Monday, November 7, 2011

Not a False Note Is Played: Peggy Ehrhart's Sweet Man Is Gone

Ehrhart, Peggy. Sweet Man Is Gone. Gale Cengage, 2008

Reviewed by Walter Giersbach

Peggy Ehrhart immerses the reader in a world of musicians, what they go thorough to get their gigs, and the tribulations of trying to get your band to the point where it pays the bills.  Never fear if you’re not an avid music fan.  Her allusions and descriptions are transparent and easy to grasp.   Ehrhart, herself a guitarist, nails this world down cold, then adds the literary challenge of an amateur sleuth wanting to solve the murder — make that two — of friends.
The atmosphere and ambience of Sweet Man Gone are right on, from the dingy bars of the Lower East Side to the cheap pads of the Upper West Side to the rundown flats in Hackensack.  Nostalgia flowed over me as I recalled streets I walked and places I hung out long ago.  Her plot flows seamlessly — and often dreamlike — as she drives her clunker in and out of the city, from practice studios to blues bars to crash pads.  Interestingly, there’s not a false note of irony, cynicism, or authorial disbelief in her writing.  Hers is a beautiful portrayal of a lonely woman just trying to make it while loving the blues too much.

The plot unfolds smoothly, building bit by bit as a novel of character evolves into a fast-paced crescendo of discovery.  And, like a classic whodunit, the killer isn’t revealed until the last pages.
Sweet Man Gone is a very refreshing antidote for those suffering an overdose on Dennis LeHane, Dashiell Hammett, James Patterson and other hardboiled crime writers.

ISBN-10: 1594146683

Available at three locations at the Free Library of Philadelphia or from your local library or bookseller. Interested in other books by Peggy Ehrhart? Check out her Web page.

Follow Walter Giersbach's own short fiction and ideas at

Reading anything that you would like to share? Send us your original review to favoritebookreview @ gmail. com

No comments: