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Newell never really belonged in Pastel, Alabama. Ready for a change, he buys a one-way ticket to New Orleans. The year is 1978 and the rambunctious city beckons with its famous promise of bright lights, excitement, and men everywhere.

Newell makes his way, finding a job in a pornographic bookstore and renting a room in the French Quarter. His good nature, good looks, and a daring stunt in a popular bar make him a quick favorite of the town. Soon he has friends. Some are harmless, like Henry, a pudgy sidekick who's a frequent denizen of the porn shop's movie booths. Others prove more dangerous, like party-boy Mark, Newell's first beau, who has a penchant for recreational drugs. Finally, Newell encounters the volatile Jack, who shows Newell the blackest heart of the city.

Boulevard, Jim Grimsley's fifth novel, reminds us that Grimsley is what Publishers Weekly calls "an accomplished stylist and a complex moralist." He takes one character's dream and reveals what can happen when dreams are fulfilled.

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