Detective Damon and his orchestra are headed to Los Angeles for a big six-week run at the Cocoanut Grove and an appearance at producer Sid Zell's 50th anniversary party.
Every band needs a singer and a trumpet player, which is what Damon's orchestra suddenly found itself without. Gorgeous Gloria, fabulous gal vocalist, has a raspy throat and the regular trumpeter has been faced with a family emergency. Thus, Damon turns to Buddy Bixby. A once heralded jazz prodigy who can both play and sing - not an easy choice as Buddy is a known addict and recent jail resident. Nonetheless, options are limited so Buddy's on board, much to the consternation of Hercules Platt, former police detective and current sax player.
The group has barely focused their eyes on La-La-Land when Buddy turns up murdered and Damon has fallen head over piano for Monica Rivers, who is rumored to be on the brink of major stardom.
If you like rubbing elbows with Rock Hudson, visiting Toots Shors, and hanging with celebs even if only in print you won't be able to put down "Good Morning, Heartache."
This report prepared by The Snide Gail Cooke
Berkley, Dec2003, 22.95, 304 pp.
The Philip Damon Orchestra heads for Los Angeles to perform at Hollywood producer Sid Zell's fiftieth year anniversary party. The band is also playing at the famous Cocoanut Grave Hotel for six weeks but they have one slight problem. They needs a trumpet player who can sing and the only person who comes close to mind is Buddy Bixby, just released from jail for heroin possession, and somehow mixed up in the murder of Angel Vargas, an illegal Mexican working security at the L. A. racetracks.
Despite Buddy's track record and because he was good to Philip when his wife died, the orchestra leader hires him. Much to Phillip's surprise, Buddy knows Sid Zell and former child star Nicky Pembroke who worked in Mr. Zell's pictures. When first Buddy and then Nicky are murdered Philip believes the two deaths are connected with that of Angel because all three men had a sponge in their pocket. Phillip with the help of a friend starts investigating and they don't plan to give up until they identity the murderer.
GOOD MORNING, HEARTACHE is an amateur sleuth tale that takes place in 1960's California during the Watts riots. There is a surplus of suspects but it won't matter to the audience who the killer is because they are all selfish and arrogant people who believe the world owes them a living.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner