By Jennifer Reese
Updated October 27, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT


New Orleans has seldom been stickier, ladies of the evening slinkier, or male violence held at a steadier simmer than in Frederick Turner’s humid crime drama, Redemption, set in Louisiana circa 1913. Ever since a psychologically and physically crippling accident, ex-cop Francis Muldoon has turned over his life to backing crime boss Tom Anderson in conflicts with the law and with rival crooks. Then Adele, a hauntingly lovely singer with a sketchy past, comes to town, simultaneously upsetting the underworld balance of power and helping Muldoon regain his moral equilibrium. This dark, potent novel should be savored slowly, like a stiff Sazerac.