01 July 2022

A Favorite New Orleans Novel


Some books are so forgettable you make the mistake of trying to read it again until you go – Hey, I read this tripe before. Some books stay with you,

Baronne Street by Kent Westmoreland is one which stayed with me. Published in 2010, this writer's debut novel features New Orleanian Burleigh Drummond, a fixer who conducts investigations while fixing problems for lucrative clients, manipulating the legal predicaments of the rich and politicians of a notoriously corrupt city.

A lingering heartache drives Burleigh to ignore a voice-mail plea from his ex-girlfriend Coco Robicheaux, the woman who broke his heart when she dumped him. The following morning, Burleigh learns the gut-wrenching news that Coco was murdered the previous evening.

"Love sometimes means having to solve your ex-girlfriend's murder."

Police detectives let Burleigh know they have been instructed to do little or nothing about the murder, but should he provide them with evidence ...

Burleigh soon discovers Coco's clandestine existence in the city's netherworld, how she had been drawn into a plot to disrupt the upcoming mayoral election. After a warning and a beating, Burleigh enlists a reputed mercenary, a computer hacker, a rogue reporter in the investigation as he seeks revenge. Negotiating through a maze of deception, he finds himself at odds with his wealthy clients, the police chief, the mayor and a crime syndicate.

I keep saying it – she's not big and there's nothing easy about New Orleans. She is a beautiful tragedy, as is Coco Robicheaux, the alluring victim in Baronne Street. Burleigh Drummond is as unique a hero as any preseted in fiction. He's cool, aloof, intelligent – a good looking guy haunted by his inability to make things right in an imperfect world.

The pacing is high speed in this thriller, rushing along the narrow, twisting streets of a city built for horse and buggy. Kent Westmoreland knows the city and avoids the mistakes of writers whose knowledge of New Orleans comes from guidebooks, an occasional visit and movies filled with clich├ęd descriptions of a city hard to replicate on paper.

Anyone who likes to read about New Orleans should take a ride down Baronne Street.

I like this book.

That's all for now.


6 comments:

  1. Thanks, O'Neil, I'll take a look at it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, O'Neil! Sounds good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a great homage, O'Neil. Do the two of you ever meet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O'Neil and I collaborated on a short story "Price Tag Attached" which was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Price-Tag-Attached-Orleans-After-ebook/dp/B0052F4NJW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32DRSTOD3FI67&keywords=price+tag+attached+westmoreland&qid=1656723967&sprefix=price+tag+attached+westmoreland%2Caps%2C95&sr=8-2

      Delete
  4. keep saying it –she's not big and there's nothing easy about New Orleans. She is a beautiful tragedy, as is Coco Robicheaux, the alluring victim in Baronne Street.

    Burleigh Drummond is as unique a hero as any preseted in fiction. He's cool, aloof, intelligent a good looking guy haunted by his inability to make things right in an imperfect world.

    Gordon Bullard & Company

    ReplyDelete

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