Thursday, January 8, 2009

Book Review - FAT TUESDAY by Sandra Brown

Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown
1997, 458pgs

Burke Basile is a pretty messed up dude. He's a burnt-out detective that's almost out of a job, lost a wife to a gym teacher, accidentally killed his partner, been pushed away from his partner's children and friends, and has been saddled with a new, obnoxious partner. About the only thing he's got going for him is that he sports a mighty fine moustache. Basile blames all of this but the moustache to a certain extent on Pinkie Duvall, a nefarious and dapper Defense Attorney/Crime Lord, (one of the only times you'll ever see that combination, by the way). Pinkie was in charge of the man that got his partner killed, and has his pinkies in everything else too, from prostitution, to drugs, to extortion. Basile decides the fellow needs to be taught a lesson, at any cost, and kidnaps Pinkie's disturbed but beautiful wife in a complicated plan that he clearly didn't think through involving priests, rednecks, gay flashers, Cajuns, fishing, gators, guns, a naked upper lip, and handcuffs. Naturally, some time alone in a fishing cabin with the captivatingly flawed beauty queen leads Basile to start thinking about more than just revenge, and soon he finds himself fighting to defeat the well armed, well connected, well heeled, orchid growing, killer attorney for the both of them!

Sandra Brown has written over 60 books, starting primarily as a romance author and evolving into an author of "thrillers" and this novel definitely shows a little bit of both types of books. Despite being a well respected, strictly law-abiding veteran detective in New Orleans, Burke is also apparently irresistible to women, both with and without his moustache! Now, I'm certainly not saying that one couldn't live in N'Awlins and have been a cop for some years without keeping oneself in shape and attractive to the opposite sex, but I am saying that I've never really met someone who has, that's all. Brown seems to find it necessary to cram as many features and quirks into a character as possible, making them all seem so outlandish that you can't help but have a good time reading about them, from the gay-aspiring actor-ex-con-wimpy-public exposing-from a rich family-accomplice, to Burke's brother, who only has a couple of pages, but still has a couple of memorable quirks and you can't help but wonder what's going to pop up next!

The book starts pretty strong, with a good basis for why Burke hates Pinkie so much, and certainly makes you feel like Pinkie deserves what he's obviously got coming. The abduction of Pinkie's wife, Remy (yes, that's her real name... ) is hilarious, complete with costumes and elaborate scams and angry homophobic hillbillies. Unfortunately, once the two reach his remote swampbound cabin, things start to get a little romance novel-ish, and they inevitably find feelings for each other and lose clothes for each other as well. The ending was also pretty disappointing to me, it seemed like there was a couple of chapters missing, and that others had been crammed into one without any real sense of reason. While the first half was drawn out and clear, the last half had about a dozen double crosses and nearly as many dropped or ignored plot points. All the same, it ended good, if utterly predictably, and it was a fun read. I'll probably check out some of Sandra Brown's other books, especially if they're as cheap as I got this one.


Additionally, I'd like to share a second opinion, written in pencil on the first page of my copy of the book, by the mysterious B. Olsen:
That's right - "Very good!"

Now Reading - Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz (I don't have a very high opinion of Koontz, and this one seems pretty... unlikeable so far, so it may not get finished....)


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