I'm in the reading phase of my writing cycle. When my writing energy wanes, or I feel that everything I'm writing is crap, I indulge in marathon reading sessions. This lull in writing hit at a good time, because I still have a huge stack of books from my San Francisco trek. However, I have my priorities, and the first of those is to be entertained. So Greg Herren's Mardi Gras Mambo, the third book in his Scotty Bradley mystery series, went right to the top of the pile.
I love a good mystery. Greg delivers another one in this book. This time, the mystery centers around the Bradley family's secrets. The murder of Scotty's drug dealer sets him on an investigation that keeps coming back to an uncomfortable truth: that even people we think we know well have hidden lives and agendas. Scotty finds out that his parents have withheld information about his grandfather's secret second family. That doesn't sit well with Scotty, because he was raised to believe that his family was open and honest. But his parents aren't the only ones holding back the truth, and as bodies start piling up around Scotty, more people who are close to him reveal their secrets. Some are devastating betrayals, but some repair strained relationships. I don't want to say any more about the twists and turns this story takes, because that's all the fun of reading a mystery.
There are several things that make this book enjoyable. Scotty loves life, and his irrepressible determination to enjoy himself makes him unique as a detective. Greg's love of New Orleans simply shines through the book, and he makes you want to love his city too. And, of course, it's a damn good mystery with well paced action and humor that keep you turning pages right to the end.