(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“…probably the most incredible story that ever came out of a city that was accustomed to sordid weirdness from Voodoo to political murder…how can a world so beautiful to the eye conceal such sick human behavior … Heirloom was the worst. I wish I could wipe the images from my mind that I witnessed in that case. “
These are the words of New Orleans private investigator, Walker Rowan as he recounts this wretched case involving a chemist, Colton Wellington and other unsavory characters.
Wellington patented a formula to preserve garments like wedding dresses and other heirlooms, hence the name of his business, “Heirloom”. However, he also found another use– a rather sordid one– that was quite lucrative. Also he created another side business of utilizing an unpatented formula that would dissolve matter. That was even more lucrative.
Wellington brought in an attorney, Tryon Ireland, who had connections to the underworld that guaranteed the profitability of these formulas. He had other motives as he and his wife were desperately trying to enter the social elite, which unbeknownst to them was not predicated on wealth, but instead, by birth.
Interestingly enough, Walker Rowan wasn’t the person who unraveled this ring. Rather, it was Wellington’s grandson, Max. After returning from serving overseas, he came back to the family business unaware of its unadvertised and illegal dealings. When he realized that his life was in danger, he began a quest to find out why and who was behind it.
Heirloom keeps the reader entranced with its fast, eerie plot and sleazy characters. It still manages to embrace New Orleans culture. My only complaint is that the love story woven in seamed out of place and silly.
That said, I still think that fans of bizarre crime novels featuring a city’s rich culture will enjoy this short read.