Bound by Blood

Rick Nelson

Minotaur Books

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.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Everyone in New Orleans knows that when you crack open a crab shell and a pungent ammonia odor smacks you in the face, the crab was dead before it hit the boiling pot. But the acrid air blasting my nostrils as I entered the Second District squad room Monday morning wasn’t foul shellfish. It was the cleaning crew’s liberal application of caustic wash to the linoleum floor. As I reached my desk, the phone rang and I lifted the receiver, not knowing I was about to rip open something that, unlike a putrid crab, I couldn’t toss away.
“Detective Brenner.”


Praise for Bound by Blood

"The plot is serpentine, the heat palpable, and the final denouement savage. Bound by Blood is a fine debut."--Booklist
"A gritty debut that will appeal to readers of Reggie Nadelson and James Lee Burke."--Library Journal
"Nelson's lean, forceful prose shows promise."--Kirkus Reviews
"Bound by Blood is Louisiana through and through, from its inauspicious opening with the smell of putrid crab, to its cinematic and rewarding climax of a shootout on the bayou."--Mystery Scene

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Rick Nelson

  • Rick Nelson had more than twenty years of experience in the energy industry and was director of human resources for the city of Pasadena, Texas. He lived with his wife in Houston, Texas.

  • Rick Nelson Photo: Stephen E. Rogers





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Bound by Blood

    Rick Nelson

    • e-Book



    Minotaur Books