Have you heard Neil Young’s Powderfinger? If not, give it a listen. The song and, in particular, the line “red means run, son, numbers add up to nothin’…” was Brad Smith’s inspiration for the title of the first book in his country noir mystery series (releasing January 2012). The foreboding tone of the line soon coalesces into a strong and pulsing plot. Virgil Cain, a hard working farmer (attractive in a Paul Newman-sort-of-way and always ready to help a friend, or a horse) is accused of murder when a man to whom he is negatively connected is discovered with a golf club skewered into his chest.
Virgil’s need to prove his innocence and his country-boy practicality leads him to escape from the court house where he’s being held and flee towards evidentiary support. The scene in which he escapes is a good one, humorous in its simplicity. The image below is of the author, Brad Smith. He is peering into the prison yard behind a court house upon which he based this scene. You’ll have to read the book, for the details on this one.
As a small-town girl, this novel appeals to me on many levels. I will happily read about a man hiding himself amongst hay and sneaking back onto his farm to water his horses. I also find much beauty and truth in the solidarity of small-town friendships, which Brad clearly writes from experience. If you’re a fan of Neil Young and Hank Williams, if you like crime fiction with a darker edge, like works by Elmore Leonard, Dennis Lehane or James Lee Burke, then I think you’ll like this one.
A few of us went down to Brad’s farmhouse in the country, near the north shore of Lake Erie, to film a trailer for Red Means Run under the direction of a very cool and talented filmmaker. Just wait until you see it.
Here are some behind-the-scenes shots:
The getaway car:
Publisher’s Weekly says of Red Means Run, “Smith (Busted Flush) eschews pyrotechnics in favor of character in this assured crime novel, the first in a new series set in upstate New York.”
Check out the final product
Film by Adam Vollick.