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4.6 6
by David Fulmer

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"Fulmer is a graceful, evocative writer, and if you love New Orleans and its music, his novel summons up sweet memories that have nothing to do with serial killers."—Washington Post

In a riveting encore to the award-winning mystery Chasing the Devil's Tail, David Fulmer brings us Jass. Here again is Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr, journeying


"Fulmer is a graceful, evocative writer, and if you love New Orleans and its music, his novel summons up sweet memories that have nothing to do with serial killers."—Washington Post

In a riveting encore to the award-winning mystery Chasing the Devil's Tail, David Fulmer brings us Jass. Here again is Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr, journeying further into the bloody netherworld of Storyville, New Orleans, that rowdy red-light district where saloons and dance halls echo with the raw and raucous music they call "jass." Four musicians have turned up dead. Called upon to investigate the gruesome murders, St. Cyr discovers that all of the victims once played in the same band; the only one left alive has gone into hiding.
When a shadowy woman emerges as the key to the mystery, Valentin's efforts to find her touch nerves. Soon the police, the mayor, and even Tom Anderson—the notorious "King of Storyville"—want him off the case. But their efforts only convince him that something larger and darker lurks at the heart of this sordid business. Will he risk everything to get to the truth?

"Think Jelly-Roll Morton meets Edgar Allan Poe. Think a 1900's New Orleans so drenched in atmosphere you can feel the thick air and smell the French moss hanging from the tall oak trees. Think jass bands, voodoo and bloody murder. Finally, think masterful story-telling."
—Lawrence Cohn, Grammy winner, producer and author of Nothin' but the Blues: The Music and the Musicians

Shamus Award winner David Fulmer has written about blues, jazz and a variety of other subjects for many publications. A writer and producer, he lives in Atlanta with his daughter, Italia.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Fulmer's dialogue adds its lyric voice to the gutbucket sounds and ragtime rhythms pouring out of the bars and up from the streets.
— The New York Times
Patrick Anderson
Fulmer is a graceful, evocative writer, and if you love New Orleans and its music, his novel summons up sweet memories that have nothing to do with serial killers. I have no idea where Fulmer is going with his series, but it is worth noting that Louis Armstrong, age 7 or so, makes a cameo appearance as one of the waifs who run errands for St. Cyr. If Fulmer wants to move forward 10 or 15 years, a portrait of that particular artist as a young man, with his genius starting to blossom, might be the greatest of all New Orleans stories.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Set in early 20th-century Storyville, the New Orleans red-light district, Shamus-winner Fulmer's moody follow-up to Chasing the Devil's Tail (2001) uses spare but evocative prose to create an atmosphere steeped in ragtime, bourbon and the institutional corruption for which the Big Easy is notorious. The author skillfully builds on the emotional aftermath of the first novel, providing his multiracial Creole detective, Valentin St. Cyr, with plenty of demons to wrestle while giving new readers the all-important backstory. St. Cyr must set aside his troubles in order to solve the mystery of four brutally murdered jazz musicians. His investigation pits him against both Lieutenant Picot, his former boss in the New Orleans police department, and his current employer, Tom Anderson, the "King of Storyville," while further jeopardizing his already shaky relationship with girlfriend Justine, a former prostitute (or, in the local vernacular, "sporting girl"). Jelly Roll Morton and legendary madam Miss Lulu also figure prominently in this meaty, dark page-turner, which should appeal particularly to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. Agent, Laura Langlie. (Jan. 17) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Valentin St. Cyr descends into the seedy netherworld of New Orlean's red-light Storyville district in this follow-up to Fulmer's award-winning debut, Chasing the Devil's Tail. Fulmer lives in Atlanta, GA. Author tour planned. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A brooding Creole shamus in turn-of-the-century New Orleans risks everything in his pursuit of a multiple murderer with protection in high places. In Storyville, New Orleans' red-light district, three black musicians are attacked in different ways but with the same fatal results. Private eye Valentin St. Cyr (Chasing the Devil's Tail, 2000) begins by investigating the poisoning of the third, handsome young trombonist Jeff Mumford, who leaves behind voluptuous Caribbean mistress Dominique. Aided by local musical sensation Jelly Roll Morton and by Beansoup, a raggedy street denizen, Valentin learns that all three victims were members of the famous Union Hall Band, players of the hot new "jass" music. Although there's plenty for Valentin to do, his lover Justine, a former high-priced prostitute, suffers from ennui. She's wooed away by notorious madam Lulu White and into the arms of a wealthy businessman. But Dominique readily fills the empty place Justine's defection leaves in Valentin's bed. After Jeff's landlady and another Union Hall musician are added to the death toll, the experienced Valentin thinks his probe should be welcomed by both police lieutenant J. Picot and political boss Tom Anderson, "The King of Storyville." But both order Valentin off the case, and Anderson raises the stakes by threatening to reveal a destructive secret from Justine's past. What should the ethical Valentin do?In his series' sophomore installment, Fulmer deepens his depiction of Storyville and provides a few satisfying surprises. Agent: Laura Langlie/Laura Langlie Literary Agency
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Evocative, absorbing and vivid."

