Mark Purvis works downtown at The Crisis publishing office, but all he really wants is a chance to wail on his saxophone and impress Fats Waller, Harlem's own piano-playing musical giant. Fats offers Mark another opportunity first: a simple little delivery job for some fast cash.
Too bad the delivery goes awry. Too bad the cold-blooded gangster Dutch Schultz was in on the deal and wants his money from Mark...or else!
Walter Dean Myer's beautifully written novel is a poignant, often hilarious coming-of-age story of one boy navigating his way through Harlem's happening streets and into his own manhood.