Rarely has New Orleans appeared as dark and dangerous as it does in Turner’s “Big Easy” of 1913. Francis Muldoon, nicknamed “Fast Mail” for his record-breaking running skills as a teenager, is an ex-cop forced to leave the police force after being accused of cowardice in a shooting that left him partially disabled. He now works for Tom Anderson as his man about town, patrolling the crime boss’s bars and brothels in seedy Storyville. Muldoon is drifting through his meaningless, amoral life dreaming of the “Fast Mail” with a once-promising future.
His world changes when the vicious Parkers attempt to displace Tom Anderson from Storyville and the beautiful Adele returns to town. Muldoon is attracted to the mysterious Adele and is not aware that Tom Anderson is the stepfather who abused her as a young girl. The Anderson-Parker gang war is played out as the tragic Adele and pitiful “Fast Mail” search for a better world amongst the corruption of New Orleans.
Historical novels usually fail owing to the author’s inability to convey the right feel to the setting. Turner brings the reader with “Fast Mail” as he walks the streets of Storyville. The author not only did the necessary research, his Storyville comes to life in all its ugliness and beauty.