Tom Ferguson previews his new novel.
Whatever brought musician/artist Mellifluous LaRue fleeing south, alone and embittered, involved heavy drugs. Observing a transaction in a greasy spoon, the Tater Haus, she offers her free-lance services to the police. Betrayed immediately by a bent cop, a serendipitous conversation brings the now gun-shy entrepreneur to Pete Malvasio, an honest Atlanta narcotics officer. Mell begins to bring in those elusive bucks.
The chief villain, Jaime Montecarlos, oversees a small illegal-substance importing operation. A local Capo from the New York Mafia, already frustrated by his failure to collect a percentage of BMF (Black Mafia Family) income, demands a cut of Jaime’s. The bought cop, he who betrayed Mell earlier, precariously balances loyalty to the Mafia with a side relationship to the Latino faction.
Jaime seriously wounds Pete’s spouse Leigh in his first attempt on Mell, finding her through the bent cop. Mell and Pete, seeking revenge on a rainy night stumble upon plans for a large pending shipment that will lead to the book’s climax.
So the tale of Mell’s unconventional career move is interwoven with her European travel stories, songs, a comic strip with a political angle (Hinson & Haze – two characters who live on the road, she a feminist, he a bookish intellectual), as well as the story of a tragically interrupted relationship in the hill country of eastern Kentucky that drove her to the dubious sanctuary of Atlanta.