|Beachfront at Palencia, Belize|
photo by Dave ten Broek
Ricky Bush hangs his hat down in Texas where he listens to the blues, writes about the blues, and plays the blues. His three published crime novels feature the crime fighting blues duo of Mitty Andersen and Pete Bolden. Learn more about Ricky and his books at his website and blog.
Howling Mountain Blues, recently released in March, represents the third book in my crime fighting bluesmen series. It also represents the first book in which I chose the setting before I had a story in mind. With my debut, River Bottom Blues, I had a firm grasp on the story I wanted to tell, then I developed the characters, followed by setting as a final consideration. My characters were set for the second book, The Devil’s Blues, so I just needed to give them their antagonists and to where they would chase them.
A trip to Placencia, Belize in 2011 with my wife, one son, two daughters/husbands, and one-year-old grandgirl with one on the way fueled the idea to set a crime story in that tropical getaway. Setting a tale there was far from my mind at that time. Actually, I received word from a publisher interested in my debut during my trip, so creating a series was not concrete during that spell.
After finishing my second book I decided my bluesmen, Mitty Andersen and Pete Bolden, needed to headline a blues festival in Belize. Of course, they’d have to run into trouble down there. So…I put them on a similar track that we enjoyed while in Placencia, with venue name changes, of course.
We stayed at the wonderful Los Porticos Villas, with a pristine Caribbean beach just out the front door. Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn was a short walk down the beach, replete with a tiki hut beach bar. Mitty and Pete had similar accommodations and booked a trip, as we did, up Monkey River to the jungle habitat of the howler monkeys (which prompted my book’s title) and ate the wonderful Kriol food at Monkey River Town’s ramshackle café.
Their snorkeling trip to Laughing Bird Caye mirrors our, except I watched my wedding ring slip from my finger and twist it’s way to the bottom of the ocean. Caught quite a sunburned, also. As we did, they enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of Placencia (much less hustle and bustle than San Pedro.) We ate marvelous seafood at Rumfish, gelato at Tuttifruttia, bought food to cook from Ming’s Supermarket, and above all, we relaxed. Mitty and Pete experienced the same…until blues and trouble found them in paradise.
Howling Mountain Blues
When hotshot blues guitarist Wyatt “Earp” Ringold hires The Repeaters to back him up at a blues festival in Belize, Mitty Andersen and Pete Bolden expect to find fun in the sun. What they don’t expect is notorious racketeer and blues enthusiast Big Bossman, who is anxiously awaiting their arrival.
The Bossman conducts his illicit activities from a hideaway in the jungles of Howling Mountain. A botched kidnapping has recently put him on the wrong side of a Mexican drug cartel, and he hopes to rectify the situation by mixing business with pleasure at the blues festival.
Knowing that trouble always follows Mitty and Pete, ATF agent Lenora Charles insists on tagging along for security detail. When she warns them that something doesn’t quite seem right in paradise, the laid-back band members don’t take her instincts seriously—leading to another kidnapping. Can the crime fighting bluesmen pull off a dangerous rescue mission in time?