Who’s reading The Dread Line, the latest in my Edgar Award-winning series of crime novels, now? It’s blues singer, song writer and guitarist Tommy Castro, who’s long been one of my favorites. We’ve also been friends for years, hence the goofy photo to go along with the serious one.
I first met Tommy on a visit to Chicago fifteen years ago, when my wife Patricia Smith and I decided to take in some live music at one of the city’s remaining blues clubs. We checked the listings and learned that The Tommy Castro Band was appearing at Buddy Guy’s club, Legends.
“Tommy Castro?” I said. “Never heard of him.”
“Neither have I,” Patricia said, “but to play at Legends, you have to audition for Buddy, so how bad could he be?” When we pushed through the door that night, the place was packed, and by the time the band finished their first number, “If I had a Nickel,” Tommy owned us.
Sine then we’ve been buying all of his CDs and catching him live every chance we can. We admire his fine guitar playing, his soulful voice, his charismatic stage presence, his covers of classic blues songs, and most of all of his own compositions — songs like “Lucky in Love,” “Just a Man,” “Right as Rain,” and many more.
So it came as no surprise to us that Liam Mulligan, the fictional hero of my hardboiled crime novels, turned out to be a big Tommy Castro fan, too. In the very first book, Mulligan took to playing Tommy’s CDs as he cruised around Rhode Island looking for trouble.
Meanwhile, Tommy has been reading my Mulligan novels on the road, usually on his Kindle, since the first one came out in 2010. Patricia and I last got together with him in September on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. That’s when took the pictures.
You can get a taste of some of the latest music by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers here. And you can learn more about him and his music here.
The Dread Line is the fifth book in the Edgar Award-winning series of hardboiled crime novels by Bruce DeSilva. In it, New England Patriots, still shaken by a series of murder charges against one of their star players (true story) have hired Liam Mulligan, the hero of the novels, to investigate the background of a college star they are thinking of drafting. At first, the job seems routine, but as soon as he starts asking questions, he gets push-back. The player has something to hide, and someone is willing to kill to make sure it remains secret.
To order The Dread Line, you can choose from a list of independent or chain online bookstores here.