When most think about books by country music artists, autobiographies and cook books come to mind. Charley Pride's amazing life story and Alan Jackson's favorite Southern-fried recipes made for great reads, but so have works of historical fiction reflecting Johnny Cash's Christian faith and more modern tales of hapless country singers, amateur detectives and star-crossed lovers.
If your wishlist lacks fiction novels penned by country artists, consider the following selections.
Brooks & Dunn's The Adventures of Slim & Howdy
Country Music Hall of Famers Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn worked with novelist Bill Fitzhugh to tell the comic adventures of two Texas troubadours. Per its Amazon description, the book "follows lanky, laconic Slim and romantic, goofy Howdy as the two troubadours ramble around the Texas honky-tonk circuit. There's the time Slim, armed with a pair of hedge clippers, reclaims his stolen guitar from Brushfire Boone; or the hot double date that ends with a pantsless Howdy dodging bullets. The boys land a steady gig at a roadhouse in Del Rio until its owner is kidnapped and ransomed. With no shortage of suspects, the boys follow the trail into the Mexican desert, where a zany cast of bad guys gathers for the boffo final shootout."
Johnny Cash's The Man in White
In a twist on his Man in Black moniker, Cash wrote historical novel The Man in White about one of the most influential men in the Bible, the Apostle Paul (that's Protestant for St. Paul).
Per Google Books, Cash's only novel "weaves a fascinating story of the apostle's single-minded, zealous persecution of the early Christians and his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus."
In this context, the transformation of the wicked Pharisee known as Saul of Tarsus into the author of at least 13 books of the New Testament (Hebrews is uncredited but believed by some to be written by Paul) mirrors Cash's own faith-filled ascent from addiction to touring with longtime friend Billy Graham.
"See Paul as you've never seen him before—through the creative imagination of one of the greatest singer-songwriters America has ever known," reads a book description quoted by Google Books. "Subsequently see Johnny Cash, the man in Black, as you've never seen him before—as a passionate novelist consumed with the Man in White."
Steve Earle's I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Earle's supernatural tale involves the ghost of Hank Williams and the doctor whose morphine dosage might've killed the greatest honky-tonk singer to ever grace the Grand Ole Opry stage. Just like his short story anthology Doghouse Roses, Earle's fiction novel captures the sorts of character studies we expect from a legendary songwriter.
Sara Evans' Songbird Trilogy
Evans teamed with Rachel Hauck to tell the three-part love story of Jade Fitzgerald and Max Benson. Like Cash's The Man in White, these Thomas Nelson releases appeal to the overlapping Christian fiction and country music audiences.
Evans has since finished an autobiography, Born to Fly (out Sept. 8, 2020 via Howard Books).
The Many Fruits of Kinky Friedman's Creative Imagination
One of the most colorful characters to emerge from Texas over the past 50 years has flexed his creative muscle with more than just songs like "Sold American." Kinky Friedman has written numerous mystery novels starring himself as a New York City detective. More specifically, 1994's Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola's description introduces its author and lead character as "a Jewish Texan country-and-western singer turned Greenwich Village amateur detective, with a collection of smelly cigars, a cat, and two former—but simultaneous—girlfriends named Judy."