It's May in Memphis, and four bloody murders occur on the eve of the International BBQ Contest and the Cotton Carnival: a conventioneer is stabbed at an ATM machine, a gang leader and his girlfriend are executed, and a wealthy local businessman is killed in his own home while his bodyguard is napping outside the door. It's up to homicide detective J.W. Ragsdale to solve these seemingly unconnected crimes without scaring away the tourists who are arriving in droves. That's t going to be easy. Ragsdale's investigation pits him against a crack-dealing gang in the midst of a bloody drug war, a Memphis BBQ king struggling to hold on to his crumbling empire, a shotgun-wielding assassin, an East Coast mobster with a taste for BBQ and the blues, and the newly crowned Maid of Cotton, who will do anything to keep her tiara.
Gerald Duff is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and has published 19 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry and non-fiction, all of which have brought him well-deserved comparison to Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Calvin Trillin, Flannery O'Connor, and William Faulkner. Memphis Ribs is his unforgettable tale of deception, crime, and barbecue. His stories have been cited in the Best American Short Fiction, the Pushcart Prizes, and the Editors' Choice: The Best American Fiction. Duff grew up in two parts of Texas: the petro-chemical area of the Gulf Coast, and the pine barrens of Deep East Texas, which made for two-mindedness and a bifurcated view of the world, as he demonstrates in his fiction. His characters are deeply rooted both in the past and in the present, and they struggle fiercely and comically in a quest to achieve escape velocity from places which are not their homes. He has has worked as a hand in the oil fields and the cotton fields, as a janitor, a TV camera man, a professor of English, a college dean, and as a bit actor in television drama. He has made up stories all his life and written wherever he's been. He's still doing that.