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Publisher: HarperTorch / HarperCollins
Release Date:
ISBN: 0060004614
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Jeff Shelby
Reviewer Notes:

Dark End of the Street
By Ace Atkins

     Every once in awhile, you run across an author or a book that is so good you can’t believe the author isn’t a household name and the book isn’t a bestseller. Ace Atkins is one of those authors and Dark End of the Street is one of those books.

      In Dark End of the Street, Nick Travers, a blues historian for Tulane University, is asked by a close friend to search for her brother, a once famous blues musician. Everyone along the way tells Travers that the brother is dead, but he soon learns otherwise. Travers also manages to rescue a young girl from a rather precarious situation in a casino and he learns her situation is tied to his search. As the plot thickens, the action intensifies and Travers must not only protect the young girl, but also himself.

    Atkins, a native of the South and a blues aficionado, ties both of those things together expertly in his writing. The story careens between New Orleans, Oxford, Memphis and other spots on the Mississippi Delta with rich and exacting details. Atkins not only uses the blues and its history to help drive the story, but also to provide an ever-present soundtrack for the action.

    But perhaps the best thing in this book is Travers himself. A former professional football player, a man who leans toward the lonely side of life and a man who can’t help himself from helping others is one of the best new characters to emerge in crime fiction in a long time. He’s flawed, he’s human and he’s as believable as fictional protagonists get.

      Atkins unwinds the story with careful precision and brings the tale full of colorful and bizarre characters to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. He leaves us looking forward to our next encounter with Travers and in Dark End of the Street he has created a must read for all fans of crime fiction.