Dark End of the Street by Ace Atkins

Dark End of the Street is the third book in the Nick Travers series. This is a private detective series set in New Orleans featuring Nick Travers who is a former NFL footballer who has turned to the private investigator role after an interesting set of circumstances explained in the book. The additional interest in blues music will provide readers with a point of difference compared to other detective series.

A simple job that should involve driving up the road to look for the brother of a friend turns into something far more complicated for Nick Travers. The search leads Travers to some of the more questionable locations in and around New Orleans and puts him in harms way more times than he finds comfortable. As with the other books in the series there are strong links to blues music and those who are amongst its finest exponents.

Book Details

Title: Dark End of the Street
Author: Ace Atkins
ISBN: 0060004606
Pages: 336 pp
Published Date: 2002
Publisher: William Morrow
Sub-Genre: Hardboiled
Main Characters: Nick Travers

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This book is the third book in the series with the next book to look for being Dirty South.

Review of Dark End of the Street

In this 3rd book in the Nick Travers series, Ace Atkins sends his blues historian to Memphis and incorporates a little soul into his series. One night while sitting in his long-time friend Jojo's bar, Jojo's wife Loretta drags Travers aside to ask him to find her brother for her. She had recently received a visit from a couple of men looking for him and wanted to make sure he was alright. However, the word was that her brother, broken down soul legend Clyde Jones had died recently in Memphis where he had been living as a homeless shell of a man. No one could confirm Clyde's death for him when Travers asked around, in fact, his questions made some people downright uncomfortable.

Meanwhile in Tunica a young woman by the name of Abby who is still trying to come to grips with the murder of her father and mother is being stalked by Perfect Leigh. Perfect works for Levi Ransom a member of the Dixie mafia and a very dangerous man. Abby is eventually captured and is in the process of being interrogated, none too gently, when Nick's path crosses hers in dramatic circumstances, immediately casting him as her knight in shining armor and Ransom's bitter enemy.

The story quickly progresses from a missing person's case to a fight for survival as Nick gets caught between the Dixie mafia and a white supremist group who call themselves the Sons of the South. Apart from a small continuity problem towards the end where we seemed to jump from scene to scene without any logical reason, this is another enthralling music-base mystery.

Ace Atkins is starting to make a habit of coming up with some very off-beat characters to play his villains, rather reminiscent of James W. Hall and his unique portrayal of rogues. In his previous book, LEAVIN' TRUNK BLUES, Atkins introduced us to Annie and Fannie, a couple of killer prostitutes with a love of Archie comics and, in Annie's case, a special relationship with her knife. Now, in DARK END OF THE STREET we get a hit man who is not only a devotee of Elvis Presley but who believes Elvis is a divine being. Although the man is obviously an efficient and remorseless killer it's rather difficult to take a man seriously when he's kneeling and praying to his higher being, Elvis Presley.

He has also done a terrific job of capturing the atmosphere of Memphis through the style of music Travers recalls, the bars he frequents on Beale Street and the house styles that are noted as he moves through the city. I enjoyed experiencing the feeling of visiting Memphis almost as much as the story around which the visit was based.

To see all of his books visit the Ace Atkins page.