Skip to main content

Empire of Sin




Empire of Sin by Gary Krist

This new book by author Gary Krist chronicles the twists and turns of life in New Orleans round the turn of the 20th century.  The book takes into account two murders, the growing up of the grandchildren of former slaves, and centers on the period between 1890-1920.  For anyone familiar with Krist, his writing is penetrating, historically grounded, and gets you right into the center of the action with clarity and wit.

The early part of the book looks at Detective George Long and his investigation of the murder of Joseph and Catherin Maggio, Italian immigrants who ran a small grocery story.  Immediately we find the junior detective and the senior detective (Long) coming up with different scenarios concerning the person who committed the murders.  Yet, the one piece of evidence that was still puzzling to them was a chalk message that was found earlier in the day with the words, “Mrs. Joseph Maggio is going to sit up tonight just like Mrs. Toney.”  The clue was to a Tony Schiambra who had earlier been murdered with his wife in their bed, and they too were Italian immigrant grocers.  Krist brings us into this case and the discovery of some more details that keeps the readers coming back for more.

Alongside the elevation of violence in a place like New Orleans was also the growth of jazz.  The playing of jazz music became a haven for very public and behind the scenes violence to take place.  The short career of Buddy Bolden is a an example of the growth of such a vibrant music scene entwined with a violent ending.
Krist keeps the reader engaged and reading for the whole way through. 

If you are interested in the early part of New Orleans, jazz, and the sinister violence that took place in the city, you will enjoy this book.


Thanks to Blogging for Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…