Morrow, Mar 2004, 24.95, 304 pp.
Teddy Paris and Nick Travers, both former National Football League players, became friends during an exhibition season when the former stole or borrowed depending on who tells the story the latter's jeep. While Nick became a music expert and part-time Tulane instructor, Teddy partnered with his brother to the tune of a multimillion dollar rap music label. The two men remain friends with the commonality of short football careers and a love of music.
Teddy knows that Nick has solved some music mysteries though his pal is an amateur sleuth so he asks if Travers will help him locate about one million dollars conned from teenage superstar ALIAS. Nick learns nothing from the self indulgent ALIAS, not even whether he was swindled or not. Nick begins making inquiries on the mean streets of New Orleans where he begins to learn that professionals take stars (entertainment and sports) for monetary rides. Those who make a living off the naive media studs warn Travers to turn his rap elsewhere or expect a permanent rest.
The fourth Nick Travers music mystery provides the audience with multiple intriguing looks at the darker side of the industry. As usual Ace Atkins displays his music acumen that is harmoniously blended into the story line. However, the plot lacks substance especially once ALIAS blows Travers off, leaving the audience wondering why and what the professor is investigating. Though not quite the usual Ace, DIRTY SOUTH sings enough of the blues to entreat amateur sleuth and music mystery lovers to listen to the melody.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner