For all the stories told â€“ or perhaps just implied, this book could have been several times longer in the hands of a less disciplined writer. The plot is simple but intricately told through the brief lives of working musicians, hangers-on to the music scene, wanna-be musicians, roadies, agents and a whole constellation of lovers, wives, ex-lovers, ex-wives and absentee fathers. The thread that binds it all together is music and the life of Josh Hotle, also known as Hote, a bass player in a once mega-successful band, but now on a grueling tour schedule, and on the downside of the fame that he was looking for in the authorsâ€™ first essay into the musicianâ€™s life â€œStuck in Phoenix.â€ Now, that Josh has caught the brass ring, everything that he got into music for is turning hollow, routine, and savorless. Or maybe he has just â€“ at long last â€“ grown up enough to look at his life with a coolly analytical eye, and decide what he really wants out of it. He walks out on the band, mid-tour, leaving them short a bass player before their next gig. Josh is so burnt-out, and in shock that his wife has confessed to being unfaithful to him, that he doesnâ€™t really care. He wants to go camping, and get away from it all â€“ but he can never get away from people, or his own past. There is a full cast of characters in Ghost Notes, and a lot of back story, but the writer has done an incredible job of delineating them, with just enough detail to flesh them out, make them real and sympathetic. The personal and professional world of Josh Hotle is dense, detailed and believable, without overwhelming the reader and bogging the narrative down in unnecessary verbiage. Each chapter or character sketch is a complete short story in itself; it shouldnâ€™t come as a surprise that the author is also a musician and songwriter, expert in using just the precise word and phrase and not a syllable more.
Ghost Notes is available from Amazon.com, as is Stuck in Phoenix and the authorâ€™s website is here.
Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and contributes to the on-line literary magazine, The Deepening. Her current book project, â€œThe Adelsverein Trilogyâ€ is also available at Amazon.com and selected local outlets. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.