Tropical Breezes, White Sand Beaches, Reggae Rhythms...
Under an intense, blue Jamaica sky, music journalist Mick Sever lands a front row seat to the Next Big Thing-a reggae/rap band known as Derek and The Laments. Derek Lyman, the band's charismatic Rastafarian singer has an unmistakable hold on the audience, and his provocative lyrics work the crowd into a frenzy. But lurking beneath the new stars' promise is a deadly secret-two female fans have been savagely killed after attending Laments' concerts. And everyone begins to wonder if the band is connected to the murders?
...And a Rock & Roll Band With Blood on Its Hands
The journalist in Sever follows the group to Miami as he hunts for the truth on a trail that will lead him down Florida's coastal highway to Key West and back again. And when another young concertgoer loses her life, Sever finds himself the target of someone who is desperate to keep the Laments' past buried-and...desperate enough to kill again and again.
About the Author
Don Burns is a songwriter, musician, and advertising executive. He and his family live in Ohio and frequent Florida and the Caribbean. This is his first book.
Read an Excerpt
JAMAICA BLUE (Chapter One)
I'm tellin' ya, Mick, this kid is like the second coming of Bob Marley." Bobby Vane waggled his fat index finger at a waitress as he stuffed another shrimp in his mouth. "We got him comin' over here to tour with Brandy this summer, but hell, if it goes good, we might just bolt the Brandy thing and take off on our own." He smiled at the waitress as she walked to the table. "Another Scotch, honey, the Glenlivit or whatever you got, okay?" He waved her away.
A smile played on Mick Sever's face. Bobby Vane always had a new artist, a new recording contract, a new tour to promote. And each one was guaranteed to be bigger than the one before.
"Were you a Marley fan, Mick? Huh? Were ya? Ya know, the kids today, they all got Marley in their CD collections, and hell, the guy died like in 1981, before most of 'em were even a gleam in their old man's eye. So I figure that this guy's gonna just be the hottest thing." He wiped his greasy fingers on the green linen napkin in his lap and scanned the table for any last bites of food he may have missed. "Ya want anything else, Mick? Just name it."
"No, I'm fine."
"Ya know, ya eat like a bird. Like a fuckin' bird. So, watcha think? You get a chance to see Jamaica, the sun, the sand, the honeys, and you get to see his concert."
"What's the name again?"
"Derrick Lyman." Vane put his meaty hand on Sever's and patted it. "Mick, if this isn't the biggest thing since grunge..."
"Bobby, I was never a real big fan of grunge."
Vane looked at him. "It's reggae and hip-hop. It's like dance hall, rock steady, and ska all wrapped up in one sound and it's just plain hot. I've got a rough mix right here." He reached down to a scuffed brown leather bag and pawed through the contents until he found the jewel case. "Here, this'll give you a little taste of what this guy does. Derrick Lyman and the Laments."
"Well, we're still working with that. Marley had the Wailing Wailers, and they changed it to just the Wailers. We'll get it right before we go big-time. Right now I want you to see how electrifying this boy is with a crowd. He brings 'em to their feet and never lets 'em sit down, Mick. I'm tellin' ya, you're gonna want to do a story on him. And I'm willing to give you first crack."
"How many writers have turned you down?"
"You hurt me, Mr. Sever. I want you to follow this career. You're a powerful man. People believe what you say. Give me...give my boy a break. If I'm wrong, you still get a vacation in a tropical paradise."
"I get to spend three days in a Third World country where the white man is not only in the minority, but in many cases not too well liked."
"Come on. Rolling Stone already said they'd pick up the tab. I just gotta get you to do the article." He looked at Sever with his big brown eyes, much like a dog Sever had had in the sixth grade. The dog, Waddles, or something like that, had run away from home and was never seen again.
"All right, Vane, I'll go. We'll see what this Derrick and the Laments is all about. So what do we call this music? Reggae rap?"
"Well, you're the word man. Rasta rap, reggae rap..."
"So he's Rastafarian?"
