Shelter from the Storm

Tony Dunbar, Author, Anthony P. Dunbar, Author
Tony Dunbar, Author, Anthony P. Dunbar, Author Putnam Publishing Group $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-14301-4
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 209 pages - 978-0-425-16644-4
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In his fourth mystery (Trick Question, 1997) about deceptively laid-back New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet, Dunbar takes a big chance and comes up with the best book in the series. He makes a natural disaster--a huge rainstorm that drowns the city and threatens to wash out its entire Mardi Gras celebration--a major character, affecting the outcome of various crimes and schemes and stirring things up for everyone. Tubby, who starts the book short of money, work and self-esteem, rises to the occasion along with the water level. He loses a client in the flooded streets, shares a hotel room with a friendly, slightly larcenous female tourist from Chicago and then stumbles upon a trio of bank robbers whose agenda is linked to a typically noisome old New Orleans property swindle. Along the way, of course, the hefty ex-college wrestler Dubonnet gets to eat some great grub (it wouldn't be a Big Easy book without a fried oyster po-boy sandwich or a serving of Crabmeat Imperial with Roasted Pecans) and remark on the city's unique ambiance. But unlike other books set in New Orleans (including earlier Dunbar efforts), the atmosphere isn't painted by the numbers. In conjuring up the havoc that a few days of relentless rain could wreak on the city's fragile infrastructure, the author convinces the reader to care about its fate. The same can be said of Dubonnet--a lazy, corner-cutting, slightly shabby, occasionally reckless but totally decent man who turns out to be much more than a passing tourist attraction. (Jan.)
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