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Fender Benders: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 25 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (Oct. 25 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380977575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380977574
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,186,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fitzhugh (Cross Dressing; Pest Control) moves into Clyde Edgerton and Barry Hannah territory and acquits himself with aplomb in this witty romp through the country music industry. Aspiring country music star Eddie Long has served a hard apprenticeship in honky-tonks across the South, and just as he gets a promising gig in a Mississippi casino, his young wife dies under mysterious circumstances. The cause is actually food poisoning, but before the police get there her lover tries to make it look like a suicide, while her father tries to pass it off as murder. In his grief, Eddie writes a magnificent country song, "It Wasn't Supposed to End That Way," that tops the charts and makes him a superstar. He involuntarily becomes embroiled in the seamy side of the music business, associating with rapacious agents, producers, DJs and a carnivorous groupie, Megan, who avariciously eyes Eddie's millions while plying him with drugs. A would-be biographer named Jimmy Rogers, who is also the jealous, discarded boyfriend of the greedy groupie, takes the advice of an unscrupulous literary agent and writes an unauthorized biography, which hints that Eddie had something to do with his wife's death and might even be a serial killer. The action and punch lines come at a furious pace, and Fitzhugh tosses in references to Nashville and Bob Roberts, two of the best country music movies. All in all, this is sharp, sassy, read-in-one-sitting, laugh-out-loud literature. (Dec. 1)Forecast: Movie rights for Pest Control and Cross Dressing have been sold to Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures respectively. If a movie ever results, Fitzhugh's stock will instantly rise, but even if it doesn't, he should collect a few more readers with each hilarious outing.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"Bill Fitzhugh is The Only Mystery Writer I Ever Really Loved - and Fender Benders is yet another reason why!" (Jill Conner Browne, author of God Save the Potato Queens)

"[Fitzhugh] . meets the "Is it funny?" challenge head-on. (Metro Pulse, Knoxville's Weekly Voice)

"[FENDER BENDERS] . makes you remember what comedic mysteries are supposed to be all about." (Eric Garcia, author of Anonymous Rex)

"Finger-pickin' good!" (People)

"A satisfying murder mystery and spoof of life in the industry, FENDER BENDERS has a delightfully vicious spirit." (USA Today)

"A lighthearted spin on a desperate tale--just like the best country songs." (Entertainment Weekly (A-))

"You'll laugh so much your sides may hurt." (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Fitzhugh is a strange and deadly amalgam of screenwriter and comic league with Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard. (The New York Times Book Review)

"In FENDER BENDERS Fitzhugh pens a tale worthy of the Grand Ole Opry." (Pittsburgh Tribune)

Fitzhugh applies his school-of-Carl-Hiaasen technique to the capital of country music. (Kirkus Reviews)

"Sharp, sassy, read-in-one-sitting, laugh-out-loud literature." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm going to assign this one four stars, even though I feel it could have been funnier, and even though the mystery content is not stellar. What this book does provide is a memorable look at Nashville's Music Row, the country-scene stealers, wheelers, and dealers.
Eddie Long is a young, talented songwriter and musician who turns the suicide, or murder, of his wife, Tammy, into a hit song (Tammy's death is rather difficult for the police to classify, since not one, but two separate buttinskys find her body and adjust the evidence to suit there personal needs; this means she was either: shot by her husband, poisoned by her husband, shot and poisoned by her husband, shot by her lover, poisoned by her lover, or shot and poisoned by her lover, or shot by a burglar, or poisoned by a burglar, or shot and poisoned by a burglar, or poisoned by a serial killer and then shot by either her husband or her lover, or else she poisoned herself, or shot herself, or poisoned herself and then was shot by her husband or her lover, or shot herself and then was poisoned by her husband or her lover, or was poisoned by either the serial killer, her husband, or her lover, and then shot herself or was shot by either her husband or her lover, or was shot by her husband, or her lover, and then poisoned herself, or was poisoned by the serial killer, or her husband, or her lover. Whew. Did I mention her father's involvement...?).
Another key character is Big Bill Herron, who becomes Eddie Long's producer. Herron, sneaky and greedy, becomes the center of all things as the book progresses; most of the characters seem to revolve around him, in a sort of swirling mass of animosity, bitterness, and general dislike--all reactions we come to expect people to have towards Herron, the more we come to know him.
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Format: Hardcover
In Fender Benders, Eddie Long, a struggling young country artist creates a marketing campaign for his new single by creating alot of buzz over the Internet before the full single is released and before the country even knows who Long is. However, the buzz was artifically manufactured in that it was started by people Long had paid to rave on the Net about his new song. I bought this book for much the same reason that many people presumably Long's record--I was [pulled] in by the buzz (i.e. some of the Amazon reviews and others). However, whereas those who bought Long's record seemed to be well satisfied with it, I can't say the same for my own reaction. I found interesting the parts where Mr. Fitzhugh--who clearly seems to know his territory--almost steps outside the book and explains to the reader how the country music business works in terms of sales, promotion, publishing, etc. Those portions where he takes us inside the recording studio and recreates how a song is recorded were excellent as well. However, beyond that--i.e. as a novel--I had some big problems with the book. Not terrible, but certainly not great.
First, except for the "po black fellas" and other secondary characters (such as Otis, Estella and Chester), virtually every main character is (or becomes) completely unappealing. We have Big Bill and Franklin who are weasely and dishonest, we have the conniving and despicable Megan, we have Jimmy and Jay who will do anything for a buck even if it may ruin others' lives, we have the gentle but hopelessly naive Whitney and finally Eddie himself. Though Eddie is the best of the bunch (which is damning with faint praise), he still lets stardom go to his head and becomes unappealing once in Megan's clutches. It seems that Mr. Fitzhugh dislikes everyone in Nashville.
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Format: Hardcover
Bill Fitzhugh's "Fender Benders" is a slight departure from his previous novels. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you!) It is a delightful read with some great characters and criss-crossing storylines. It's just a little dry in areas, whereas I was expecting something more along the lines of his earlier works. "Fender Benders" is missing a lot of the 'ha-ha' factor. But that's a minor nitpick.
While this novel is clearly the tale of new country music sensation Eddie Long's rise to glory... it's also a novel packed with a fantastic supporting cast and several interesting sub-stories. I personally liked the character of Jimmy, who is Eddie's friend at the beginning and volunteers to write his biography. If there are decent lines to be had in this novel... Jimmy gets most of them.
The character of Meagan (Jimmy's ex girlfriend, gasp!!) becomes Eddie's "Yoko Ono" or "Courtney Love" and is continually giving Eddie's management team conniption fits. Her vision is to insert herself as far into Eddie's life/career as possible and get all that she can. It makes for some interesting tension.
Bill Fitzhugh certainly did a great job researching this novel. There is a distinct "feel" to the novel when all the characters are in the studio trying to bring together all the elements for Eddie's first record. It just works.
Music, murder, money, cover-ups, backhanded dealings, investigations, sex and some of the best fried shrimp in Nashville. All these things await you as you read "Fender Benders."
I liked it a lot, but not as much as his other novels. That having been said, it certainly won't stop me from picking up Bill Fitzhugh's next novel. I recommend this one with no reservations. A good read all in all.
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