Cahokia Jazz

Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford is a mixture of noirish historical and speculative fiction that imagines an alternate history of the United States in which indigenous populations, rather than being decimated by disease and colonization, had thrived and built their own states. In Spufford’s novel, the year is 1922 and the setting is Cahokia - which takes its name from a real-life ancient indigenous city - the cultural center of a Native-led U.S. state where different racial and cultural enclaves thrive side by side in a kind of uneasy harmony. When a white man is murdered, racial tensions boiling below the surface of the city explode. Joe Barrow, the mixed-race police detective in the vein of a hard-boiled, Raymond Chandler-inspired sleuth, takes on the case and serves as a compelling moral center of this rich, complex novel.