Ten years ago Scott Phillips went Western with Cottonwood, his hard-boiled soft-core novel set in the 1870s. Protagonist Bill Ogden is a photographer and a full-time philanderer who gets tangled up with another man's wife and gets in more than a little trouble with her husband. The new sequel, Hop Alley, finds Bill living in Denver under the name Bill Sadlaw. He's got a girl and his own photography studio, so everything's fine. But when a local murder is pinned on two Chinese immigrants, racial tensions threaten to blow the town apart -- and Bill is once again at the center of it all. Hop Alley is the unusual sequel that doesn't require you to have read the first book, but once you're exposed to Bill, you'll seek out more tales of the freewheeling cad. Phillips reads from and discusses Hop Alley tonight at 7 p.m. at the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (3309 South Grand Boulevard; 314-772-6586 or www.slpl.org). Admission is free, and copies of the book will be sold onsite by Left Bank Books.
Thu., May 22, 7 p.m., 2014