RARA-AVIS: O'Neil DeNoux

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 17 Sep 2002

Second generation cop O'Neil DeNoux served with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office for many years, eventually becoming a decorated detective in the department's homicide and organized crime units. After leaving law enforcement, he worked as a college instructor, a PI, a computer graphics specialist, among other jobs. He's also written some pretty fine cop novels.

Though DeNoux's personal police experience was in the suburbs of New Orleans, his books are set in the Big Easy's inner city. His most frequentlyused series character, NOPD Homicide Detective Dino LaStanza appears in all of DeNoux' novels, his only short story collection, and a number of uncollected short stories that have appeared in publications ranging from BLUE MURDER to ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. DeNoux has also written short stories about another NOPD cop, John Raven Beau, and a couple of historical cop stories, set in the New Orleans of the 1890s, about a cop named Dugas. He's also written several PI short stories about a character named Lucien Caye, and one non-fiction true crimer book, SPECIFIC INTENT. He also briefly edited a crime fiction magazine, MYSTERY STREET, which (like most magazines featuring short crime stories) didn't last long.

DeNoux's personal favorite among his LaStanza novels is his latest, THE BIG SHOW. LaStanza has also appeared in GRIM REAPER, which pits LaStanza against a serial killer; THE BIG KISS, in which the Sicilian-American cop takes on the New Orleans Mafia; BLUE ORLEANS, about the drug trade; CRESCENT CITY KILLS, another riff on the serial killer theme; and LA STANZA, the only hardcover book in the series, which collects about a dozen short stories about the character.

If anyone has any doubt about whether or not police procedurals should be counted in the hard-boiled firmament, check out DeNoux's books. The streets don't come any meaner, the characters don't come any tougher, and the dialog doesn't come any more colloquial.


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