Tony Aapt

Created by Rex Anderson

Lawnmower Blues, Rex Anderson’s 1998 novel, received a fair amount attention (albeit not commercially) among the early self-publishing crowd when it was first released way back in 1998 by Hard Shell Word Factory, mostly because it was one of the first of a slew of e-books (available on 3.5″ diskettes!) commercially distributed on the Web.

Still, the buzz at the time was that it was a pretty good read (“really, really, really, really, really, really good,” as one Amazon reviewer put it), full of intriguing major and minor characters. In fact, seven years later, Five Stars felt the story was still good enough to re-release it in good ol’ hardcover in a, according to the author, “much re-worked form, about 10% longer, not to mention that it was also finally professionally edited.” It also got a new cover.

A sign of things to come, perhaps.

TONY AAPT, an affable thirty-something, is a Houston private eye, more reluctant than hard-boiled,  who would do almost anything not to be a P.I. anymore. But he’s saddled with the struggling detective agency he inherited from his grandfather, mostly working “domestic reconnaissance,” and almost broke. So he takes on a case for Maggie, his bartender buddy — and recent sweepstakes winner — who wants him to look into the supposed suicide of her husband thirty-three years ago. Maggie, as they say, makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

Author Anderson was born and grew up in northern Oklahoma, where his parents had a farm and he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in psychology. His various jobs to support his writing habit have included selling snow cones, working in an animal hospital, cutting down trees in Yellowstone Park, tending bar, working for an oil company, a candy company, a research company, a major communications company, a hotel company, and a supermarket, and owning a personnel service, as well as taking some time out “to play hippie.”  He currently lives in Houston, the setting of most of his mystery novels, which include Cover Her With Roses, Night Calls, and My Dead Brother.

Alas, Tony never showed up again. And those 3.5″ diskettes? Even Amazon doesn’t sell ’em anymore. More surprising is that the book was never released on Kindle.


  • “Anderson is adept at creating quirky characters, not the least of which is Tony himself. His latest story is like its protagonist: fun, easygoing, and endearing.”
    — Jenny McLarinBooklist (2005)
  • “What really makes Lawnmower Blues worth reading is some wonderful writing. The first-person narration is fast and breezy and pretty funny in places, and Anderson does a great job with the setting… He also populates this novel with a multitude of eccentric, vividly drawn characters, none of them better than Tony himself. Smart, funny, flawed, and persistent, driven by a moral code that he struggles with, the reader can’t help but like him and root for him.”
    — James Reasoner


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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