Grave Digger Blues, apocalyptic pulp fiction, detective fiction, hardboiled, noir, Jesse Sublett

NEWS FLASH: The trade paperback edition of Grave Digger Blues is now available at select locations. The book is currently for sale in Austin at South Congress Books, Yard Dog and BookPeople.  An alternate way to acquire one is to buy from the author, here, or at one of my gigs. The book is 200 pages, trade size (6″ x 9″), softcover, with almost 100 illustrations, many of them brand new. The text content is basically the same as the iPad and Kindle versions. Books sell for $19.95 plus $5 for US shipping. For international shipping, multiple copies, or other inquiries, email me at jessesublett(one word)at+mac+dot+com.

Copies will soon be available at some of the finer Austin independent bookstores. I’ll update the list here when I remember to do so.

South Congress Books


Yard Dog 

Others to be added, but don’t look for them at the airport, HEB, or that dirty book store you like out on the freeway behind the Guns R Us.

SXSW 2013 was good: Our E-Book MeetUp, hosted by NETTIE REYNOLDS and myself, and sponsored by, was a big success. Thanks to everyone for coming, and showing your great interest.

More blurbs about Grave Digger Blues:

You are onto something with this, Jesse, I do believe. Probably you are several years ahead of the curve, but that day is coming and what you’ve put together shows how it’s gonna work. I like the video intro (“Johnny Heartbreak Blues”), by the way, have watched it several times and like the laid back groove on it. Listened to the soundcloud music, too, and the spoken word stuff. I can sorta experience how you want it to happen as I flip through the pdf of the text while listening to the cuts (though I’ve never been very good at reading while listening to music/lyrics). Hope you get the opportunity to try a live show presentation at some point, see how that flies. Thanks for sending this along so I could taste what you are up to. A labor of love, I suppose, until the world catches up. Which it will. But you were there first, amigo. All best luck and wishes! — Christopher Cook, author of ROBBERS and SCREEN DOOR JESUS


Christopher Cook is a Texas author who lives in Prague most of the time, also a friend of mine. You should check out his blog.

We also rec’d our first negative review of the book, from Candy Beauchamp, on Amazon, here. This may sound strange but I was kinda looking forward to a review of this sort. And I appreciate her reviewing the book; she even said she really wanted to like it, but…. didn’t. From the beginning, I knew that many readers out there would not get the style, would not fall into the druggy surrealistic stew of narrative, where some events may or may not be hallucinations, where  a headless supermodel, a super celebrity, is spoken of like Paris Hilton or Bob Dylan, her rumored appearances dotting the story like sightings of Big Foot or Elvis. I intentionally wrote Grave Digger Blues to separate the men from the boys, the women from the sorority girls, etc. So if you don’t like it, that’s fine, because although I have a heart as big as Antarctica, my skin is made of Teflon. Feel free to make your own comments on Amazon, but please be kind to Candy. You may want her to review your book someday.

UPDATE 1.9.13: SXSW 2013 Interactive, heads up! THE GRAVE DIGGER WILL BE THERE. I I, My Terrible Self, and my digital guru, NETTIE REYNOLDS, will be hosting an eBook Meet Up. That’s all I have right now, as I’m in the process of wading through the SXSW production thingie to get things set, but basically it will be a one hour session for anybody and everybody involved in digital publishing –authors, publishers, cover artists, publicists, etc.–to meet, exchange business cards or whatever, talk, moan, gush, groove.

UPDATE 1.8.12: GRAVE DIGGER BLUES, Bare Bones Edition now available at Smashwords for $0.99. “Bare Bones” means text only, but with the same insane narrative on hyperdrive packed with hardboiled action, surrealism, homicide blondes, jazz, blues and lyrical brutality, but bargain priced for those of you who don’t care to see 100+ photos of sexy women, doomed private eyes, urban wastelands and pix of Dick Cheney in drag, Reagan-faced monkeys and giant walking catfish.

Grave Digger Blues is a dark fever dream that’s part noir, part stand-up. Sublett’s writing is as apt to scare the hell out of you as it is to make you die laughing.”
Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Gun Church

Grave Digger Blues is a nasty, raunchy, rude-boy romp that I totally loved. In its sinister way it is very, very funny. The exquisitely rendered visuals and other enhancements are great. You’ll love it, especially if you hate the Beatles.” W.K. Stratton (Chasing the Rodeo, Boxing Shadows, Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Live of Boxing’s Invisible Champ)

Grave Digger Blues, the new eBook noir novella by Jesse Sublett, is now available for Kindle (including Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad, etc.) with 100+ photos and drawings, and also the Blues Deluxe Edition for Apple iPad–with original music video, graphics, and music video intro from the author. Download the iPad version from iTunes for $6.99 or the Kindle version from Amazon  for $4.99.

Sublett is the author of the Austin music scene novels Rock Critic Murders, Tough Baby and Boiled in Concrete, and also the true crime and music memoir, Never the Same Again. See details about these titles and other works on the Books page.

