Storyville, New Orleans, 1907.
Along these scarlet streets, two thousand “sporting women” service gentlemen and rounders in grand mansions and filthy dime-a-trick cribs. The rye whiskey flows like a brown river and morphine and cocaine are sold over the counter. Meanwhile, the first crazy notes of the music they call “jass” are blasting out of the saloons and dance halls.
Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr pursues a killer among the hustlers, pimps, fancy men, madams, whores, and thieves who swarm the twenty blocks after the sun goes down. With a fascinating cast of characters that includes Tom Anderson, the “King of Storyville,” the lovely one-time “dove” Justine, the famed madam Lulu White, and the lunatic jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, Valentin polices a miasma of corruption and sin.
The Shamus Award-winning novel melds history and fiction in a tale of mayhem, madness, and murder in the only legally-sanctioned red light district in American history.