New Orleans detective Jack Brenner is struggling with a faltering marriage, an injured partner, and an overbearing lieutenant when Emmett Floyd Graves, a convict facing lethal injection, sends Jack word through his lawyer that he has information about the unsolved murder of Jack’s cousin, a civil-rights worker killed in the summer of 1972.
Jack is intrigued but suspicious, and before he can figure out whether he’s being played, he and his new temporary partner, Keisha Lundy, are assigned to the drive-by shooting of a teenage boy. Eerily, both Steven Bowen and Jack’s cousin David were distance-running phenomenons at the same high school where Jack himself was a champion hurdler. Jack juggles the Bowen case with his own secret investigation of Graves’s claim, backed up by Keisha, who knows what it’s like to lose a young family member through violence. Jack thinks he has time to make sense of things before bringing anyone else into it. But then television reporter Willow Ashe, an old flame from Jack’s past, comes on the scene. She not only stirs up old memories of hot nights on the levee, but breaks Graves’s story on the evening news for all the world to see, including Jack’s lieutenant, wife, and aunt. Jack is in hot water at work and at home. But the publicity gets him what he wants---a chance to solve his cousin’s murder.
The two crimes, separated by thirty years, send Jack and Keisha shuttling between the Big Easy underworld and the delta town of Bon Terre. Jack’s gut tells him that the Dixie Mafia kingpin who runs Bon Terre is somehow connected to both murders. Proving it will put him and people he cares about in the line of fire.
An impressive debut set among the moonlit bayous, great houses, and old ghosts of Louisiana, Bound by Blood delivers a fine balance of humor, violence, and sorrow.