Drake Ramsey is a successful author who has just moved to New Orleans to be with his love, the brilliant and now pregnant Zuri Manyika. While Zuri works as a professor at Loyola University, Drake spends his days in Treme Coffeehouse, contemplating a sequel without a clue his world is about to be turned upside down. Drake's horizons expand when his new friend, Adam Boateng, relays stories of life in early New Orleans that strangely hint he may have been there himself. After Drake invites his old buddy, Gerard Schleiermacher, to join them for Halloween, he looks forward to experiencing New Orleans at its most outrageous. But just as they learn that Zuri's old Zimbabwean adversary has escaped from prison, Adam becomes a suspect in a murder. Now Drake is left to speculate if Adam is capable of killing, if the vengeful prisoner is guilty, or if a voodoo priest is responsible. As Drake, Zuri, and Gerard risk their lives in pursuit of the truth, bayous and beignets interweave with second lines and graveyards as a vampire lurks in the shadows. Will Drake ever find the killer? In this gripping mystery, a best-selling author transforms into an amateur sleuth intent on finding a murderer after a wild Halloween in New Orleans.
"Listen," Nia broke in. "Tomorrow is Halloween and Krewe of Boo. Should we all skip the night and stay home, just in case?" "Not on your life," Zuri said. Her anger was finally surfacing. "This is the first Krewe of Boo for Drake and Gerard, and we're going to enjoy ourselves. I really believe our safest place is in the crowds. He's not going to go shooting at us on Bourbon Street." She added emphatically, "He's not stupid, and he doesn't want to end up in a New Orleans prison. Besides, once we all get into our costumes and masks, nobody is going to recognize us." She was right, but I noticed Gerard looking at me with a questioning expression. After a moment, I realized what was on his mind. Zuri, Nia and Adam had been working on their Halloween costumes for weeks. Gerard and I, being Gerard and I, were hitting the streets dressed as Gerard and Drake. "Not all of us have costumes," I said, looking at Zuri. "What? What do you mean?" she asked. "Gerard and I are not dressing up. We're just going in our normal clothes and want to, well, kind of observe more than participate. You know, take pictures, watch the people, that sort of thing." "Well, that's just great. What the hell were you thinking, you two?" Zuri's anger welling up again. "We didn't know Sekuru was going to crawl out from under his rock," I shot back. We all grew quiet for a moment. Nia looked from Zuri to me and back again. "Maybe you can at least wear masks, kind of Lone Ranger type masks," she said. "They will cover your eyes and part of your face. It should do the trick." "I would be happy to do that," Gerard said. "Yeah, okay, but where do we get masks this late? The damn thing's tomorrow," I said. "I can get them, no problem." Nia said. "I think we should head to Canal early to get a good spot. But if we can't have fun, maybe it's best to crash in one of the bars on Bourbon Street and get drunk. I'm planning to go hot as hell, and if I can't enjoy it, then why bother?" Adam looked worried. "We are going to have fun!" Zuri almost shouted. "Do you understand? Fun!" She looked at each one of us in turn. Her tone of voice was so dramatic, her demand so absurd, and our tension so high, that we all started to laugh. At first Zuri became even angrier, but when it became clear we weren't going to stop, she begrudgingly smiled. That's my woman: my friend, my lover, the mother of my child, with a big old gun in her bag, commanding us to have fun with an angry face. Fun it would be. But I knew that when we headed off to Canal Street for the Krewe of Boo, she would be concealing.
Dale Rominger is a former educator, speaker, and consultant who traveled extensively worldwide assisting in development projects and creating educational and exposure programs with international partners. Now retired, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Roberta, where he enjoys reading, writing, managing his website, and cooking. This is his fifth book.