[Review] Jass - David Fulmer

Title of Book: Jass
Series: Storyville #2
Author: David Fulmer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Year: 2005
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 352

In the rowdy red-light district of Storyville, four players of the new music they call "jass" have turned up dead. When Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr begins to investigate, he discovers that every one of the victims once played in the same band, and the only one left alive has gone into hiding.
As he digs deeper, Valentin becomes convinced that a shadowy woman is the key to the mystery. His efforts to find her touch nerves, and soon Tom Anderson, known as the "King of Storyville," police lieutenant J. Picot, and even the mayor of New Orleans want him off the case. It's all the proof Valentin needs that there is something even larger and darker at the heart of this sordid business.

The continuation of private detective Valentin St. Cyr’s adventure in Storyville, New Orleans. This time, the mystery revolves around several jass players who’ve been mysteriously murdered. No one seem to care about a couple of jass players died in a span of a week, expect Jelly Roll Morton. He knew that something else is going on. So he asks Valentin to solve the mystery. After all, he did very well in the last Black Rose Murder case.
We don’t necessarily have to read the first book to read Jass. The case in the first book is not related to the case in the second book. If you want to understand our main character more, I suggest reading Chasing the Devil’s Tail first. Fulmer did provide background for Valentin in this book, but not as in depth as in the first book.
I must say the second book is much much better than the first one. Probably because I’ve been given all the basic back story and set up from the first book. So the characters are well developed in this book. Since the setting is properly introduced in the first book, the image of Storyville became more vivid in this book. The setting is so unique and atmospheric which is one of the reasons why I like this book.
While the mystery in the first book was not explored well, in the second book the mystery is more thorough. The plot is more intricate and interesting. Like in the Black Rose Murder, the authorities seem to against Valentin’s attempt to solve the case and complicate the matters. As if there is more to the case and there are unexpected people involved. Well the Jass Players Murder case also has that element. But it works better in this book. The case has a satisfying ending too. There are no loose ends and the closure to the case doesn’t feel forced.
As for our main character Valentin St. Cyr, the case affects his life deeply. Especially because of the case he finally learn about Justine’s (his love interest) gritty past. In this book we can see how those murders and Valentin’s situation with Justine have finally taken its toll, which cause him to make a life changing decision in the end.
All in all, the series just seems to get better. Although it can be read as stand alone, I highly suggest to read the entire series in the right order. I enjoyed reading Valentin’s adventure in the Storyville.

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