Dark End of the Street (Nick Travers)

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9780060004606: Dark End of the Street (Nick Travers)

The plan is simple. A favor really. All Nick Travers, a former professional football player turned professor, has to do is drive up Highway 61 from New Orleans to Memphis and track down the lost brother of one of his best friends. But as Travers knows, these simple jobs seldom turn out smoothly.

His friend's brother is Clyde James, who, in 1968, was one of the finest soul singers Memphis had to offer. But when James's wife and close friend were murdered, his life was shattered. He turned to the streets, where, decades ago, he disappeared.

Travers's search for the singer soon leads him to the casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, and converges with the agenda of the Dixie Mafia, a zealot gubernatorial candidate linked to a neo-Confederacy movement, and an obsessed killer who thinks he has a true spiritual link to the late Elvis Presley.

Welcome to Ace Atkins's new South, where you won't find a single southern belle or dripping magnolia. With a precise eye for detail, Atkins takes Travers on a journey into the hidden pockets of New Orleans, the battered roadhouses and truck stops of Mississippi, and the streets of Memphis that only an insider could know.

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Review:

Jazz historian and wannabe PI Nick Travers comes to the aid of a young woman in trouble and gets in a lot more as a result in this lively caper involving the Dixie Mafia, a decades-old murder, political skullduggery, and a hit man who thinks he's Elvis's younger brother. A strong narrative and excellent sense of place pervades the newest outing in this good--and getting better--series, but what matters almost as much is the music both the author and his hero love, which reveals itself in the nicely cadenced prose and a plot featuring the old Delta blues men Atkins admiringly portrays. It all makes for an enjoyable evening of reading that would have been even better if they'd shipped a CD of the music Nick and his creator like best along with it. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

Ace Atkins, an Alabama native, earned nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the Livingston Award for his work covering crime at the Tampa Tribune. He now lives on a century-old farm outside Oxford, Mississippi, with his faithful mutts Elvis and Polk Salad Annie. And yes, Ace is his real name.

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