Never the Same Again is a harrowing, wrenching, spellbinding work of great candor and soul. Read it, think with it, dig it.”
  James Ellroy  (L.A. Confidential, American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand)

“Sublett takes us on a ride through life that is crazy, funny, and sometimes deeply tragic, but ultimately, inspiring and always highly readable survivor’s tale.”
 Michael Connelly (The Black Echo, The Lincoln Lawyer )

Other notable fans of Jesse’s writing include Richard Linklater (director of Slacker, School of Rock, etc.), Joe Nick Patoski (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life), Robert Draper (Dead Certain, Do Not Ask What Good We Do), Reed Farrel Coleman,  Ace Atkins, and the late Robert B. Parker.

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GRAVE DIGGER BLUES out now for iPad also Kindle, iPhone, etc.

The iPad version of Grave Digger Blues was developed using Apple’s iBooks Author app, which allows the user to incorporate graphics, 3D, mp3s, video and other media. Compelling images by Austin art photographers Mona Pitts and Ricardo Acevedo, plus drawings by Sublett, add intensity and weirdness to the narrative.

The iPad version has 30 minutes of music (Sublett’s original murder ballads and blues) and audio versions of selected chapters, the soundtracks of which are collaborations between Sublett and Fort Worth blues musician Johnny Reno. There are also links to more related theme music and other audio works online.

The Kindle edition has the same collection of photos and other images (over 100 in all), but lacks the multi-touch functions and the additional media (music, audio and some video) of the iPad version. Most of the screen shots here are from the iPad version, but a couple of shots of the Kindle version on the iPhone are below.

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Grave Digger Blues calling on my iPhone.

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The Blues Cat has women trouble, Kindle edition on the iPhone.

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photo Ricardo Acevedo

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Grave Digger Blues for the iPad, photos by Mona Pitts.


This is something really different. Grave Digger Blues is a departure from Jesse Sublett’s excellent books. The Martin Fender series takes the detective novel on a tour through the music demi monde by way of Austin. His memoir,Never the Same Again is as enthralling as any work of fiction and it’s real.  Now, he’s trying something new. Grave Digger Blues brings in Sci-fi, a bit of poetry, and art. It’s nothing less than an attempt to re-think the novel for the digital age and it’s really brave. Some sections work better than others, but it’s a good ride. I’m hoping that Sublett plans to take this further, he’s on to something and I want to see where it goes.  — Kathleen Maher, writer


Grave Digger Blues is perhaps too gentle a name for Jesse Sublett’s vision of the end of the world as we know it. To sing the blues, you have to have lived the blues. To write about hell on earth, you have to have lived it. Jesse has, and has emerged the stronger and more perceptive for it. Grave Digger Blues showcases his prowess as a writer, songwriter, performer, and graphic artist. I am jealous of precious few writers; Jesse Sublett is one of them. –Richard Zelade, author



Grave Digger Blues is a blast of surreal, post-apocalyptic noir, set during the last weeks of the world. Dual protagonists drive the narrative–Hank Zzybnx, a damaged war vet private eye, and The Blues Cat, an itinerant, doomed jazz musician. Here in the end times, with high radiation and society in tatters, murder for hire is the primary work left for private detectives, and although discriminating about the contracts he accepts, his attitude is a blend of expediency and pragmatism.  He says: “There’s always some scummy son of a bitch out there who needs killing, and somebody willing to pay for the job.” He’s not troubled by his work. He’s never been a good sleeper anyway, and he never has dreams–good or bad–but he is haunted by the benevolent ghost of Marilyn Monroe and his grifter mother, who hated him before he was born.

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Hank Zzybnx, the Last Detective at the End of the World

The Blues Cat travels from town to town on an endless string of one nighters, attracting an endless parade of troubled women. He lugs his upright bass and a battered suitcase, his only possessions, from one rotting metropolis to another, wondering why so many women have tried to kill him. Shadowing the Cat’s every step is The Muffin Man, an elephantine thug employed by a vengeful billionaire named Big Bill Clyde.

In the dystopian world of Grave Digger Blues, grizzly bears and alligators have invaded the cities, walking catfish prowl the exurbs, and the best bar in town is the Morgue, so-named because its previous incarnation was the cold storage of the dead; now its industrial sized refrigerator serves an even more noble purpose: sweet relief for the last survivors of the rotting Republic.

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multi-touch features, e.g. audiobook chapters + original music.

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Newt Gingrich was one of the right wingers left out in the cold after the great Republican coup, now working as a security guard for WalMart and strangling puppies in the circus.

After the Republican coup, when the wacked out right wingers blew up the White House, the federal government was replaced by a corporate board of directors, but some of the plotters have fallen on hard times. Dick Cheney is a drag queen… Newt Gingrich is a security guard at WalMart who moonlights with a circus strangling puppies, but the big attraction at the side show is a Reagan-faced monkey who quotes lines from Reagan’s most famous speeches. Thus the chapter titled “Morning in America.”

SUBSCRIBE to this blog for more updates on sequels to Grave Digger Blues, plus more music, more associated art. Download the iPad version or the Kindle version, tell your friends about it, and cheer up, it’s only the end of the world. At this rate, we’ll still have plenty of booze left when the lights go out.

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Grizzly bears and alligators have invaded the cities

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“Morning in America” has new meaning in the post-apocalypse.