cover image The Dying Crapshooter's Blues

The Dying Crapshooter's Blues

David Fulmer, . . Harcourt, $23 (305pp) ISBN 978-0-15-101175-9

In this departure from his New Orleans novels featuring Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr (Rampart Street , etc.), Fulmer paints the sprawling vitality of 1920s Atlanta with broad strokes. Joe Rose, an itinerant love 'em and leave 'em–style thief of uncertain racial extraction who moves uneasily in both black and white Atlanta, finds himself in the middle of a murderous mess that highlights the city's rampant racism and corruption as well as the stark contrasts between privilege and poverty. A white cop guns down a Negro gambler, Little Jesse Williams, while a jewelry robbery mars a Yuletide party at one of Atlanta's finest mansions on the other side of town. Joe gets caught in a vise operated by a brutal detective, Capt. Grayton Jackson, intent on "solving" the crime in the quickest way possible. Little Jesse expires over the course of days, Joe promises to discover why he was shot and the odious Jackson squeezes Joe to recover the stolen jewels or pay the price for the crime. Occasionally florid writing clouds this otherwise vital effort from Shamus-winner Fulmer. (Jan.)