Back in June 2014, I got this one free through BookBub - it sounded interesting and is the first in a series of seven, I believe. Set in New Orleans, the author is a New Orleans attorney, and the series has been nominated for both Anthony and Edgar Allen Poe awards. It's also relatively short - just 224 pages - and reader reviews are fairly positive. So what did I have to lose?
Not much, as it turns out. Right off the bat, one sentence made my day: "There were enough law books on the shelves to put new clients at ease." As a former legal secretary (albeit a long time ago), I get that. Really.
New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet, the "star" of the show, loves fishing, drinking and lots of other non-lawyerly things. His client list includes a transvestite entertainer and the doctor who has referred that same disgruntled entertainer to Dubonnet during a malpractice lawsuit (say what??). Tubby's also got the requisite ex-wife and a handful-minus two teenage daughters; now, he's got a new client, the manager of a local nightclub who, it seems, has been nailed for theft of a ton of marijuana. But right off the bat, the client insists on leaving a gym bag with Tubby - who discovers it's not full of marijuana.
The entire book is what I'd call laid back, with rather ho-hum dialogue and not much real action (although it does pick up a bit near the end. It's also a little tough to keep the characters straight, but that, too, gets easier as the story goes along. Perhaps the biggest issue is that the Kindle format is a little rough - no line spaces between paragraphs - but once I got used to that, everything moved along splendidly and the well-thought-out plot is quite enjoyable.
And that means yes, I plan to look into other books in this series; as short as they are, they're perfect for a quick "filler" read in between, say, a Stephen King and a David Baldacci. Good job, Mr. Dunbar!
Crooked Man: A Hard-Boiled but Humorous New Orleans Mystery by Tony Dunbar (booksBnimble, November 2013); 224 pp.