River City Blues

  • by Ward Howarth
  • Narrated by Ward Paxton
  • 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It's early 1944 and Richmond, Virginia is a devil's paradise. Ration scams and police corruption are rampant while the inflated black market commands top dollar.
Detective Sergeant Bennie Sherwood, fresh off a soul-scarring tour of duty with the Marines, couldn't care less. His old man was recently murdered under suspect circumstances, and he's on a hunt for the truth.
But then an old friend is killed during a botched black market raid and Bennie is thrust onto a hellride through Richmond's underworld. Suddenly, he's at the front lines of a new kind of war, one that's played out in gentlemen's clubs and back alleys between tobacco kingpins and numbers runners.
It's a dark, twisted journey that will test Bennie's every limit, even as it gets him closer to the truth about his father...
Until, that is, he's framed for murder.
Now the subject of a citywide manhunt, Bennie must choose - disappear into the shadows and succumb to his fractured mind, or confront his darkest fears and root out the evil that has infested his city.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An exhilarating twisted page turner!

Any additional comments?

River City Blues is a suspenseful thriller that is intriguing and well written. There were many twists and turns that formed a believable plot. There was a lot of action and suspense with just a little romance to keep my interest piqued. This author really knows how to build up the suspense and keep your attention to the very end. The characters are well developed although I did not feel any attachment to any of them. Listening to the book, there was definitely a police feel to it.


Ward Paxton did a great job with the narration. He had a clear and crisp voice that was easy to follow and listen to. Ward had a good variation of voices for the different characters. There was good inflection during the heightened times such as stress, anger, drama, danger, etc.

This is the first book that I have read by Ward Howarth. I recommend River City Blues to anyone that enjoys reading a suspense/thriller that will keep you entertained all the way to the end.

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- Between the Coverz

It was the jungle, all over again

What did you love best about River City Blues?

Oh, it was a very engrossing listen. I was taken back to the 40s, but the struggles feel ever-so-fresh. There's racial prejudice - downplayed, but present - and homophobia. There's PSTD, and love, and loyalty.

Will this book revolutionize the genre? No, but it did a damn fine job fitting in and entertaining me. I took a star from storytelling because while I felt for Benny and some other people that had their story revealed by the end, I didn't get attached to many of the other characters, really.


What does Ward Paxton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Ward Paxton sounds so badass. No, really! I don't think I would have been able to get the same enjoyment from the book had I not heard it in his voice - I think I would have imagined a completely different one.

At times it was really easy to imagine I was in the 40s, in a smoky detective's office, and Ward Paxton telling me this story standing next to a window complete with a fedora, coat, and cigarette. It would be a rainy night, the sound of sirens echoing in the empty streets...

...that's the kind of vibe I got.


Any additional comments?

When I asked for a free copy in exchange for an honest review, I didn't know what to expect. This is not a perfect book, but I got a "Makes me want to smoke a cigarette while looking out of some half open venetian blinds on to a rainy street and internally explain my story of lust greed and betrayal" feeling.

I had noir jazz playing quietly while reading, and I do recommend this to any future reader, by the way.

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- Audiobookish

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-15-2017
  • Publisher: Ward Howarth