City Of The Dead
by Daniel Blake
After suffering the consequences of a case gone bad, Pittsburgh homicide detective Franco Patrese wants a complete change of scenery. Calling on a buddy in the FBI, he secures a position with the New Orleans field office. Not too far into his time, he is approached by the personal assistant of one of New Orleans’ wealthiest men. Before she has a chance to pass along important information, she is murdered. Poisoned from a rattlesnake and her leg amputated. Soon, two more corpses in the same condition are discovered. Teaming up with a spirited New Orleans homicide detective are faced with several avenues of leads. The governor, a drug dealer, even a supposed descendant of Marie Leveau,. Just when they think they have everything wrapped up, something niggles Patrese to keep searching for the truth. However, the summer is moving on and unbeknownst to anybody, a new enemy is soon to overwhelm the city and her name is Katrina.
There are so many twists and turns to this puzzler but I knew that going in. What a concept! Like many novels from Blake (and his alter ego Boris Starling) everything is connected in some way. There is nothing left to question. A ‘simple’ set of murders turns into something unforeseen until nearly the end.
Franco Patrese: Formerly of the the Pittsburgh homicide department for over ten years. Did a lot of diving as a youth, has 2 sisters and a nephew, parents dead in a car accident, drives an old TransAm, attended University of Pittsburgh
Selma Fawcett: Black, New Orleans homicide, doesn’t like the FBI, a head shorter than Franco, used to be in Internal Affairs, divorced, 7th Day Adventist, 5 brothers.
Wyndam Phelps: Special Agent In charge of the New Orleans FBI field office, divorced
St. John Varden: elusive, CEO of Varden Industries, unimposing, average height
St. John Varden, Jr.: governor of Louisiana, hazel eyes, black hair, olive skin, war hero with several commendations, Christian
I love these characters, including Marie Leveau and other supporting cast members. Good background information and Blake gives you just enough to where the connections aren’t unbelievable.
Distinctive voices between white and black characters, rich and poor. No conversation is unimportant or goes off course. Basic and no nonsense.
Chapters are headed by date or location and are of various length. Some profanity and graphic details. I thought when the scenes shifted south of the border that the story was going a little wonky, but everything fits. Good descriptions and excellent, tight action scenes. Details regarding the city are just enough to give you a real sense of the attitudes and the culture. I was expecting was very good writing and I wasn’t disappointed. This is a story that will keep you guessing till the end and it left me amazed at the connections between characters and setting. I want more Blake novels.