April 04, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment News
Hudson Lake is a blend of fact and fiction, bringing together notable historic personalities in the quiet resort town of New Carlisle, Indiana.

During the summer of 1926, jazz lovers from all over the Midwest traveled each weekend to the Blue Lantern Inn to hear an up-and-coming musician wail on his cornet. The local bandleader had snared Bix Beiderbecke, a gifted horn player with a reputation for big sounds and fast living, so the music – and the social scene – was hot.

Beiderbecke became a jazz legend before tragically dying at age 28. But during that summer at the Blue Lantern on Hudson Lake, he was still a relative unknown, honing the skills that would make him a star – along with the drinking and rough life style that contributed to his untimely death.

Toops, who is an expert on the Jazz Age, creates an ensemble of memorable characters who interact with the young Beiderbecke — including Chicago gangland kingpin Al Capone and his bodyguard and top triggerman, “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

"Hudson Lake is a vivid, poignant, sexy tale of the Jazz Age, built around one of America's greatest and most intriguing musicians,” says Kevin Baker, critically acclaimed author of Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Strivers Row. “Laura Mazzuca Toops knows her music, and her history."

And Bill Ott of Booklist says, "Toops' ability to capture the intoxicating mix of energy and danger that defined the early days of jazz makes the novel required reading for anyone caught up in the enduring Bix legend."

Toops is a Chicago-area writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Reader, and other local and national publications. She has taught fiction writing at the College of DuPage and Columbia College and is the author of four books: A Native's Guide to Chicago's Western Suburbs, The Latham Loop, Slapstick, and Hudson Lake.

For more information see www.lauratoops.com or e-mail the author at LmazzToops@aol.com

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