"Hell, isn't everyone in Jamaica? He sprinkles the songs with some of that philosophy mumbo jumbo. Worked for Marley. It'll work for Derrick." Vane grabbed the Scotch as the waitress set it down and he took a gulp, pounding the glass back onto the table. "Here's to a new superstar. Here's to reggae rap." He raised the glass.
Sever picked up his water glass, glanced around at the other tables to be sure no one was staring, then softly clinked his glass with Vane's. "Bobby, no promises. If I don't like the kid or his music, that's the way the story will read."
"I know, I know. I'm not worried. The kid will bowl you over. We got a hit here, Mick, and you're gonna thank me for steering you in his direction." He finished his Scotch, pushed his corpulent body back from the table, and gave Sever a huge grin. "Damn, life is good! Life is good!"
JAMAICA BLUE Copyright © 2002 by Don Bruns.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A good read.
Not bad for a debut, but needs some editing. Story has possibilities but doesn't quite grab you the way it could.
When Mick Sever, an influential music critic and best-selling writer, first hears a hot, new Jamaican band called Derrick and the Laments, he's hooked despite the front man's violent political and racial rants. More than that, though, he's intrigued by the fact that three murders of young women have followed Derrick's recent concerts. The last killing occured on a yacht in Miami during a post-concert party. Mick senses another best seller and begins investigating. Well-paced prose, unnerving, high-speed action, and lively subject matter merit this attention, especially from readers interested in music. A solid debut.
A dynamite trip down the sleazy backroads of the rock and roll world. Free lance writer Mick Seaver smells a rat when young girl followers of a new reggae band start dieing off. Along with his ex-wife he begins an investigative report that isn't making anyone happy. The realistic portrayal of the inner workings of the rock and roll world are particularly impressive. The mystery that wraps around it is entirely plausible and takes any number of twists and turns before the end. If you enjoy rock and roll and want the scoop on what really happens this is the book for you. Bruns writes like an insider and since the book includes a reference to a song from a CD he has released, he must be. Pick this up for all the sex, drugs and rock and roll you can handle in the comfort of your own living room.
Don Bruns' Jamaica Blue is a debut novel that succeeds on several levels. Most importantly it's a fast-paced interesting read about a defining characteristic of the baby-boomer generation. . . rock 'n roll music. The reader experiences the tip of the rock ice berg as he/she follows the reggae phenoms, Derrick Lyman and the Laments. Perhaps Bruns is setting us up to take a closer look at the solid under the surface and follow his protagonist, rock music reporter Mick Sever in ensuing books. In Jamaica Blue, Sever must solve a series of murders that happens all too frequently after Lyman & the Laments' concerts. On yet another level the reader learns of the Rastafarian faith, the core of Derrick Lyman's passion. Finally with a print run of only five or six thousand, and dust jacket endorsements by mystery giants Sue Grafton, Lee Child, William Kent Krueger, and Steve Hamilton first edition copies could become scarce quickly.
Internationally famous and highly regarded rock critic Mick Sever accedes to writing an article on a new reggae group Derrick and the Laments headed by the charismatic Derrick Layman, whose songs advocate violence especially against women. At a recent Derrick and the Laments, two women were killed. Now at the celebration party after the group`s debut American event, someone kills another girl. The Miami police arrest security guard Roland Jamison, since he is standing over the body holding a bloody knife. Sever was on the scene when the police found Jamison hovering over the corpse, but he noticed the confused face of the accused. The police reject Mick¿s plea that Jamsion is an innocent dupe so he begins his own inquiries fueled by his success as a true crime writer of one book involving a murdered rock star. The police and the music industry refuse to help Sever and even try to physically remove him from derailing the rise of a potential reggae superstar, but the author-journalist keeps trying to uncover the truth. The murder mystery takes a back seat to the insightful look at the music industry especially the publicity behind luminaries, famous people, and future stars. The investigation has some action as assailants try to stop Sever, but feels more like a cozy even with sex and drugs in the background. Readers who enjoy a comprehensive look at the world of rock from the perspective of an insider rolled into a who-done-it will enjoy Don Bruns debut tale. Harriet Klausner