New Orleans is a city of contrasts, where beautiful nineteenth-century houses and slum apartments exist side-by-side in decadent harmony. As a reporter, Comiski knows all its moods and has covered some of the seamiest and raffish acts of life in The Big Easy. The cop house, the morgue, the racetrack are his beat, and following it he stumbles into the barely imaginable. Trouble begins with the discovery of a headless corpse. A prosperous and respectable black man named Parks had died of natural causes and now the grave has been broken into and the corpse's head taken. Comiski sets out to find out who perpetrated this senseless outrage, a search that takes him into strange places and company: a jockey named Littlebit, his drug-dealing motorcyclist friends, an ominous would-be black revolutionary named Tea whose hatred embraces all whites, and his beautiful woman, Carrie. With each step Comiski feels the danger and the fascination grow stronger. This is a story of crime and racial strife, but also of courage and endurance, a relentless journey through a kind of deep-delta purgatory. People become bits of flotsam sucked into the whirlpool. Like the city itself, the novel is made up of contrasts -- raw violence and horror interspersed with moments of beauty, nostalgia, and compassion. St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Grim, gripping, violent and practically impossible to put down." Publisher's Weekly: "The scene is unglamorous New Orleans - decay, dirt, garbage... smell, every kind of filth, human and animal, in a brief, well-written novel of hopeless degradations that has a unique impact." Library Journal: "A short- fast-paced and absorbing novel... that probes deeply into the texture of the contemporary South, and entertains from first page to last."
Used availability for James Conaway's The Big Easy
May 1971 : UK Hardback
January 2014 : USA Paperback
January 2014 : Canada, UK Kindle edition