Ben January has a personal stake in finding the embezzler. He stands to lose his own money and his house if the banker escapes on the riverboat Silver Moon.
We’re back in New Orleans, this time in the summer of 1836. Jackson is President, and the nation’s banking system is tottering. A voodoo mambo has put a curse on January, and its effects are swift. She seems to have sneaked onboard the steamboat, peopled with an ensemble of colorful characters: a slave-dealer, an abolitionist, a young planter and an Irish pilot. January is a free man of color who masquerades as the slave of his musician friend Hannibal Sefton. Unless he solves the mystery, his life is dead water: water with no current that traps a vessel behind a sand bar.
Author Hambly lulls the reader with lyrical description, then lures us onward with a taut narrative to build suspense. Several of the people are shifty, motivated by greed and capable of violence.
A realism you can smell, a fear you can feel. In her 8th offering of the January series, Hambly proves herself once again a master of the historical mystery.