Thursday, May 25, 2023

Book Review: Wild Cards - Mississippi Roll

Now on its final voyage, the historical steamboat Natchez is known for her super-powered guest entertainers. But after the suspicious death of a crewmember, retired NY police detective Leo Storgman decides to make this incident his personal case. His findings only lead to a growing number of questions. Is there some truth behind the ghostly sightings of the steamboat’s first captain Wilbur Leathers? What secret does the current captain seem to be hiding? And could the Natchez be ferrying mysterious – and possibly dangerous – cargo onboard?

Mississippi Roll features the writing talents of Stephen Leigh, John Jos. Miller, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Carrie Vaughn, David D. Levine, and Cherie Priest. The book is edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass.

Beginning my Wild Cards catch-up with this release from late 2017 from Tor Books, this is the twenty-fourth entry in the series and the first of three books that make up The American Triad. Structurally, one of the six stories ("In the Shadow of the Tall Stacks") acts as the framework with the other five interspersed as it goes.

"Wingless Angel" had a very current-events element to it, dealing with refugees and immigration. ICE Agent Jones sounded like she stepped right out of the US Administration at the time of the writing. The themes hit very close to home. The next tale, "A Big Break In the Small Time" counterbalanced things nicely. I always enjoy the interplay of entertainers, and this one had a very fun vibe to it.

"Death On the Water" was equally as fun. I like the Storgmans as well as the investigators from The Dead Report; the characters played off of one another well.


Jim McClain said...

John Jos. Miller passed away last year, so I wonder if this will be his last story. Was there any kind of dedication to him or anything?

Martin Maenza said...

Jim, not in this volume (as it was published long before his death). I'll have to check the most recent one that comes out this summer when it prints to see if there is a dedication in that one.

Martin Maenza said...

Just checked my galley of Wild Cards: Pairing Up. No mention in the dedication of that one.