TONY DUNBAR – Crooked Man. [Tubby Dubonnet #1.] G.P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, 1994. Berkley, paperback, 1996.

   This came out back in January [of 1994], and I missed it completely. I don’t believe I ever even saw a copy. Dunbar us a New Orleans lawyer, and has written four non-fiction books; this is his first novel.

   Tubby Dubonnet is a successful though not overly affluent New Orleans lawyer who has an ex-wife, three daughters, and a varied and odd group of clients. Among them are a doctor who refers his own malpractice patient to Tubby, a flamboyant wrecker operator who has problems with insurance, a buxom blonde who doesn’t pay bills, and a club owner who deals in a few drugs.

   The latter is the one who, as you might suspect, is destined to cause him major problems. Before it’s over Tubby has run afoul of crooked cops and rich drug bankrollers, and seen more dead bodies than he wanted to.

   I enjoyed this. Dunbar knows New Orleans, and while he doesn’t overpower you with atmosphere, the city definitely comes alive. The prose is low key and straightforward, and the characters are interesting. Dunbar tells the story effectively through shifting third-person viewpoints, though Tubby is the predominant focus.

   It isn’t and doesn’t attempt to be a Big Novel, but it is a well told story about some engaging and mostly amiable characters. I liked them, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of Tubby and the Big Easy.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #15, September 1994.

       The Tubby Dubonnet series —

1. Crooked Man (1994)
2. City of Beads (1996)
3. Trick Question (1997)
4. Shelter from the Storm (1997)
5. The Crime Czar (1998)
6. Lucky Man (1999)
7. Tubby Meets Katrina (2005)
8. Night Watchman (2015)
9. Fat Man Blues (2016)
10. Flag Boy (2017)