This “irresistible” police procedural “bares the New Orleans underbelly few tourists get to see” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
NYPD detective Neil Hockaday has traveled to the Big Easy, hometown of his wife, African-American actress Ruby Flagg. Her family was driven from their home long ago by an evangelical church and fell on hard times, but Ruby fled and found a life for herself in New York.
And this won’t be a peaceful visit for Hock. In a city famed as much for its corruption as its cuisine, he’ll become entangled in a web of not only family secrets but also politics and murder, dealing with a preacher, a scamming alderman, and even some voodoo, with only a little time left over to attend a jazz funeral or take in the other city sights . . .
“Intelligent . . . sharp-witted and perceptive.” —Susan Isaacs, author of Compromising Positions
“Compelling.” —Los Angeles Times
“Marvelous characters.” —The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Voodoo and murder mix with hot spices, gothic footnotes and a Cajun accent on the American vernacular in this irresistible narrative gumbo set in the Crescent City. Adcock (Drown All the Dogs) sends Neil Hockaday, his reformed boozer of a NYPD officer, to New Orleans to visit his black wife Ruby's family. While the criminal chronology may be as murky as the Mississippi, the atmosphere is lavish and very effectively applied. Ruby's family were poor once, driven from their house when an evangelical church seized their property. Her father passed away; her aunt died in New York of a heroin overdose; a young cousin turned to crime. The church meanwhile flourished. Now the cousin is wanted by the police as a witness to a murder, one of a number of deaths in which poor blacks are branded and slaughtered. Hock, stumbling into the middle of things, walks into the heart of the projects, is shot at by three masked men in a jeep, finds the cousin before the cops and exposes the racism and poverty that Ruby fled the fine city to forget. Although it's not quite clear when all the deaths happened, Adcock bares the New Orleans underbelly few tourists get to see, giving readers no time for a beignet break but offering several chilling moments to savor: a dead spirit summoned amid a frenzied religious tableau, a lost boy-child and a lost child-man. On the warmer side, there's a wild jazz funeral staged for the tourists, a streetcar ride along elegant St. Charles Avenue and Hock reconciled with more than just his new family.