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Works by
Bill Fitzhugh
(Writer)

Rick Shannon Mysteries
  • Radio Activity (2004)
    Rick Shannon is an unemployed FM rock DJ considering a change in career. But just as he begins selling off his record collection, a job offer comes from a small station in Mississippi, where a DJ recently stopped showing up for work.

    After discovering an audiotape that might explain the fate of the missing DJ, Rick decides to look into the matter. Sensing a new career path, he assumes another identity: Buddy Miles, PI, naming himself after the one-time drummer for Jimi Hendrix.

    The result is classic Fitzhugh. A wickedly funny amateur investigation that turns up blackmail, murder, arson, and a major FCC violation. The suspects literally come out of the woods, ranging from a divorcé who rents construction equipment to a former local beauty pageant queen (Miss Tire & Auto Parts) to the station's general manager and the president of a local personal finance company (who has peculiar ideas about collateral).

    This smart, satiric, southern romp of a novel draws heavily from the author's own experience as a Mississippi-born FM radio disc jockey from the 1970s. An offbeat and hilarious whodunit that redefines the meaning of classic rock

  • Highway 61 Resurfaced (2005)
    Highway 61 Resurfaced
    kicks off when a woman named Lollie Woolfolk sashays into the offices of Rockin' Vestigations and says she wants to find her long lost granddaddy, blues producer Tucker Woolfolk. Before it's over, Rick Shannon has crisscrossed the sweltering Mississippi Delta in search of the thread that connects a dead man in Yazoo City found with a fork stuck in his back to an old man known as Pigfoot Morgan who was just released from Mississippi State Penitentiary after serving fifty years for murder. Further complicating matters is the lovesick Crail Pitts, onetime Ole Miss football star who is driving around the Magnolia State with a noisy lawyer in his trunk, and Cuffie LeFleur, one of four generations of a cotton dynasty that may be on its last legs. In the end, everything points to one of the great mysteries in blues lore: whether Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, and Crazy Earl Tate ever recorded together. When Rick starts a rumor that he's found the tapes from the legendary Blind, Crippled, and Crazy sessions, a killer is sent to collect them and Rick starts singing the PI blues.

Stand-Alone Novels
  1. Pest Control (1997)
    Bob Dillon can't get a break. A down-on-his-luck exterminator, all he wants is his own truck with a big fiberglass bug on top -- and success with his radical new, environmentally friendly pest-killing technique. So Bob decides to advertise.

    Unfortunately, one of his flyers falls into the wrong hands. Marcel, a shady Frenchman, needs an assassin to handle a million-dollar hit, and he figures that Bob Dillon is his man. Through no fault -- or participation -- of his own, this unwitting pest controller from Queens has become a major player in the dangerous world of contract murder.

    And now Bob's running for his life through the wormiest sections of the Big Apple -- one step ahead of a Bolivian executioner, a homicidal transvestite dwarf, meatheaded CIA agents, cabbies packing serious heat ... and the world's number-one hit man, who might just turn out to be the best friend Bob's got.

  2. Organ Grinders (1998)
    Paul Symon is an environmentalist who's out to make the world a better place, but he's overwhelmed by too much disjointed information, too much public apathy, too much self-serving talk and not enough action. Not to mention the opposition of greedy despoiler Jerry Landis, a successful venture capitalist who is dying of a rare disease that accelerates the aging process. Landis cares about only two things: making even more money, finding a way to arrest his medical condition. He'll go to any lengths to do either.

    That brings Landis and his fortune to the wild frontier of biotechnology, where his people are illegally experimenting with cross-species organ transplantation in California while breeding genetically altered primates at a secret site in the piney woods of south central Mississippi. Not only is Paul on the trail of this clandestine research, but there's also an eco-terrorist on the loose, bent on teaching hard lessons to people who are under the impression that the Earth and its creatures are theirs to destroy. These forces, together with 50,000 extra-large chacma baboons, collide in a explosion of laughter and wonder that Bill Fitzhugh's growing league of admirers is coming to recognize as his very own.

  3. Cross Dressing  (2000)
    Big-shot ad exec Dan Steele feels entitled to the best life has to offer -- even if he has to live way beyond his means to acquire it. But there's hope on the horizon. Dan has just stolen what's sure to be an award-winning idea for a multimillion-dollar account. If he can keep the creditors at bay long enough, he'll get the keys to the executive restroom and all his problems will be solved.

    Unfortunately, that's when his brother, a Catholic priest, shows up at Dan's door in need of a loan to pay for some essential medical attention. Being both financially and morally challenged, Dan hands over his insurance card instead of his credit card. But it's too late. After running up a bill for $300,000, Father Michael goes the way of all flesh.

    Now Dan has a choice: go to prison for insurance fraud or take a vow of poverty and become a man of the cloth. Before he can say "God bless," Dan finds himself pursued by a relentless insurance investigator, the psychopathic copywriter whose idea he stole, and a deadly killer from his brother's mysterious past. And, as if that wasn't enough, Dan finds himself falling in love with a gun-toting nun. Let us pray.

