Folklorist Fever Devilin solves his own murder.
On the night of Dec. 3, Fever went to bed and didn’t wake up. When a stranger entered his room and shot him twice, he died, only to be brought back to life—if you call being in a coma for three months a life—by the quick actions of his love Lucinda, a nurse. But there are distinct drawbacks to his recuperation. He falls asleep mid-sentence. He wobbles rather than walks. And he drifts in and out of lucidity, confusing dreams with reality and hearing whispers from his long-dead mother, who wants him to focus on the tin box behind the living-room clock. It’s gone, of course, along with the clippings and pictures it held. But was it ever real or just the product of his frayed synapses? The search will lead Fever and his friend, Professor Winton Andrews, to T-Bone Morton, the long-lost son of jazz great Jelly Roll Morton, who fled to Paris from Southern racism, fathered a child, moved to Chicago, then gave up that child to a family from Blue Mountain to save her life. Now, years later, that girl’s existence has made Fever the target of the Sons of Wingfield, a group of bigoted bubbas. Another tin box will come into play with an assist from someone who may be the Earl of Huntingdon. Or an undercover Fed. Or an angel. Fever will nearly get murdered again before he fully understands his personal genealogy and his mental haze clears away.
Nobody writes Southern better than DePoy (The Drifter’s Wheel, 2008, etc.), and short of medical school, you won’t find a better description of the aftereffects of coma anywhere.