A criminologist lately returned to New Orleans finds that the criminals he’s supposed to identify are the least of his problems in this sweetly wrought fable of criminal consequences.
When Bobby Delery’s parents divorced, his father took the 9-year-old north with him. Now he’s back in the Big Easy to teach at Tulane and work as a consultant to the police department. His first case is an urgent one, because the cops need to find the pair of miscreants who cleaned out the safe of Club Big Easy before Dominic Cavallari, the club’s manager, takes matters into his own hands. Since Mr. C is under considerable pressure from club owner Alex Yevchev to recover his $970,000, Bobby needs to work fast. But he faces obstacles that seem to have nothing to do with the theft. Capt. Patrick Connell demands that Delery ignore a blood trail he’s found near the corpse of Clint Olson, the Big Easy bartender who was clearly in on the job. A person of interest he encounters drives away before Delery can stop him. Delery’s own car attracts the legal attention of a predatory towing company. Every lead he finds is complicated by the fact that everyone in New Orleans is working some angle or stuck in some private fantasy. And Melba Barnes, the retired accountant who’s ended up with the boodle, has an utterly unexpected plan to dispose of it.
Despite the rising body count, Zell (Errata, 2012) keeps this shaggy series debut as mellow as a pipe dream. Only the torrent of local geographical detail will threaten your blood pressure.