Smokey Dalton Boxed Set: Books 1-3
Called “an outstanding series” by Booklist and “triumphant” by the Chicago Tribune, Kris Nelscott’s Smokey Dalton mysteries boast numerous awards, including finalists for the Edgar and Shamus awards.
The Oregonian says: “The Nelscott series setting, in the turbulent late ’60s, gives her books layers of issues of racism, class, and war, all of which still seem to remain sadly timely today.” And Entertainment Weekly says of the main character: “It’s not hard to draw parallels between Nelscott’s PI Smokey Dalton and Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins, another secretive, canny black man trying to solve mysteries while circumspectly navigating the white world. But Dalton’s no knock-off. (Would you label the hundreds of hard-boiled detectives who’ve appeared in Raymond Chandler’s wake mere Marlow Xeroxes because they’re white?)”
This boxed set includes the first three books in the series: A Dangerous Road, Smoke-Filled Rooms, and Thin Walls.
A Dangerous Road (Edgar Award Finalist)
Private Investigator Smokey Dalton works for Memphis, Tennessee’s black community. He has almost no interaction with the white hierarchy, even though they exist only blocks away. So he’s surprised the day a white woman walks into his Beale Street office. Laura Hathaway has sought him out because he’s a beneficiary in her mother’s will, and Laura wants to know why. So does Smokey. He’s never heard of the Hathaways, but his search will take him on a journey that will change everything he’s ever known.
Set against the backdrop of the strike and protests that will end with Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, A Dangerous Road combines the politics of race, betrayal, unexpected love, and the terrible cost of trust into a story so memorable the Mystery Writers of America chose it as one of the top five novels of the year and the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society honored it as the winner of the Herodotus Award for Best Historical Mystery.
On the run after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Private Investigator Smokey Dalton has settled under an assumed name in Chicago. But history won’t leave him alone. His job in security at the Chicago Hilton places him in the center of the protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Worse, a killer works his South Side neighborhood.
Smokey can’t ignore the crimes, any more than he can ignore the tension building in the city that hot August. He must take action, before he loses everything.
Chosen as one of the top ten mystery novels of the year by both Deadly Pleasures and Booklist.
Smokey Dalton and Jimmy, the young boy he protects, have settled into a new life on Chicago’s South Side. But when Smokey gets hired to investigate the death of a black man in a local park, he realizes that the murder might not be an isolated case. The Chicago Police Department doesn’t really investigate black deaths, particularly near the South Side. Smokey thinks the case easy, until he digs deeper into the history of the area, a history that includes gangs, racism, and secrets so dark they threaten his very existence.
Chosen as one of the top ten mystery novels of the year by the Chicago Tribune.
“Kris Nelscott can lay claim to the strongest series of detective novels now being written by an American author.”
“Powerful stuff, with a role for every major black actor in Hollywood.”
—Kirkus Reviews on A Dangerous Road
“More than just offering a puzzle, this novel encourages self-examination about identity, responsibility and the consequences of choices. Smokey proves himself a man of conscience able to make tough choices. His return will be cause for celebration.”
—Publisher’s Weekly on A Dangerous Road
“A blistering rendition of the ’60s racial wars marks this series as a standout as early as its second entry. You don’t need to be a fan of private-eye novels to admire Smokey: You just need a conscience.”
—Kirkus Reviews starred review on Smoke-Filled Rooms
“Nelscott does a superb job of using a familiar historical moment to dramatize an intimate human drama, as Smokey and Jimmy struggle to avoid becoming anonymous casualties lost behind the headlines. This series has all the passion and precision of Walter Mosley’s early Easy Rawlins novels, but it is not derivative. In fact, Smokey just may be a more compelling character than the celebrated Easy.”
—Booklist starred review on Smoke-Filled Rooms
“This is mystery fiction at its highest, most gripping level.”
—Chicago Tribune on Smoke-Filled Rooms
“Nelscott doesn’t use a specific historical moment to frame the action this time, but she still puts the late-sixties setting to good use, showing how nearly every move Smokey makes, both professionally and personally, is constrained by the racial climate of the times. Another fine entry in an outstanding series.”
—Booklist on Thin Walls
“Nelscott handles this busy plot with aplomb and convincingly portrays the frustrations of various groups of whites and blacks as inexorable changes create friction. Dalton is a strong, compelling hero facing a tough case and an equally tough fight to protect his son and survive.”
—Publishers Weekly starred review on Thin Walls