"They came like specters from the dark maw of the bayou, first ghostly light in the fog, then the rasp of a motor: an aluminum powerboat scudding across lacquer-black water."
When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette, these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.
I really, really wanted to like this, I can't believe I didn't. The writing isn't horrible, the characters are interesting, the books has everything going for it EXCEPT it didn't keep my interest. I bounced from book to book and kept struggling to come back and finish this one. It could be just me but I wasn't very invested into the storylines. I could care less about half the characters in this book or what happened to the town. I wish I could pin-point exactly why I feel this way, all I can say is that the plotline lacked any gripping snag and the characters didn't develop anything to keep me reading.
So what exactly kept me coming back? Treasure hunting! I'm a sucker for that stuff. The one plotline that kept me intrigued was the one that followed Gus Lindquist, the treasure hunting shrimper with one arm. He was SO interesting, almost like a modern life pirate but instead of a drunken' buccaneer, he's addicted to pain pills. In the very beginning of the book he loses his fake (extremely expensive) arm and gets all worked up to find it. Everything about this character was PERFECT, which made the rest of the book that more disappointing. I wish I could PLUCK Gus from this book and place him in something more interesting, or even give him a book of his own. The jumping around from character to character usually works for me, but not when one completely outshines all the others... then reading becomes a rush to come back to that interesting character, losing the enjoyment of the journey.
I have a feeling this book will do okay though. It's original and reflects upon people and a time that hasn't been represented much. I have to hand it to the Author for tackling the backyard hooligans and shrimpers, that had to be a hard task. Clearly, Tom Cooper can write and he has the ability to create a fantastic and intriguing character (Gus), so I won't abandon him in the future, I will give this Author a second chance. This book though, wasn't for me.
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