Five years after he gets framed for killing streetcorner hustler Junior Obregon, and several hours alter his waiting girlfriend Lottie Sonnier gets executed gangland style, ex-cop Israel Daggett, released from Angola, pulls back into New Orleans. Even before Iz finds out about Lottie's death, gangster Joe Dante's slant-eyed mistress Stella Bascomb is waiting at the train station to greet him with a bullet. Iz isn't the only one who wants to avenge Lottie's murder: Cafe Tristesse owner Wesley Farrell, still passing for white, and Club Moulin Rouge owner Savanna Beaulieu are out for the truth too. But Stella isn't alone in this either--she shuttles between well-connected Dante and crooked ex-cop Walt Daggett, Iz's own cousin. When the two trinities lock horns--and that's pretty much all that happens in this violent, colorful 1938-set sequel to Skin Deep, Blood Red (1997)--sparks fly. Iz gets shot at and attacked by a pair of thugs; Farrell gets shot at and dumped into the Mississippi; Savanna gets kidnapped and raped; and the body count goes through the roof. Skinner outdoes even Red Harvest and The Big Sleep in distributing corpses; it's hard enough to remember who's been killed, let alone who's still available to stand as suspects. The tensely textured hard-boiled milieu is practically the only survivor.