  4. Fender Benders (2001)
    In his first three novels, Bill Fitzhugh created new strains of homicidal insects, sliced open the illegal transplant business, and sinfully skewered the Church and Madison Avenue with the same spear. Now he turns his attention to the hitmaking machinery of Music City, U.S.A.

    Depending on your point of view, Fender Benders is either a skewed look at the country music industry or a clear-eyed view of a damn screwy business. It's a Grand Old Opera complete with murder, treachery, greed, drugs, twangy music, a love triangle, and the best fried swimps you'll ever put in your mouth.

    First off, some folks down South have taken to dropping like flies. One minute they have a headache, the next they have a date at the funeral home. Seems some lunatic is tampering with boxes of headache powder, lacing them with sodium fluoroacetate. It's a nasty death, but at least it's quick, and it makes you forget you had a headache.

    Second off, Eddie Long wants to move to Nashville and become a country music star, but right now he's stuck in Hinchcliff, Mississippi. Eddie's big break comes with a contract to tour the Mississippi casino circuit. While he's on the road, his wife dies, the victim of an apparent serial killer. The emotional turmoil of his wife's death causes Eddie to write the best song of his life. He takes it to Nashville, hooks up with a hoary management company, and launches his career.

    Meanwhile, Jimmy Rogers is a freelance writer covering the Mississippi music scene. He loves writing and a girl named Megan. Jimmy decides early on that he is going to write Eddie's biography. But as he's researching Eddie's wife's murder, Jimmy comes to a surprising conclusion. He can't prove it, but publishing it might make his own career.

    Megan is a smart, talented, and popular radio personality in a tiny market. But she wants a faster way to Easy Street. So she turns to Eddie. In Nashville.

    Before it's all over, everybody's planning to make a killing one way or another -- including the kind that has nothing to do with money. But, as frequently happens on Music Row, things don't always turn out as planned.

    Rip-roaring with the author's trademark blend of withering insight, divine absurdity, and an outrageous cast of players, Fender Benders is a hilarious, action-packed, no-punches-pulled look at the music makers and fakers who would do literally anything for a hit record. Here is the irrepressible Bill Fitzhugh at his wildest and funniest. Betcha dolla!

  5. Heart Seizure (2003)
    Spence Tailor is a lawyer who actually cares about doing the right thing. Opting out of a lucrative career as a corporate shark, Spence chose instead to fight injustice on behalf of the poor and needy.

    Spence's dear old mom, Rose Tailor, has advanced dilated cardiomyopathy and the rarest blood type. Waiting patiently, Rose has worked her way to the top of the UNOS transplant list. She's first in line for the next available AB-negative heart.

    Meanwhile, the presidential election is three months away and the incumbent, President Webster, plans to run for a second term. All systems are go until his heart craps out while jogging for a photo op. President Webster needs a transplant if he's going to live through November 4th. But wouldn't you know it? He, too, is AB-negative. The odds of finding a heart are terrible.

    But lo and behold, a heart becomes available and Rose goes to the hospital to await the harvest.

    However, the White House chief of staff, unwilling to wait for nature to take its course, orders the FBI to swoop in, prompt the harvest, and steal Rose's heart in the name of democracy.

    When Spence learns someone is trying to steal what rightfully belongs to his mom, he goes into action. Along with his reluctant older brother, Spence steals the heart and goes on the run, inadvertently kidnapping a beautiful cardiac surgery resident along the way.

    The president's people -- the FBI and the Secret Service -- give chase hoping to get the heart back before its ischemic time expires.

    The president's political opponent is Senator Peggy Check who happens to sit on an obscure Senate Intelligence subcommittee. When she hears terrorists have stolen the heart intended for her political opponent, the senator sends the CIA to make sure the terrorists succeed at their objective -- whatever it might be.

    With his ingenious imagination and sharp, biting wit, one of America's brightest comic novelists takes us on a frenzied road trip featuring a broad satiric meditation on politics, democracy, the media, and the current state of the health care system. Ultimately Fitzhugh raises the question: What would you do if it was your mother?

See also:
  • Full House (2007), Pete Hautman, ed.
    Is there any greater thrill than staring down your opponent across the poker table, waiting for the card that will make or break your hand? Acclaimed YA novelist Pete Hautman would know—he’s been a poker fanatic for thirty years. And with poker now an international TV phenomenon, the time seems right for an anthology about this most exciting game.

    From a contest that pits a hapless teen against his girlfriend’s redneck family, to a midnight game with the Devil, to an Internet poker scheme gone horribly wrong, the stories here brilliantly reveal how poker can both irrevocably affect and eerily imitate teenage life.

    Includes works by Adam Stemple, Alexandra Flinn, Bill Fitzhugh, Francine P. Pascal, Gary Phillips, K. L. Going, Mary Logue, Walter Sorrells, and Will Weaver.

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