Fitzhugh’s Pest Control and Heart Seizure were hilarious and fantastic. Then I hit Organ Donors and figured it must have been a fluke of not great writing. Then I read Fender Benders and now I don’t know if the good ones or the bad ones are the flukes. Or maybe I just really hate country music and that influenced my opinion on this one.
Eddie Long is determined to be a country music star, at any cost, but after years of playing dive bars and the casino circuit, it doesn’t look like he’s heading for stardom anytime soon. Enter his shrew of a wife (because almost every female character in this novel exists just to be shrewish to their men, seriously). She wants him to quit, but then she dies due to a freak poisoning incident. (There’s a subplot where two different people try to cover up her death but it doesn’t impact the story in any way and I have no idea why it was included.) Some serial killer is going around, poisoning random packages of headache medicine and Mrs. Long for unlucky. While his wife out of the way, and in such tragic circumstances, Long writes her a song that is sure to be a number one hit.
Jimmy Rogers is a freelance writer of music reviews. He’s decided to chronicle Long’s rise to fame. Things are great for Rogers because his girlfriend is hot. Then she leaves him to move to Nashville, because, again, she has to be a shrew. Long also ups and moves to Nashville and gets a record deal and Roger’s ex finagles her way into Long’s path, because, again, women are shrews and gold diggers too.
Long is also a marketing genius because why not. So he and his new record executives make Long into a viral internet sensation, releasing 30 seconds of the dead wife song and then flooding music message boards as anonymous people trying to find the whole song. I’m guessing this book was written when the internet was in its infancy, because their business model was last about an hour before someone doxxed the shit out of that whole plan. Oh, and his record deal people are awful and that’s another mostly unnecessary subplot.
In the end it’s revealed that Long was behind the poison headache pills deaths because he wanted to get his wife out of the way without being a suspect. And no one seems too upset by the fact that he killed his wife (I assume this was because she was a shrew) they seem more upset that he manipulated their emotions with the dead wife song. I think I’d rather listen to an hour of (modern) country music than re-read this one.