Burke Basile is like any great detective: smart, hardened, quiet. Mustachioed. He’s the Magnum P.I. of New Orleans, if slightly less charming. Circumstances, however, have turned the once effective investigator with loads of integrity into a traumatized, rogue officer intent on revenge; his partner and best friend, Kevin, was killed in a drug bust – and it was Burke’s fault. Embittered with grief, Burke blames Pinkie Duvall, lawyer extraordinaire and downright dirtbag, for the failed mission. And there’s only one obstacle in Burke’s path to the scummy defense attorney: Pinkie’s lovely and innocent wife, Remy.
Plot Overview: Deception, Kidnapping and Love
After accidentally killing his partner, Burke is buckling under the guilt and the rage. His marriage crumbles, Kevin’s widow asks him not to visit anymore, and powerful criminals have their fingers in the New Orleans police department. Topping off that sundae with a nice juicy cherry is the acquittal of the drug kingpin behind the botched bust. Witnessing flamboyant Pinkie at the helm of a disappointing trial, Burke, a man of ethics and black-and-white justice, gives up.
He resigns from the department then crafts a plan of revenge to steal what Pinkie holds most dear: his wife. Gathering a posse of colorful personalities, like Gregory, a gay hustler who dreams of being an actor, a madam’s most talented girl and an old friend who lives deep in the bayou, Burke kidnaps Remy. The one element he hasn’t counted on? His undeniable attraction to the Cinderella-like woman whose Prince Charming husband has a heart like stone and hands that too easily slap and abuse.
Criticisms and Compliments
Sandra Brown, like Nora Roberts, excels at romantic suspense more than straight romance (just look at Prime Time). And like Roberts, Brown’s earlier novels are her best. Fat Tuesday may not be as well-written and engaging as Envy, but it’s close. The plot, though clichéd at times, has a terrific number of twists and turns, the characters, especially Dredd and Gregory, are memorable, and the romance between Burke and Remy feels sincere and sweet. But the shining star of Fat Tuesday is the city itself, New Orleans.
In a place of grit and glamour, dark alleys and masquerade balls, New Orleans is a place for the basest of human desires. It’s dirty and sexy and romantic and boisterous. There’s corruption in every office, and greed runs through the streets like a flood of water. Yet while the city itself appeals to the glitzier and more ambitious of folk, the bayou is really where life teems and death preys – by way of gators. So for the bad guys, the muscle, the brawn without the brains, the employees of Pinkie Duvall, the swamp is where they meet their maker. And where Burke and Remy discover the tender, rosy first days of true love.
Fat Tuesday is not just a book for fans of romance, fans of suspense, fans of Mardi Gras, it’s a book for those who just enjoy a good story set in a good city. A must read.
- Brown, Sandra. Fat Tuesday. Grand Central Publishing, 1998 ISBN 9780446605588