The name Smokey Dalton refers to a series of historical mystery thriller novels written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; though the books are most commonly marketed with the name Kris Nelscott.
Order of Smokey Dalton Series
|1||A Dangerous Road||2000||Description / Buy|
|2||Smoke-Filled Rooms||2001||Description / Buy|
|3||Thin Walls||2002||Description / Buy|
|4||Stone Cribs||2004||Description / Buy|
|5||War at Home||2005||Description / Buy|
|6||Days of Rage||2006||Description / Buy|
Nelscott is a pen name that Rusch uses from time to time.
The Smokey Dalton books take readers to Memphis in the 1960s. Smokey Dalton, the African-American protagonist at the center of the series, struggled to survive a difficult childhood. When readers meet him in A Dangerous Road, Smokey is doing what he can to survive as a private detective operating without a license in Memphis.
Smokey does odd jobs for people. When his friends and family encounter complications in their lives, either because of their own actions or as a result of other people’s decisions, they look to Smokey for help.
And it seems like he’s garnered quite the reputation over the years because when readers first meet him, Smokey is doing a decent amount of business. His life changes when a rich white woman walks into his office and offers him ten thousand dollars.
Apparently, the woman’s parents included Smokey in their will and she wants to know why. Fortunately for her, so does Smokey. His attempts at getting to the truth reopen old wounds from his past.
The things he learns upend both their lives. Smokey spends the rest of the Smokey Dalton series dealing with the repercussions of his investigation, not to mention his close relationship with Martin Luther King Jr.
The Smokey Dalton books are political in nature. They put readers inside the mind of a black man at a time in American History when race relations were at their most violent.
Smokey traverses the American landscape, mostly trying to operate under the radar. Smokey wants to stay out of the politics of his time but the deaths of Martin Luther King and JFK make that task a difficult one to accomplish.
He is joined on his journey by Jimmy, a boy he vows to protect but who doesn’t always understand the dangers of his situation. Rusch, the author, has been commended for writing a story that perfectly balances the historical aspects of the setting with the mystery at hand.
While Rusch plays with touchy subjects like race, abortion, and even controversial historical groups like the Blank Panthers, she never gets too preachy and neither does she attempt to take sides.
Rather, she focuses on simply presenting the facts. The fact that Rusch is a white woman always surprises fans of the Smokey Dalton series. The author has written fiction in every genre, from science fiction to fantasy.
Smokey Dalton Awards
A Dangerous Road, the first Smokey Dalton novel, received an Edgar Award Nomination in 2001.
Best Smokey Dalton Books
The Smokey Dalton novels are often commended for painting America in the 1960s in such vivid and accurate colors, with some of the best books in the series including:
Thin Walls: People normally ask Smokey Dalton to find things. But when Mrs. Alice Foster comes to his door, she only cares about identifying her husband’s killer. Someone stabbed the man in the heart and left him propped up against a tree.
The police thought he was the victim of a mugging. It hadn’t taken them long to give up on his case. But Smokey proves to be a far more persistent investigator. To find his new client’s husband’s killer, he reaches out to the photojournalist who documented his murder scene.
It doesn’t take Smokey long to realize that the dead man wasn’t the first middle-class victim of a stabbing in the area. Smokey must find a demented killer whilst also caring for his adopted son who older gang members at school are bullying.
Days of Rage: Smokey Dalton left Memphis for Chicago when his adopted son witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King. They’ve since settled into their new life. Smokey wants to keep his head down.
However, that becomes difficult when he is asked to inspect a real estate firm his girlfriend owns. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the trial of the Chicago Eight, Smokey uncovers something buried that threatens his life and that of his son and girlfriend.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Jack Emery” Series by Steve P. Vincent is another great read. Jack Emery is a battle-weary journalist who will stop at nothing to prevent America from descending into a state of tyranny, anarchy, and chaos. To achieve his goal, he must face and overcome some very dangerous people.
Be sure to check out the “Dan Reno” Series by Dave Stanton. Dan Reno was thirteen when his father was killed by a shotgun blast. As an adult, he tries to maintain his sanity by working as a private detective who helps desperate people find and stop bad guys.
What Is The Next Book in The Smokey Dalton Series?
There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Smokey Dalton Series. The newest book is Days of Rage and was released on March, 7th 2006.