NEWS FLASH: “Grave Digger Blues” is a hardboiled, lyrical, surreal crime novel set in the last few weeks before the end of the world. See the rave critical comments below. Order your signed print edition of this heavily illustrated, 200 page trade paperback edition here. In Austin, the book is available at South Congress Books, Yard Dog and BookPeople.

This dark, lyrical, hallucinatory novel is also available for Kindle devices and enhanced editions for iPad. Both editions include more than 100+ photos and drawings (most of which were created or commissioned specifically for the digital edition). The Blues Deluxe Edition for Apple iPad is studded with original music video, graphics, and music video intro from the author. Download the iPad version from iTunes for $2.99 or the Kindle version from Amazon  for $1.99.

Or buy the barebones edition — text only — is available at Smashwords or iTunes for only $0.99.

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”) and have watched it several times, and I dig the soundtrack on soundcloud and all the spoken word stuff. 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

“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)


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.


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.

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.

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. 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.


Leave a Reply