Bluesman by Rob Vollmar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First Published: August 1st, 2008
Publisher: NMB Publishing
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Music, Historical Fiction, Crime, Racism
Now collected into one stunning hardcover! This story, structured like a traditional twelve bar blues song, with three sections each made of four chapters, follows blues musician Lem Taylor’s harrowing journey across Arkansas of the late twenties, hunted for a crime he didn’t commit.
Lem Taylor is a bluesman. He and his friend live for music. Like other bluesmen, they don’t have a home. Instead, they go from town to town, city to city, finding work wherever they can.
Unfortunately, the moment life is good to them, and they are about to record songs—possibly release an album in the future—Lem’s friend dies trying to save a woman from being killed by her “master”.
Four dead bodies in total and Lem Taylor as the main suspect. Murders he did in no way commit. He lost his friend, his dreams are shattered and now he must flee the city.
The murders happen towards the middle of the story, so there are a few other events before that major one, which lead to them having the chance to record their music. There is also background on Lem Taylor and a little on his friend as well as an introduction to what it meant to be a bluesman at that time.
I enjoyed the two men’s adventures and I really was hoping they could pursue their love of music even further.
But when the killings happen, the atmosphere of the story changes instantly. The story was still interesting to read about, because I cared about Lem’s future, but it wasn’t as engaging as before, seeing that many new characters suddenly appeared. Characters I did not feel a connection to.
And the ending is a hard one to believe.
All in all, I was very moved by the emotions expressed by the characters and quite enjoyed the first two parts of this story, but the running away and hiding from people parts bored me.
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