From the Publisher

"If Fulmer . . . has plans for future stories about St. Cyr and his real and imaginary Fourth Ward cronies, they'd be more than welcome here." -Los Angeles Times (Mystery/Thriller Book Prize Finalist)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Valentin St. Cyr Series , #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt


A Valentin St. Cyr Mystery
By David Fulmer


Copyright © 2005 David Fulmer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0151010250

Antoine Noiret came awake with a start, as if he'd been jerked out of sleep by a rough hand.

He groaned, dead tired. The crazy bitch had kept him up for two hours after they had stumbled home from the saloon, and that was after playing for six with nary a break. He thought she was going to let him pound her hips for his trouble, but all she wanted to do was rail at him, and once she got going, she screeched like she was mounted on his yancy and thrashing for all she was worth. He didn't quite understand what all her fussing was about. At one point, she pulled open her shirtwaist and hiked up her petticoats, demanding to know if that was what he wanted.

Indeed it was; otherwise, what was she doing in his room at that hour? She was the one who had come sniffing around him, after all, first watching from the back of the hall, then coming around to whisper in his ear as she made promises with her eyes. He had hoped to finish out his grueling night with a good fuck and then sleep like a dead man through the dawn and well into the day.

She had other ideas, and when he reached for her, she dropped her skirts and went to stalking about the room, a sweaty, half-dressed mess, her rouge and mascara running in clownish streaks, calling curses down on his worthless self. After a few minutes of this abuse, she wound down and lurched into the hall, slamming the door so hard it shook the walls. Antoine was baffled.

It didn't matter. He grunted with relief, glad to be rid of her and her noisy, filthy mouth. It was just as well; he had no business bringing her there in the first place. Not after what had happened before.

Her steps had barely faded off in the hallway when he dropped into an exhausted slumber, like he had fallen into black water. Time passed until he came half awake to someone moving about in the darkness. He let out a silent groan, praying that she would just go away again and leave him alone. He was done for the night.

He pulled the damp, dingy pillow over his head, hoping she'd get the idea. The air stirred as footsteps padded up to the bed. Then he heard a dark cough and felt something push into the pillow, a finger perhaps, poking for attention, and it began to dawn on him that there was something wrong about it.

Because it wasn't a finger at all-it was the tip of the blade of a ten-inch hunting knife. With a certain and sudden precision, the blade plummeted through the pillow and tore into Antoine's neck, just behind the jaw and below his ear. He felt a raw shock of pain and tried to bolt up off the mattress. Though he was a big man, a bigger weight held him down as the knife pinned him like some insect. He thrashed about, his thick arms going weaker and weaker as blood soaked the sheets.

In less than twenty seconds, he had gurgled a last breath and his hands flapped a final time before dropping over the side of the mattress.

The knife slid back through the pillow that had muffled his dying grunts. A moment later the door opened and closed like a quiet breath and the footsteps pattered away.

Copyright 2005 by David Fulmer

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Excerpted from Jass by David Fulmer Copyright © 2005 by David Fulmer. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

DAVID FULMER's first novel, Chasing the Devil's Tail, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Mystery/Thriller Book Prize and the winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel. Fulmer lives in Atlanta.

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
New Orleans 1909.Valentin St. Cyr is providing protection at a local saloon for the 'King Of Storyville' Tom Anderson.St Cyr's other occupation is that of a P.I.He hasn't worked in over over a year since he solved the 'Black Rose Murders' ,a case which saw him loose a childhood friend and put him at odds with Anderson and Lt.J.Picot of the N.O.P.D.St.Cyr has become withdrawn from his girlfriend and shied away from investigative work.There are some in Storyville who will say he's lost his edge and his uncanny investigative ability.When two local jass musicians are found dead,St.Cyr shows little interest.It's not until a third is murdered that St.Cyr is coerced into investigating by his friend,bawdy house piano player Jelly Roll Morton.It soon becomes apparent to St.Cyr these killings are not random, all the dead musicians have something in common.As the body count rises,St.Cyr finds himself in a race to catch a cunning killer.As he digs deeper he's warned off the case by powerful people.If he continues, he jeopardizes the life of the woman who loves him,or he can continue and seek justice for an innocent friend.From the violent opening scene to the poignant ending,David Fulmer has created a dark atmospheric thriller of a time gone by.
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