A South Side Chicago blues joint
A hot young guitar player up against ...
... the King of the Blues
A witchy woman, a silver stripe in her hair
A young girl discovering her long-lost father
A white boy with his own secrets
They all come together in Cutting Time, a novel set in the Chicago blues scene in 1963.
Willie Lee Reed, a young guitarslinger from Detroit, blows into Southside Chicago to challenge the master of the blues, Heddy Days, in a cutting session—only to be beaten by one perfect note.
But Willie Lee’s genius is clear. The blues impresario Sweet Home Arthur takes him up, seeing Willie Lee as the Future of the Blues. But there is much work to do with the proud but raw kid....
•Can Willie Lee grow up enough to take down the Great Man?
•Will Heddy Days hold off the whipper-snappers chasing his title?
•Which woman will claim Willie Lee: Esmé Hunter, a sweet, proper girl slumming with the blues, or Betty Ann Norton, called Silver for the spooky color that runs through her beautiful hair?
•Can Sweet Home Arthur guide Willie Lee through the nests of gamblers, contract poachers, crusading preachers, and potion hexers out to mess with him?
•What, finally, does Willie Lee Reed’s True Voice say—a voice he loses, then desperately tries to find again?
Cutting Time takes you into a remarkable world of smoky blues clubs, dangerous characters, bewitched love, and surprising gallantry. It’s a book of fierce competitions, murder, desire, civic corruption, and powerful hoodoo. At bottom, though, Cutting Time slices deeper. It’s a novel of character tested: How we suffer and fight for the lives we are born to fulfill.