A phone call at midnight. A cocktail lounge on New Orleans’s West Bank. A young woman who wants to photograph prostitutes and re-create Bellocq’s famous Storyville portraits. And murder. These are the threads that lead private eye Neal Rafferty into a labyrinth of danger in the Crescent City . . . where crime is always hot, spicy, and full-flavored with suspense. The phone call is from his old girlfriend Jackie Silva.
A loan shark named Bubba Brevna is threatening to collect from Jackie the traditional way . . . with pain. He’s already moved into her establishment—the Emerald Lizard—with a bouncer called Godzilla, some call girls, and a set of muscular twins with one brain between them who are running “chicken drop” contests on the dance floor.
What Rafferty can’t foresee is that, within days, the Emerald Lizard will be torched and Jackie Silva will be dead; soon, the young photographer will be missing. Rafferty begins a dark journey of guilt, grief, and revenge amid the stink of corruption that will send him into the deadly shadows of narrow streets and twisted hearts.
“Criminal characters of psychological intensity and authenticity . . . Chris Wiltz is one of the stars in mystery and crime fiction . . . Her themes shine, and she writes with both humanity and heart.” —James Lee Burke, winner of two Edgar Awards for Best Novel
“In his third appearance, two facts help likable, savvy News Orleans private eye Neal Rafferty solve this fast-paced, baffling mystery: 1) during recent hard time in the Louisiana oil patch, shylocks were charging 50% interest; and 2) before the ban on commercial fishing of redfish, the price was soaring in response to the national craze for the blackened delicacy. Against this background . . . Wiltz brings a story suffused with love for her hometown to a smashing, stormy climax. More, please.” —Publishers Weekly
“Lizard darts about like its namesake, and there is never a dull scene. Wiltz knows her hometown and can make it crackle. And her hero Neal is as rough as Bourbon Street.” —The Houston Post
“Wiltz has a particular knack for creating sexy, dangerous women . . . ” —Providence Sunday Journal Christine Wiltz, a native of New Orleans, is the author of five novels, including The Killing Circle, A Diamond Before You Die, and The Emerald Lizard, all set in New Orleans and featuring Irish Channel detective Neal Rafferty. Her novel The Glass House was praised by the New York Times as “unflinchingly honest” and a book that “needs to be read on both sides of Convent Street.” Shoot the Money, her most recent fiction, is an edgy “sisters in crime” novel reminiscent of Thelma and Louise. The Last Madam, her biography of French Quarter legend Norma Wallace, is under option for film.
Wiltz has written for the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. She has been a writer-in-residence and adjunct professor at both Tulane and Loyola Universities.