>> Sunday, August 19, 2007
Challenges: Summer Mystery Reading Challenge #6
Once again, I have to thank My Surly Friend because without her, I'd never have heard about Ace Atkins. This book is the first in a series that I definitely plan to continue reading.
Nick Travers is a former professional football player who is now teaching the History of Blues at Tulane and occasionally playing harmonica at his friend, JoJo’s club in (pre-Katrina) New Orleans. When a fellow professor disappears while researching Blues legend Robert Johnson in Mississippi, Nick gets involved and ends up entwined in the mystery of not only the disappearance of his colleague, but also in the legend of the life and mysterious death of Johnson back in 1938.
The writing definitely sets a mood, not only of New Orleans and Mississippi, but the music and culture of the blues as well. The bad guys are really nasty, Nick is likeable, but flawed, and the story takes many twists and turns, some of which involve a scary Elvis lookalike and worshipper. Robert Johnson is a real person and his death really is a bit of a mystery. Atkins deftly uses that as a starting point and blends it into an interesting and very moody story. I look forward to continuing with the Nick Travers series.
Confession time: I have admit that whenever I put this book down I made sure it was face down. The cover image is perfect and well-suited for the book. It was just a shame, however, to put this book down without leaving the author’s photo on the back in plain view.