The second deliciously sneaky mystery in Anthony- and Edgar-nominated Tony Dunbar's Tubby Dubonnet series.
Tony Dunbar is the rare author able to make you laugh and shake in your shoes at the same time.
New Orleans lawyer Tubby Dubonnet is bored. He wants to bill enough hours to pay his alimony and keep his daughter in college, with enough left over for an occasional drink and a good meal, but he longs for something different and exciting.
Sure, researching licensing law for the new casino will keep trout meunière on the table, but what could be more tedious? (Unless, of course, the client turns out to be connected.) Meanwhile, there’s the estate of an old friend who controls some dock leases on the wharf. And he agrees to help his daughter’s environmental group stop illegal dumping in the river.
Ho-hum, thinks our hero. But suddenly all three cases begin to converge in an entirely ominous way–the toxic dumping, the dock leases, and the too-good-to-be-true casino job. How is that possible? Could it be Tubby’s been set up as the fall guy in a Mob effort to expand its gambling empire?
Suddenly Tubby IS doing something different and exciting — he’s running for his life!
Not far from Mike’s, on a little side street, the Thompsons were having a family barbecue. They had the TV on the front porch tuned in to the Saints game. The home team was playing arch rival Atlanta, which always got the fans keyed up to an emotional high. Thomas and Kip Thompson were outside watching the game and keeping a grill lit in the tiny front yard, which was separated from the sidewalk by a low iron picket fence. The day was special because they were celebrating Thomas’s recruitment to play baseball for the University of Southwestern Louisiana. The recruiter had promised he was going to be offered a scholarship.
They had smoked sausage and hamburgers fired up on the grill and an ice chest full of Old Milwaukee beer and Cokes. Their aunt was inside making her gumbo, soupy green and full of chicken, sausage, garlic, okra, and onions. It smelled so rich and fine that the old men in the neighborhood were starting to pass by to say hello. Their sister Tania, whose house this was, had a half-gallon bottle of Canadian Club and some ice in the living room for anybody who dropped in.
“Hurry up, Auntie,” Kip called. “We’re dying of hunger.”
“Don’t rush me,” came a deep voice from inside. “It takes a long time to make things just right.”
“You better get you one of these before they’re all gone.” Kip waved his beer can at his younger brother.
“Naw, you can do all the drinking for me,” Thomas said. He was in training and so high on the possibilities stretching out before him that Kip, his beer, and even Kip’s shiny Cadillac taxi parked by the curb held no temptations at all.
Kip drove a cab for a living. That was his story, and that’s what Thomas believed.
It was halftime. All the guests were inside sampling the gumbo and mixing drinks from the big bottle. Tania poured some potato chips into a plastic bowl to carry outside to her brothers.
A nothing-special sky-blue car, maybe an old Ford Galaxie, drove slowly past the house. Kip looked toward it, then jerked around to look at his brother.
“Thomas!” he yelled.
Anything else he planned to say got lost in the noise of an automatic pistol firing. Errant lead pellets broke the front windows of the house and sent the old men and women jumping for the floor, splashing gumbo and sweet cocktails over the walls and each other. But several found their target and perforated Kip’s chest and face, knocking him backward onto the porch and into his sister’s arms. She threw the potato chips into the front yard and fell on top of him. Thomas took a bullet in the knee.
The nothing-special car didn’t even speed up. It just made the corner and rolled on.
First there were the wails of the women, then the sirens came.