Three gifted musicians rise up out of tragic childhoods that included verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by their fathers. Digger, Chip, and Aria put their pasts behind them, blend their talents together, and achieve stardom on the stage in the songs they write and perform.
Digger is verbally and physically abused by his father, the owner of a mortuary who forces his son to play hymns at services to soothe mourners as repayment for his piano lessons. Chip’s father is sent to jail for murdering his mother, and Chip must abandon his beloved dog and home to live in a trailer in the mountains with his grandparents. Aria silently endures the nightly horror of rape by her father and seeks sanctuary in the church choir under the tutelage of a former country music star. Each finds comfort in music and devotes focus to their instrument—Digger, the keyboard; Chip, the guitar; and Aria, her voice.
Best friends Digger and Chip find a drummer, start a band, and then hit the road. They play in dive bars throughout the South and casinos along the Gulf Coast. The trio catches the eye of an agent, Eli Bowditch, who lures them to Nashville—Music City USA! Eli adds the beautiful blonde singer, Aria, to the boys’ band, changes its name to Summer Haze, and sends them on tour. Performance by performance, success comes, but resentment, jealousy, and suspicion threaten to fracture the band. Tragedy brings them down before they enjoy the final product of their success—a newly cut album.
The novel Summer Haze is a coming of age of three youths—their bond of creative talent and skills mixed with friendship, their struggle for success and against infighting, and their handling of fame followed by loss. In the end, Chip is left with a struggle to reclaim his potential and future.