Legendary country music star Driftin’ Luke Carter had a heart attack and died in a small country airport in 1957, and that same night a honky-tonk just outside Montgomery, Alabama called the Cadillac Club burned to the ground, killing Jolene McAlester, her father Jake, and about a hundred of the club’s regular customers. The next week, the ghostly form of Luke showed up at the burned out club, walked through the door, and he, Jake and Jolene have spent the years since then looking for just the right young star to take up Luke’s mantle, carry on in his footsteps, and free everyone in the Cadillac Club so they can move on with their deaths. One night some 15 years ago, aspiring country singer and songwriter Morgan Nichols was on his way to do a show in Montgomery when his van overheated and he had to walk to the nearest service station for antifreeze. As he walked down a country road near the site of the old club, he was reflecting on his lack of success in the music business, and he recklessly says he’d make a deal with the Devil for his shot at superstardom. The trouble starts when Luke and Jake hear the words and bring Morgan into the Cadillac Club for an audition. Based on Morgan’s talent and ambition, a Real Deal is struck, and Morgan heads back out into the glittering world of country music with Jolene at his side, a cursed guitar in his arms, and Luke Carter himself wheeling, dealing and calling the shots just as he had when he was still alive. Morgan never stops to think about the day when he will be asked to live up to his side of the bargain. He’s too busy helping himself to the gold that he’s found at the end of the Neon Rainbo.
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E. Don Harpe resides with his wife Helen in rural Georgia, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. In his 2007 memoir - The Last Of The South Town Rinky Dinks - Harpe included a chapter that told of his lifelong love of country music, and it was that chapter that inspired him to pull out a story he’d started some years ago and finally finish it. A prolific short story writer, Harpe is also a songwriter and many of his songs have been recorded. Same as his protagonist in Neon Rainbow, he too has lived the high and lows of Nashville music most of his life.
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