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    Review of RADIO ACTIVITY by Bill Fitzhugh (see his website)

    William Morrow, April 2004

    In an era of computer-controlled radio stations and remote D.J.s, Rick Shannon is one of the old guard. Rick bounces from station to station as, one after another, the markets are snapped up by media conglomerates until he finds himself in McRae, Mississippi. McRae isn't much of a market, and the station manager is a scumbag who has persuaded a high school kid to drop out and work for free, but he lets Shannon create a new 'classic rock' format--one that goes beyond the fifty or so songs that classic rock stations always play. He also puts Rick in the trailer vacated by an old-time D.J. who mysteriously vanished--leaving a blackmail tape behind him.

    Shannon decides to investigate the missing D.J., especially when it starts to look like the slimey station manager may be involved in something worse than lying about a job or cheating a high school kid. The sexy station receptionist agrees to help with his investigation--and agrees to help with a lot more creating a love interest.

    Author Bill Fitzhugh uses a funny and witty style to tell a serious story. Radio stations really are dying--and killing the music that we rock fans love. Slimey back-slapping good-ole-boys like station manager Clay Stubblefield aren't the worst of the problem, but they are an endemic problem that isn't limited to the deep south. Shannon is really the only fully developed character. His angst over the death of radio, his own doomed battle to save it, and his self-doubt about his future make him a sympathetic character even when he goes sticking his head where you know he's going to get it knocked off.

    Anyone who loves rock from the late 60s and early to mid 70s and who enjoys a light but perceptive mystery will get a real kick out of RADIO ACTIVITY. I'm not sure whether it's great literature but it's a lot of fun, it taught me something interesting about radio, and it has enough meat in it to give me something to think about. My advice--this is a mystery you won't want to miss. Highly recommended.

    See more reviews of novels by Bill Fitzhugh.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 1/06/04

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).