The music business is full of wannabees and phonies, plus talented and honest people. Guitarist and author Bruce Forman takes his readers to the edge and back in this tale of ambition, fraud, passion, and self-realization. No, it’s not a romance novel and no, it’s not a mystical new age puff piece. His hero is a genuine musical tour de force in need of some rude awakenings, and his villain is a bad guy who plays his dupes like finely-tuned instruments.
Wandering around Books By the Bay last July I heard a guitarist playing sublime renderings of jazz standards. Following my ears, I observed Bruce Forman in conversation with a potential reader while simultaneously working through complicated, subtle jazz changes. After the windbag departed I made arrangements to receive a review copy of Trust Me, which turned out to be the most memorable novel I’ve read in a couple of years. If you have any interest in learning about the seamier side of the business of music, you’ll be well-served reading this book.
Bruce’s prose, plot, and character development will not place him in any upper crust literary circles, but don’t let that concern you. The story evolves organically, as if Forman (or his main character) was creating a theme-based somewhat freestyle musical composition from scratch. Sounds weird? Not really.
Sam Mann is a struggling, talented San Francisco jazz guitarist. Circumstances place him in the company of new acquaintances who will ultimately save and nurture his life, if not advance his career. That task falls to Sam’s new manager, Jimm Dibbook, a strange name befitting a weird dude. This devilish slimeball promises greatness to Sam, who falls for the transparent ruse. End of story? No, merely its kernel. Don’t panic.
Jimm arranges a little disappearing act for Sam, during which he becomes much more than a mere musician. I’m not going to attempt to expose the plot, because the reader’s discovery parallels Sam’s. If you find yourself wondering if these characters are supposed to be “real,” chill out and keep reading.
My time with Trust Me was interrupted by a week’s travel, during which I didn’t bring the book (I was traveling really light). Sam and Jimm and their shenanigans got under my skin, leaving me nearly breathless to finish the novel upon returning home. The story lingers in my mind, like a great jazz masterpiece. Book Bytes applauds Bruce Forman’s first novel, and encourages him to work on his writer’s chops.
Oh, yes. Please take a few minutes to look over his personal web site. You’ll be impressed, I expect.