Recently I attended Wine, Art, & Books: A Benefit for the LGBT+ Archives Project and discovered my Book of the Month for June. The event itself was wonderful, located in a space adjacent to Grand Krewe wine store at 2305 Decatur Street. They were holding their Thursday wine tasting in conjunction with the book and art sale, which was a brilliant idea.
People sipped and shopped, as there were hundreds of books and pieces of art available for purchase. One of the books I bought was Mardi Gras Mambo by New Orleans author Greg Herren. I have heard so many wonderful reviews about Greg’s books, I felt bad that this was the first time reading his works.
Greg is a writer and editor who, when he wrote this book, was also a personal trainer, which is one of the jobs of his main character, Scotty Bradley. Greg lives in New Orleans, works as an HIV/AIDS counselor & educator, and was a co-founder of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. He has published works in a variety of genres, including mystery novels (Scotty Bradley and Chanse MacLeod), young adult literature, and erotica.
Realizing that the book was the third in this series and being anal retentive, I had to read them in order. So I quickly went out and got the first two books making my book of the month Bourbon Street Blues which was published in 2003 (better late than never).
This is a fun read with great characters and an interesting storyline that keeps you engaged from start to finish. If you are a local (and gay), you will especially love this book. The story revolves around Bradley a buff, boyish, and completely irresistible New Orleanian with a day job as a personal trainer who also works as a go-go dancer at a gay bar at night for rent money.
Bradley’s circle includes a lesbian couple he calls his aunties, his eccentric family, and various friends & tricks. New Orleans’s biggest circuit party, Southern Decadence, is about to happen when he discovers one of his best clients in front of his Decatur Street apartment, shot through the head, execution style. The cops and FBI get involved and before long Bradley is knee deep in a deadly mystery that spells danger for not only himself, but everyone he loves. Herren’s description of the city and his depiction of Southern Decadence is spot on and vividly brings it to life. Bourbon Street Blues is a great beginning installment in the series and has left me wanting to read more. This book has the right amount of sexual energy, mystery, and local flavor to appeal to readers on so many levels. Definitely take a walk on the wild side of the city with Scotty Bradley.