DARK END OF THE STREET by Ace Atkins

DARK END OF THE STREET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Legendary soul singer Clyde James has been missing for years and long presumed dead. But even though he’s history, the woods are suddenly full of people looking for him—among them his sister Loretta, the beloved friend of Nick Travers, blues historian extraordinaire. Ex pro-footballer, current part-time Tulane professor, and full-time knight errant, Nick as ever is Loretta’s to command. So off he goes from New Orleans to Memphis at her behest, chasing her will-o’-the-wisp brother. Nick won’t be lonely. Also hunting Clyde are representatives of the Dixie Mafia, the Sons of the South (think gentrified KKK), a pair of unaffiliated thugs named Ransom and Garon, a couple of lowlife pols, and a sweet young thing whose late dad was offed because he was once Clyde’s lawyer. Ruthless, remorseless Ransom is hunting Clyde in order to remedy an oversight. He should have done for Clyde 30 years ago, he now realizes, since Clyde witnessed a Ransom-perpetrated crime. Goran hunts mostly because he’s certifiable. Over the moon about Elvis Presley, whom he seems to think he’s reincarnated, he enjoys killing and might well be in the game even without the price Ransom has put on Clyde’s head. “All I am is a voice lost in a dream,” says Clyde wistfully at one point, a pronouncement that slows down none of his pursuers, who all but Nick, for variously persuasive reasons, want that voice stilled.

Once again, Atkins (Leavin’ Trunk Blues, 2000, etc.) redeems shaky plotting by a colorful cast, especially big-hearted, picaresque Nick.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-000460-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002




Kirkus Interview
Ace Atkins
June 2, 2015

P.I. Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in Kickback, the latest in the iconic New York Times–bestselling series from author Ace Atkins. What started out as a joke landed 17-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life. Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. “It’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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