Dan Fulmer – Jass – A Valentin St.Cyr Novel

Jass – A Valentin St.Cyr Novel
Dan Fulmer
Harcourt Books- 2005
S. H. Watkins, Sr.

Creole detective Valentin St.Cyr is back, and once again the mystery is as thick and tasty as Louisiana gumbo. In this cleverly crafted sequel to his Shamus Award winning Chasing the Devil’s Tail, Fulmer again weaves a tapestry that envelopes you in the sights, sounds and attitudes of the famed “Storyville” section of New Orleans, the birthplace of a new music called “Jass”.

Mixing a little history with a lot of great fiction Fulmer has populated the story with the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and the rumored father of Jazz Buddy Bolden. The same Buddy Bolden whose death in the earlier novel sent St. Cyr into a downward spiral that almost cost him his livelihood and his lady friend. Valentin’s depression lingers for a couple of years until Morton puts him on the tail of a string of killings that involve some of Bolden’s former band mates. Someone is killing “Jass” musicians, and St. Cyr is going to find out who did it.

Poking his nose where ever the trail leads, St. Cyr manages to piss off the Mayor of New Orleans, lieutenant J. Picot and even with his boss, the notorious “King of Storyville” for whom Valentin worked security. From the beginning of this story to the very end the reader is immersed in the tawdry underbelly of New Orleans life that existed in Storyville after dark.

Jass - A novel by David Fulmer This is a great detective story. It happens that my reading of this novel was sandwiched between two mystery novels by the acclaimed Walter Mosely, and I have to say that this was by far the better of the three. If you’re a mystery buff or you just like a good read, pick up a copy of Jass. And if you haven’t read Chasing the Devil’s Tail, you might want to get that one too.