When Goodtime Charlie McGill was sixteen, he saw the Paul Newman movie, HUD, and was inspired by the character's lifestyle, attitude, and 1958 pink Cadillac convertible.
When he was eighteen, he hitchhiked to Texas to find the original Caddy, and spent his days sweeping the used car lot and learning to be a dee-jay at night to pay for the car.
Back in Sweet City, he has spent his entire adult life as a small-town celebrity, chasing women, drinking, gambling, and dreaming of one day being a record producer in Nashville. At the age of thirty-three, his childhood days are about to end.
As the story opens, Charlie's profligate, philandering lifestyle is beginning to take its toll. His wife has left him, he has abandoned and betrayed his older brother, a ward of the state, his gambling debts are coming due, he's being chased all over town by angry, cuckold husbands, and he gets fired from his job. And then things start to get really bad.
SWEET CITY BLUES offers a bittersweet look at the life of a small-time celebrity in a back-roads Florida town in the late 1970s, when sex was, you know, good, clean fun; when Country music was king; when cowgirls could really sing; when being a picker either meant you worked the muck fields or played the guitar, or both; when life in the fast lane made you want to pull off the road and head back home on country roads; take a john-boat out past the rim-canal, through the dike, and into Lake Okeechobee and throw a worm over the side and hope you didn't catch anything, while waiting for those afternoon thunderstorms to come rolling in across the sugar cane fields out west.
For anyone who loves Florida novels or country music; for anyone who's had to face the fact that it's time to grow up at the age of thirty-three or lose forever anything that's important; who likes stories that make you laugh and cry and laugh to keep from crying, SWEET CITY BLUES should be your next novel and has our vote as the next Florida novel that should be made into a film.
Goodtime Charlie McGill is a character you'll never forget.
This version of the novel also contains the first chapter of another Frank Eberling novel, ensueño, a noir-style mystery set in Palm Beach during the 1980s and 1930s.