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 picked up this book for two reasons, first is South Louisiana, since moving out of New Orleans, I keep trying to think of ways to get back there, and a book is as good as I can get now. That was great, I could see the bayou, the setting was beautiful and I also enjoyed the way the problems with the Golf and Katrina were discussed, they were there, but not in any way front and central on the story.
The second thing that made pick this up was the promise of treasure hunting, pirate treasure hunting to be more specific. And that is where the book felt disappointing to me, I went in expecting a completely different thing than I ended up getting. I envisioned a plot driven race on the bayou, I got a character driven plot where the treasure barely appears.
The book is also written in multiple points of view, and while it was well written, I kept waiting for all of them to eventually merge in the search for - you guessed it - the treasure, and while this is a solid book, if just felt like a missed opportunity.
I realize I complained quite a bit, but this really is a solid first book for the author, if you take is for what it is, a character driven book, set in a beautiful bayou, you will enjoy it thoroughly.