cover image Good Junk: A Cliff St. James Novel

Good Junk: A Cliff St. James Novel

Ed Kovacs. Minotaur, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-31260-089-1

Set a year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Kovacs’s outstanding second Cliff St. James novel (after 2011’s Storm Damage) finds St. James, a private investigator who’s also a mixed martial arts instructor, distraught over accidentally killing his opponent during a sparring session. The self-doubt St. James now feels proves a handicap when his close friend and not quite lover, NOPD homicide detective Honey Baybee, recruits him to officially assist with what she believes is a murder/suicide case. Two dead men, possibly gay lovers, have turned up in a grubby parking lot, one of them with his brains blown out in the passenger seat of a Mercedes S550. As both victims did sensitive work for the Defense Department at the local NASA assembly facility, St. James and Baybee encounter more than a little federal interference with the case. St. James may fit the familiar wiseass detective mold, but powerful prose that evokes a city still struggling to recover its infrastructure and identity elevates this well beyond most other contemporary PI novels. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Dec.)