Tommy Dayton, former lead guitarist of the rock and roll band Currant, is dead. His closest friends, however, are unable to accept that his death was a suicide. In Tommy’s Song, a group led by the tortured Vietnam War veteran and former Currant lead singer Jack Penn trek across the United States in search of the truth embedded in the last song lyrics Tommy ever wrote.

“Unless you were a philosopher or a songwriter, wondering was as worthless as wishing.”

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Formats: Paperback, eBook
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Throughout the course of Tommy’s Song author Michael Mears demonstrates that one of his greatest strengths is in world building. This mystery takes place near the end of the 1960s and the predominant social conflicts of this conflict-laden epoch are paramount components of the narrative. When Jack and his compatriots travel to the Mississippi Delta, for example, they come into conflict with some bigoted country boys and a police force mostly indifferent toward the general suffering of African Americans in their jurisdiction. These elements compounded with a well-selected combination of overt and subtle pop culture references strewn throughout the text really help ground the reader in the setting, making the story all the more engrossing.

Tommy’s Song is also filled with a variety of interesting and likable characters. Jack in particular is quite compelling. His tour of duty in Vietnam has left him haunted and he must overcome this aspect of his past as well as resolve his relationship with his former lover Pam as the mystery unfolds.

Tommy’s Song is a fantastic read for mystery fans seeking a diversion from the traditional hard boiled detective stories. The characters are likable and well developed with clear motivations and internal demons to overcome. Furthermore, the setting is incredibly well established and makes for an enthralling excursion into the past. This is a novel that really rocks.

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