David Fulmer, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (226pp) ISBN 978-1-890208-84-4

Storyville, New Orleans, the most historic red-light district in the United States, where the music of Jelly Roll Morton and "King" Buddy Bolden is ushering in the jazz age, provides the stage for this riveting and provocative debut mystery of sex, alcohol, drugs, insanity and murder. When two prostitutes are found murdered and marked with a black rose, Tom Anderson, political boss and the "King of Storyville," calls in Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr. While the death toll mounts, St. Cyr doesn't want to believe that all indications point to his childhood friend, Buddy Bolden. Bolden, who has risen to fame with the "jass" music of his horn, has become more than erratic in his behavior. As St. Cyr watches his friend self-destruct, he wonders if Buddy is indeed the killer. The author vividly describes early 20th-century New Orleans, from the large and elegant houses of the madams to the infested rooms of the crib girls that reflect the distinct and rigid caste system of the day. After a frustrating investigation, the pieces of the puzzle come together in a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Fulmer's use of historical figures such as Tom Anderson, Buddy Bolden, piano player Ferdinand LeMenthe (who would later be known as Jelly Roll Morton), E.J. Bellocq, the photographer of New Orleans whores, and the famous madam Lulu White authenticate an already believable and spellbinding story, which will echo in the reader's mind like the mournful notes of good blues. Agent, Laura Langlie. (Nov. 1)

Forecast:With Italian rights sold to Rizzoli, blurbs from Jeffery Deaver and James Sallis, as well as a regional author tour, this first novel should generate a lot of buzz—and generous sales.