Got No Friend Anyhow
by Peggy Ehrhart
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781594149320
Date: 19 January 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Ehrhart follows her successful debut mystery Sweet Man is Gone with Got No Friend Anyhow. Maxx Maxwell, a blues singer and leader of Maxximun Blues, her combo, has pinned her hopes on a CD her friend and lover, Rick Schneider, has mastered for the group. As head of Prowling Rooster Records, Rick has made it his mission to preserve blues music. The new CD is the key to breaking into the big time on the Blues circuit. When Rick doesn't meet Maxx as planned, she goes to his home to find out why. Rick is missing. His pet rooster has been left with no food or water, and Maxx fears he may be hurt or dead.
Not knowing what may have happened to Rick, she takes home his rooster, Red, the symbol for his record label. She also finds a prized album cover in a smashed frame and what may be a pool of blood on the floor of Rick's office. She reports her suspicions to the police and when a body turns up in nearby park, they ask her to identify it. It is Rick.
As the police investigate, they come to suspect that Rick's death is a mob hit and that he was making pirated CDs. Maxx doesn't believe that because Rick cared too much about music and the artists to do it. Her band is more than anxious about what happened to the CD master and the money they paid Rick to make it. Determined to clear his name, find her CD master, and bring his killer to justice, she investigates his life and past history.
His two partners in Prowling Rooster become suspects, as does his former girlfriend, Brenda Honeycut. A blues singer, Honeycut has fallen on hard times since she and Rob broke up. She had wanted to rekindle their romance and her songwriting, but Rick's romance with Maxx stops that.
Red enlivens the novel with his antics, but Maxx soon learns to keep his cage covered. It's hard to imagine the poor rooster, once used to roaming Rick's rural property, kept in a cage for an extended time. Maxx knows she'll have to find him a home.
Ehrhart provides a few surprises to keep the pages turning and an exciting shoot-out at the end of the novel. She plays the guitar and has performed with bands in the New York/Tri-state area. Her knowledge of blues music, the club scene, New Jersey, and New York provide the gritty backdrop for her novels.