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But all that changes when an eight-foot-tall player for the Darktown Strutters--a touring black troupe mixing showtime basketball with blackface minstrel routines--is shot dead execution-style at Max's doorstep. More bodies pile up, and Max, to clear his own name, finds himself back in his past life, tracking a serial killer of black men.
While his old NYPD partner Tina Falcone chases leads in New York, Max goes on the road with the Strutters, nominally as a player on their all-white opposition team and as bodyguard to their coke-addled owner Lou Schiff. His real purpose is catching the killer--a mission that leads him into a dangerous world in which drug deals and sudden death are routine business transactions and a brutal mob boss calls signals from the shadows.
"The Last Minstrel Show" is first and foremost what its subtitle suggests: a detective story. But it's a whodunit with a serious subtext. It looks hard at the persistence of racism in "post-racial" America in the time of Barack Obama and Trayvon Martin. And it explores how masks have become a necessity of everyday life for everybody, not just the Strutter minstrelmen performing in blackface.