Austin-set mystery found at library

South Austin Vampire, by Russ Hall, is on the new-books shelf at the main library. “Vampire” is something of a red herring, “South Austin” has nothing much to do with the story, “Austin” is a somewhat nebulous presence in the book.

We read of South Lamar “Street” but we also find references to Don Walser and Hut’s, here in the “Live Music Capital of America.” There are passing mentions of “Matt’s El Ranchero” and of the late, lamented Roy’s Taxi, described as having lime green [not!] and red cabs. The most clever allusion is to one “Dutch Hitchcock” (read “Butch Hancock“), complete with a mention to the long defunct real-life gallery and shop on Brazos Street called Lubbock or Leave It.

The blurb on the flap of the dust jacket describes a trail that goes winding all over town, from fortune teller to music performance and recording venues to neighborhoods of wealth and the seats of political power. The protagonist is one Travis, the blue-eyed Indian. I’m not sorry that I read this, but I recommend it only to the curious. There’s no mystery here.

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