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Leavin' Trunk Blues (Nick Travers #2)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
It's been a year since Nick Traver's search for the lost recording of blues phantom Robert Johnson in Crossroad Blues. He has grown comfortable playing his harp at JoJo's in the French Quarter and teaching blues history at Tulane. A difficult case was the last thing on the blues tracker's mind.

When new details on the mysterious death of a blues record producer surface fro
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 14th 2001 by Minotaur Books (first published 2000)
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Carol Jean
Aug 15, 2016 Carol Jean rated it liked it
I've committed myself to finishing the series, though this second book is much less about the music and much more a traditional mystery, technically a "closed case," but one that generates considerable murder and mayhem. Nick Travers moves from the Delta to Chicago for this case, and I really would have liked to have heard more about the life of the Blues singer whose trail he is following.

Besides pretty much losing track of this character whose unlawful conviction for murder has resulted in 20
Nov 14, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing
Second in the series, our ex-NFL player/now blues historian professor, Nick Travers is off to Chicago. To interview Ruby Walker, whom they called Sweet Black Angel in the 50's, and has spent 40 years in prison for killing her lover. Nick and the reader, see the gritty/slums/under belly side of Chicago...the South Side. With a monsterous drug dealer after Nick to keep him from digging up the past, to him finding some of the names of blues past. As in his first novel, Atkins research of blues arti ...more
False Millennium
Set in Chicago. Another blues story, the second published work. I enjoyed it, but I like his more current works more.
Sep 02, 2012 Booknblues rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery readers, blues fans
Shelves: mystery, music
Oh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the land of California, to my sweet home Chicago
It seemed like everyone in the Mississippi delta country could hear that sweet song that Robert Johnson sang calling them north to Chicago. It fell on there ears like a sweet lullaby, a promise of a better life to the north. Young Ruby Walker was no exception. As a teenager she haunted the roadhouses and blues joints hoping that one day she could sing the blues in the sweet home up north "Chicago."

Well, Ruby did
Sep 12, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
Obviously I am still on an Ace Atkins binge, or exploration. I do like this series better than the Ranger guy series: it's better written, the characters real, the places evoked. And they are good. BUT, Atkins always tries, finally, too hard, the plot goes on a little too long. Perhaps only a ruthless editor is needed. Please, Ace, stop with the beloved and the hair across the face. Behind the ear. Hiding the eyes. I too want to be another James Lee Burke, but there is only one. There is so much ...more
Bruce Snell
Sep 29, 2012 Bruce Snell rated it liked it
Book Two in the Nick Travers series by Ace Atkins - 3.5 stars. It is the week before Christmas, and Nick is in Chicago, interviewing Ms. Walker and any of her friends and associates he can find in an effort to solve the 1959 murder of famous blues record produce, Billy Lyons. Nick's biggest problem is that Ruby has been in prison for 40 years after being convicted of that murder and it does not appear that anyone wants to see her freed. In the course of his investigation Nick run afoul of a loca ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Shomeret rated it it was ok
Leavin' Trunk Blues is the second mystery in which the detective is blues historian Nick Travers. I absolutely loved the first, Crossroad Blues, in which Travers investigates the death of musical prodigy Robert Johnson.

In this book, there is a character known as Stagger Lee. Nick Travers, doubts his existence because Stagger Lee is an urban legend. Neither Travers nor the author, Ace Atkins, reveals how or why Stagger Lee became a legend, or what role the legend plays in African American culture
Apr 13, 2011 Derek rated it really liked it
This book is a big improvement over the previous one in the series, CROSSROAD BLUES. While I enjoyed the first one, I found this one to be much more engaging, and the characters more realistic and well-rounded.

This time, Nick Travers heads to Chicago to investigate the 1959 murder of a blues producer. A famous female blues singer has been in jail since she was convicted for his death, but now she claims to be wrongly imprisoned. Nick, as a student of the blues and a sucker for a hard-luck story,
Clare O'Beara
Oct 08, 2014 Clare O'Beara rated it really liked it
Shelves: america-crime
I had not read the first book Crossroad Blues but this one caused a lot of interest from musicians when I showed it around.

A blues historian is looking for elderly people to interview who can tell him about the past blues and jazz scene in Chicago. People doing farm work in the southern states could earn much greater wages by moving to work in Chicago and they brought their music with them. But some were exploited by music managers and signed contracts that were not in their favour, so they ende
Oct 16, 2009 judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Heaven for Delta and Chicago blues fans. The action takes place in the present but the mystery to be solved takes place in 1959. As a result, you get a dissertation on The Great Migration to Chicago and the evolution of the blues. The author is clearly biased in favor of the first generation bluesmen like Muddy Waters and not so keen on the newer generations i.e. Buddy Guy. Atkins did a wonderful job of recreating the atmosphere of South Side then and through the last days of the infamous Robert ...more
Apr 22, 2012 Blackarcher rated it it was amazing
Okay I admit it....I'm a sucker for any book that with the blues, Chicago and a tough guy like Nick Travers that's got brains and heart to match his brawn. Once I started reading i couldn't but the book down. It has some flaws - dragging a bit in spots, uneven transitions between story lines - but the characters, the turn of phrase, and plot more than made up for them.
I liked this book because it gave you two perspectives: the account of Ruby, who's in jail for a murder she didn't commit, and Nick Travers, the man who's out to prove her innocence. This is a great book about the twists and turns of how one person can survive the system and the only man that believed her. Good read!
P.J. Coldren
Oct 08, 2008 P.J. Coldren rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of the blues and/or Chicago
Recommended to P.J. by: don't remember
I quit on about page 200. At first the data dumps about the blues were interesting, but that didn't last 200 pages. I thought the main character was particularly obtuse, which I found annoying. Just got so far and didn't want to go any farther.
Jeff Dickison
Jul 02, 2016 Jeff Dickison rated it liked it
This book was very much a mixed bag for me. The stories and tidbits about the great Chicago bluesplayers was great, but the mystery part of the story was fairly obvious. I would recommend this to any blues fans, but mystery lovers should beware.
Sep 11, 2015 J.D. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I didn't want to put this book down. If you're a fan of the blues, the Mississippi Delta and love a good mystery, you can't go wrong with this series. Jack Reacher with the blues!
Jan 11, 2008 Suziqoregon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, owned
My blog post about this book can be read here.
Larry James
Mar 12, 2013 Larry James rated it it was amazing
For a fan of mysteries or a fan of the blues, Leavin' Trunk Blues is a great read. If you are both it is even better.
Jul 25, 2009 Matt added it
Not as good in terms of plot or style as the first book in the Nick Travers series (Crossroad Blues), but worthy of indulgence in a guilty pleasure.
Thelonius rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2015
Chris rated it it was ok
Apr 13, 2014
Shane rated it liked it
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Steve rated it liked it
Mar 12, 2012
Rich Boyett
Rich Boyett rated it really liked it
Dec 16, 2012
Scrabbleass Beatyour
Scrabbleass Beatyour rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2010
Dennis rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2008
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Oct 11, 2016
James Keenley
James Keenley rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2012
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Aug 04, 2015
Paul rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2012
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Ace Atkins is the author of eight novels, including his latest, Infamous, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30.

While at the Tribune, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a
More about Ace Atkins...

Other Books in the Series

Nick Travers (4 books)
  • Crossroad Blues: A Nick Travers Mystery
  • Dark End of the Street
  • Dirty South

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