Lisa Tucker, author of THE SONG READER, has toured America with a jazz band, worked as a waitress, and been a teacher. Her writing has appeared in various newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tucker's follow-up to her BookSense bestseller, The Song Reader, is even more commercially appealing, thanks to a ratcheted-up suspense angle that still allows for well-drawn, emotionally nuanced characters. Once again, music is the motivating factor for change in Tucker's world of jazz musicians singing the blues. Patty Taylor is determined not to settle for dead-end dishwashing jobs and life with her emotionally abusive, alcoholic mother. Her new job as the lead singer in a traveling jazz band, though hardly glamorous, provides hope for a future for her and her two-year-old son, Willie. But when Willie's drug-dealing father, Rick, is released from prison and breaks his parole to track them down, she must fight being pulled back into his violent world. Patty's tentative romance with Jonathan, the head of the band, builds her confidence as a performer and woman but also maddens Rick, who wants Patty by his side, even if he has to kill her to keep her. Tucker's unsentimental portrayal of Patty's conflicted loyalties-she once genuinely loved Rick, who saved her from her mother-gives the novel depth and complexity, as does Patty's struggle to learn the ropes of the jazz world and become more than just a pretty pop singer. It is her love for music and her devotion to her son that give her the strength to resist Rick and get her through the novel's surprisingly violent climax. Tucker's compulsively readable tale deftly moves over the literary landscape, avoiding genre classification; it succeeds as a subtle romance, an incisive character study and compelling woman-in-peril noir fiction. 17-city author tour; foreign rights sold in Germany and the U.K. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Patty, 21, is the mother of 2-year-old Willie and the lead singer in a band of musicians who resent her ignorance of jazz and the fact that her face rather than their music is what attracts the customers. The group's antagonism is the least of Patty's troubles, however. She has barely survived an abusive childhood, and when the story opens she is being stalked by the father of her child, a drug dealer recently out of jail who still has an emotional hold on the love-starved young woman. How Patty copes with the disrespect of her fellow musicians, their dishonest manager, caring for her son, her mother's alcoholism, and the frightening rage and rape by Willie's father makes a suspenseful story that will have readers holding their breath. Tucker depicts all the ugliness of the music business-drugs, sleazy managers, endless nights on the road, and poor accommodations-as well as the fierce dedication and hard work of talented, committed performers. In a satisfying and exciting conclusion, Patty finally escapes from her past and earns the friendship and respect of her fellow musicians.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.