Chet Baker mysteriously fell to his death from an upper window, and becomes concerned about the disappearance of a friend researching Chet's life. Horne's own search involves a local jazz archive, a marijuana "restaurant," other American expatriate musicians, and frequent narrative diversions into the convolutions of jazz. Intricately described, carefully paced, and gently suspenseful, this is fitting for most collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmmm April 22 2002
By jot
After 5 novels hasn't Mr. Moody learned that you just, can't, put, a comma, wherever you want to? And at times, well, a comma is needed. This could be credited to extreme sloppiness and mistakes that editors should notice right away. Like the fact that California is 9, not 8 hours behind Amsterdam. Consecutive chapter headings of Wednesday the 10th and Thursday the 12th (with a mention of Friday the 13th) make me wonder what happened to the 11th day of that month. Mr Baker is referred to as "Mrs" Baker. (What the hell do editors do these days?) And there are probably others that my quick reading or fading memory have missed.
If you have a craving for some Chet Baker (who doesn't/shouldn't?) I would suggest de Valk's bio, or pre-order Gavin's. If you have mystery fix, just buy Elmore Leonard. I am not familiar with the other works of Mr Moody, I like the idea of jazz mysteries but heavily shy away from silly clichés and most of all bad writing. If anything I hope this will turn a few people on to the lovely music of Chet Baker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evan Horne Series by Bill Moody April 15 2002
This is the fifth in a series featuring the reluctant detective Evan Horne who is a jazz pianist. He always finds himself involved in the solution of a mystery that concerns a real life musician. Because Bill Moody is a jazz drummer and journalist, he brings a certain authenticity to his stories and if you don't watch out, he may cause you to buy some new CDs. His other books were about Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, Clifford Brown, and this one is set in Amsterdam where Chet Baker died in 1988 when he either fell or was pushed from a hotel window. Poor Evan, he just had a gig and then he finds himself once again mixed up with the police! I have enjoyed each one of the Evan Horne books, waited for this one for about a year, recommend the series to all musicians and mystery lovers...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solving A Jazz Fan's Mystery March 25 2002
One of the frustrating limitations of writing a mystery novel based on a real and continuing mystery, must be the small amount of wiggle room available in which to be creative and still be faithful to the facts that are known. Thus in this case the real story is the time, place and setting of the jazz world in which Chet Baker lived his last weeks and died under mysterious circumstances.
Having read the four previous jazz mysteries by Bill Moody, and enjoyed each of them, I found this one to be the best. The story, mostly set in Amsterdam, is atmospheric, and keeps the reader's interest all the way through both with jazz related information and the longing to know whatever might be learned from the author's research into the strange and sudden death of Chet Baker. This is a lean book that sticks to the point without either going off on tangents, losing its way in sub-plots or developing any bazaar theories. This story of what might have happened to Chet Baker is both realistic and satisfying.
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