Kenneth Abel’s first mystery, Bait, was hailed by kings of the genre. “One of the finest crime novels I’ve ever read,” said James Lee Burke. “A gripper all the way,” praised Elmore Leonard. Robert B Parker summed it up in a word: “Brilliant!” Now, Abel makes good on the promise of that debut with a mystery set against the murky world of New Orleans politics, where debts may be postponed but not forgotten, and old loyalties can be unexpectedly betrayed.
Danny Chaisson is an up-and-coming prosecutor until his longtime benefactor, a Louisiana political boss, calls in his chit. Chaisson performs as commanded, but resigns from the D.A.’s office to preempt additional collisions of conscience and politics. He stoops to running small-time errands for the politico as a second career, until he narrowly misses being present for a lethal hit at a local restaurant. When it looks like he’ll be sacrificed as the fall guy in a complex game of public culpability and political spin, Danny goes on the run. He soon allies himself-first professionally, then romantically-with Mickie Vega, a woman from ATF who’s also been set up as a scapegoat. The stakes are high and his odds poor, but Danny has a few tricks left to play before he’ll be dealt out.
Combining pitch-perfect dialogue with plot twists reminiscent of L.A. Confidential, Abel has delivered a crime novel tour de force.