cover image Mardi Gras Mambo

Mardi Gras Mambo

Greg Herren, . . Kensington, $14 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-0830-9

Herren serves up an entertaining gumbo of New Age spirituality, clairvoyance, international intrigue and hometown boosterism in his third New Orleans gay noir featuring PI and former go-go dancer Scotty Bradley (after 2004's Jackson Square Jazz ). When red-eyed Scotty arrives home at dawn after a night of pre–Mardi Gras partying, he finds two detectives waiting to question him about his recreational drug connection, Russian emigré Misha Saltikov. Scotty was seen visiting Misha in the French Quarter the previous evening shortly before the man was found murdered. The path to solving the crime leads Scotty to his own eccentric family as well as a pair of Russian doppelgängers and secrets long buried. Meanwhile, Scotty's unorthodox love-à-trois with ex-FBI hunk Frank Sobieski and man-of-mystery Colin Cioni reaches its pinnacle just before Frank is kidnapped and Colin disappears. Implausible coincidences don't detract from the fast-moving plot. The suggestive cover art gives fair warning of graphic gay sex, but the protagonist's quirky charm will appeal to all readers. (Mar.)