I first got the idea for Cross Road Blues and its hero, Roy Carpenter, a few years ago when I took an African American literature class and wrote a paper about “Blues Detectives,” thereby delving more deeply into the works of authors like Chester Himes and Walter Mosley. I had wanted for some time to branch out in my own writing and do some good old-fashioned hard-boiled stuff. That, plus my love for the blues, led me to the idea of a series set in 1950s Nashville that centered on a frustrated harmonica player who moonlights –or maybe daylights –as a private detective. I saw it as a way to have some noir action, some philosophizing about the meaning of life and the blues, all while taking Roy through the turbulent events of the 1950s (and eventually 1960s) in the South.
The plot revolves around Roy becoming caught up with a sleazy manager and a (very) eccentric guitarist, who get him involved in a scheme that results in him being framed for murder and pursued by both the police and local drug dealers.
I was fortunate enough to be taken on by John Boland’s Perfect Crime Books, an imprint that also features several of my personal favorite crime writers. Authors who know their business have had really nice things to say about the book:
"CROSS ROAD BLUES isn't just one of the best crime novels I've read recently, it's one of the best crime novels I've read in a long time... You need to read this one, and I recommend it very highly." -James Reasoner
“If Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil at the crossroads, then Troy Smith must have made a deal with the ghost of Robert Johnson. He delivers a story told with the power and passion of the great Blues Man himself.”-Robert J. Randisi
“Troy Smith’s got his mojo workin’ in this fast-moving, atmospheric crime novel set in the blues joints and back alleys of the 1950s.”-Bill Crider
I’ve followed the novel up with an ebook short, “Stomp Boogie,” in which Roy is hired to track down a missing maid. I’m not sure if I’m going to do several more of those or move into another full length novel –but I do have plans to use an older version of Roy Carpenter in my ongoing series of hardboiled short stories, “Dead Rednecks,” set in modern-day Knoxville.