When music mogul Teddy Paris, a former teammate from the New Orleans Saints, visits Nick Travers and asks him to help find $700,000 taken from a rap prodigy, Nick can't turn down his friend. The missing money will pay a bounty on Paris's head that was set by a crosstown rival, a street-hard thug named Cash.
Nick soon finds himself lost in the world of Gucci-lined Bentleys and endless bottles of Cristal champagne. He sets out with fifteen-year-old rap star, ALIAS, seeking a team of grifters that conned the kid. When a killer hits too close, Nick takes ALIAS with him to the Mississippi Delta for the protection and guidance of Nick's mentor, blues legend JoJo Jackson, and his wife, Loretta.
Soon Nick, JoJo, and another old-school Delta tough guy do battle in the Dirty South rap world where money, sex, and murder threaten to take down Paris's empire and destroy ALIAS. As cultures clash, the story winds its way through the infamous Calliope housing projects, the newly built mansions of New Orleans's lakefront, and ultimately to the brackish muck of the Bayou Savage.
“As welcome as a cold beer on a hot Jazz Fest afternoon.”—Washington Post
“Reads like a blues song brought to life.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“As a writer, Atkins knows how to walk fine lines with perfect balance; his books are compassionate, hard and richly atmospheric in a way that never overshadows narrative. As much as anyone else writing, he escapes the sentimentality that bedevils hard-boiled fiction.”— Salon
About the Author
A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. Last year, he was selected by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue the bestselling adventures of Boston’s iconic private eye, Spenser.
Parker himself had been chosen by the Raymond Chandler estate to continue the work of the late master.
As a reporter, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics. In his next novels, Wicked City, Devil’s Garden, and Infamous, blended first-hand interviews and original research into police and court records with tightly woven plots and incisive characters. The historical novels told great American stories by weaving fact and fiction into a colorful, seamless tapestry.
The Lost Ones and The Ranger represent a return to Ace’s first love: hero-driven series fiction. Quinn Colson is a real hero—a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan—who returns home to north Mississippi to fight corruption on his home turf. The stories, contemporary tales with a dash of classic westerns and noir, are currently in development for a major television series.
Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family. Lately, he’s been spending a lot of time in Boston, much of it at the corner of Berkeley and Boylston.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
¿Dirty South¿ is the fourth novel in Ace Atkins¿ Nick Travers series, and each book just gets better. The title refers to a style of rap that¿s become popular in the southeast. It¿s the most popular music in New Orleans right now, so it comes as no surprise that Nick Travers, a blues tracker, would become involved with the music and its practitioners. Nick has traveled a long, hard road. A difficult childhood led to a truncated career with the New Orleans Saints, and eventually to a professorship at Tulane University teaching the blues. On the side, he¿s a blues tracker ¿ finding, researching and investigating the history and the people of the music. Over the years, Nick¿s skills have allowed him to help several of his friends out of some pretty tight spots. ¿Dirty South¿ is no different. Nick's old friend from his football days, Teddy Paris, is in a world of hurt. He¿s a music entrepreneur and has got himself into a mess with another producer to whom he owes money. If Teddy can¿t come up with several hundred thousand dollars in 24 hours, he¿ll be killed. The other producer, Cash, also wants to take Teddy¿s new protégé, a teenage rapper named ALIAS, away from him. It turns out that the money belonged to ALIAS, and someone has run a con on him. Nick starts looking for answers, but the answers only lead to more difficult questions. Teddy¿s brother Malcolm, his lawyer Terry Brill, the producer Cash, and even ALIAS himself have less than pure motives. As it turns out, saving Teddy¿s life is just the beginning. Nick is pulled into a dark world of love and betrayal that stretches back a decade, to the beginning of dirty South music. Ultimately, ¿Dirty South¿, like all of Ace Atkins¿ work, focuses on the meaning of friendship. To Nick Travers, who has no biological family, his chosen family of friends is of paramount importance. He¿ll do anything for them. So the question becomes, who¿s betraying whom, and for what? There are no easy answers. To accompany Nick on his search for the truth is an exciting and thought provoking journey.
Two former pro football players team up to find $700K stolen from a rap singing prodigy. Mystery & suspense are woven through the 'Dirty South' rap music world of New Orleans in this latest Nick Travers novel. Winner of the 2004 Gold Medal Award for Best Mystery/Thriller from the Southern Writers Guild.
Teddy Paris and Nick Travers, both former National Football League players, became friends during an exhibition season when the former stole or borrowed depending on who tells the story the latter¿s jeep. While Nick became a music expert and part-time Tulane instructor, Teddy partnered with his brother to the tune of a multimillion dollar rap music label. The two men remain friends with the commonality of short football careers and a love of music. Teddy knows that Nick has solved some music mysteries though his pal is an amateur sleuth so he asks if Travers will help him locate about one million dollars conned from teenage superstar ALIAS. Nick learns nothing from the self indulgent ALIAS, not even whether he was swindled or not. Nick begins making inquiries on the mean streets of New Orleans where he begins to learn that professionals take stars (entertainment and sports) for monetary rides. Those who make a living off the naive media studs warn Travers to turn his rap elsewhere or expect a permanent rest. The fourth Nick Travers music mystery provides the audience with multiple intriguing looks at the darker side of the industry. As usual Ace Atkins displays his music acumen that is harmoniously blended into the story line. However, the plot lacks substance especially once ALIAS blows Travers off, leaving the audience wondering why and what the professor is investigating. Though not quite the usual Ace, DIRTY SOUTH sings enough of the blues to entreat amateur sleuth and music mystery lovers to listen to the melody. Harriet Klausner