Book Review – Crime Czar

Crime-Czar-082113

CLick Here to purchase Crime Czar: A Hard Boiled New Orleans Legal Thriller (Tubby Dubonnet #5)

Please Note: This is Book 5 in a series and was free when I was searching the Kindle store. I have since gone back with my Premium membership to read the first four in the series to see if what I read in #5 was consistent among the other novels and also see if it made #5 make more sense.

Tubby Dubonnet is not your typical New Orleans lawyer. He’s a bit on the crooked side and a bit of a sleaze but he has a wonderful sense of humor and camaraderie with his friends and allies. At least according to the excerpts and Publishers Weekly reviews he does. Personally, I found Tubby to be a rather slapdash character with very little likeable to him excepting his penchant for getting in to situations he has no real business being in.

Billed as a ‘Legal Thriller’ series, I was expecting something more Courtroom Drama than poor CSI. The description of each of the books paints a wonderful picture of a dynamic character with a great deal of interesting characteristics. Tubby is a ‘maverick’ a ‘gambler’ and a person who ‘fights evil to pass the time.’

I must have been reading the wrong series.

This story is a confusing group of plots and subplots all coming together to try and form something coherent. Tubby has been hunting for the ‘Crime Czar’ – a criminal mastermind behind everything that has been going on in his territory (New Orleans). This mastermind is responsible for organizing and assigning crimes as well as covering them up and keeping things from collapsing in on themselves. He is utterly convinced that if he can bust this crime overlord he can take care of most of his home turf’s problems.

Meanwhile a hooker with a heart of gold is having issues of her own when she crosses over in to organized crime’s territory. She vows vengeance on the man who kills her ‘not-boyfriend’ and manages to get a gun to do so. Meanwhile, Tubby’s thief , and sort-of girlfriend’ is visiting New Orleans with some jewels they stole in a previous story. All of this is happening during a re-election campaign WHILE Tubby sets up a trap for the Czar.

Yeah, there are a lot of threads to track.

Unfortunately, the setting, while authentic, is not very well used. The people speak with their dialects and accents as appropriate and do a fairly good job of sounding authentically New Orleans. However, that is about it for the characters. I find Tubby distasteful at best and downright slovenly at worst. He’s supposed to be an interesting person and a part of his community, but he comes off as being somewhat selfish and confused most of the time. Tubby doesn’t seem to know what is going on around him, which is frustrating for the reader since a lot of the time it’s Tubby’s perspective that is governing what we can see and interpret. Dunbar’s secondary characters are all 1-dimensional and easy to predict and see their purpose.

The plot is a confusing mish-mash of threads. Dunbar seems to be hinting that Tubby is on the right trail in his Crime Czar hunt, but nothing is really resolved within the book. There are dozens of candidates available and only one is satisfactorily resolved as to whether or not he is the one behind the crime in New Orleans. The rest are examined very vaguely. That is the main plotline of the story. The sub-plots are half-hazzardly placed within the story and very little is done with it. Tubby’s assistance on a campaign for judge, for instance, is mentioned and focused on for perhaps 10 pages total and is the center of the humor for this particular story. Unfortunately, this sub plot gets so lost in the shuffle that the reader is barely able to track it. Some organization and focus would be very helpful.

All in all, at ‘Free’ its an OK choice to spend some hours on the novel, but I would not spend any real money.

Writing: 3/5
Characterization: 2.5/5
Plot: 3/5
Flow: 2/5
Value: 3/5 (At Free)
Total rating: 3.2/5

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