cover image JASS


David Fulmer, . . Harcourt, $23 (334pp) ISBN 978-0-15-101025-7

Set in early 20th-century Storyville, the New Orleans red-light district, Shamus-winner Fulmer's moody follow-up to Chasing the Devil's Tail (2001) uses spare but evocative prose to create an atmosphere steeped in ragtime, bourbon and the institutional corruption for which the Big Easy is notorious. The author skillfully builds on the emotional aftermath of the first novel, providing his multiracial Creole detective, Valentin St. Cyr, with plenty of demons to wrestle while giving new readers the all-important backstory. St. Cyr must set aside his troubles in order to solve the mystery of four brutally murdered jazz musicians. His investigation pits him against both Lieutenant Picot, his former boss in the New Orleans police department, and his current employer, Tom Anderson, the "King of Storyville," while further jeopardizing his already shaky relationship with girlfriend Justine, a former prostitute (or, in the local vernacular, "sporting girl"). Jelly Roll Morton and legendary madam Miss Lulu also figure prominently in this meaty, dark page-turner, which should appeal particularly to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist . Agent, Laura Langlie. (Jan. 17)