FAT TUESDAY by Sandra Brown (Hodder & Stoughton, 2009)
Reviewed by Craig Sisterson
More than a decade after it was first released in the United States, former model and TV weather presenter turned prolific bestselling author Sandra Brown’s tale of a New Orleans narcotics cop’s vengeful battle with a corrupt defence attorney, has been published in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for the first time.
Brown, a native Texan, began her award-winning writing career in 1981, and has since penned seventy novels, including fifty-six New York Times bestsellers and several #1 bestsellers, including FAT TUESDAY. Over the years her writing has shifted from romance fiction under a variety of pseudonyms to suspense thrillers.
FAT TUESDAY opens with the acquittal of the man NOPD detective Burke Basile blames for the shooting death of his partner, before following Basile’s increasingly wild attempts to seek revenge on powerful defence attorney Pinkie Duvall. Basile targets Duvall not only because of the acquittal, but because he suspects Duvall of being an underground drug kingpin and well-connected, protected crime lord.
Feeling betrayed by friends, co-workers and an adulterous wife, Basile eventually kidnaps Duvall’s beautiful wife Remy in the lead-up to Mardi Gras, hiding her at an isolated fishing camp. Brown takes the reader on an often violent rollercoaster ride from sumptuous garden parties to crack-infested backstreets, bordellos to alligator-filled Louisiana swamps, as Basile tries to dodge corruption both outside and inside the NOPD as he aims for Duvall’s jugular. His plan becomes further complicated by his increasing attraction to Remy, an attraction that seems reciprocated.
FAT TUESDAY is an enjoyable read. Although it has moments veering towards Brown’s pulp romance past, an exciting story and interesting characters carry the reader along on a fun journey filled with fake priests, shot-gun toting hillbillies, corrupt cops, and betrayal at every turn. It’s the type of book many readers could curl up with for sheer pleasure.
This review was originally written for and published in the print version of NZLawyer magazine.