A saxophonist’s murder is only the first shot fired in a citywide warAll great blues musicians chase something. Raymond “Strong” Carlisle calls it “the deep sweet”—that perfect note that always seems to sit just out of reach. For decades he has made crowds swing, made women smile, and earned the respect of some of the greats. But as long as he strained for the deep sweet, nothing he did with his baritone sax seemed to matter. Chasing that fantasy has led him here, to lie in the rain beneath a sycamore, counting his bullet holes as he dies. The detective on the scene is Dennis Murchison, a white cop who has seen too many murders to be shocked by a dead blues man. As he eliminates possible suspects, he’s left to decide between a lowlife drug pusher and Toby Marchand—Strong Carlisle’s son. As the city heaves into violent frenzy, Murchison finds that answers hover like the deep sweet: just out of reach.