THE BUDDY SYSTEM by Brandon Hebert


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A pair of New Orleans cops gets the bright idea to lean on some of the bad guys they keep busting for drugs to help them out of a jam. Then the bad guys get the same idea.

Three years after Katrina left the Big Easy a basket case, the city is still hurting. Detective Jack Hardy, who once left his bride at the altar, and his African-American partner, Early Moore, are under serious pressure to provide names for the wiretapping unit they’ve been assigned to. It seems only natural for Jack to ask Lamont Brown to help him out. Since he’s already agreed to help Lamont dispose of the proceeds of his latest home invasion, why shouldn’t Lamont return the favor by dropping a few names over the airwaves to make Jack and Early look good? Things go fine for about five minutes. Then rival drug dealer Jamario Neal starts to make noises about moving in on Lamont’s territory; one of Lamont’s foot soldiers who talks to Jamario gets himself ventilated seconds later; and the hapless cops find that they’re among the suspicious parties Lamont has identified on the wire. Meanwhile, Lamont decides that his cousin Jello, an unsuccessful contractor, needs to get a piece of the city’s reconstruction business and demands that Jack hook him up with the right contact. Deciding optimistically that the right contact is Gayle White, one of the city’s liaisons to the federal agencies funding the work, Jack approaches her, then realizes he has quite another interest in her, one that will put her in serious danger. From that point on, cast members fall like dominoes.

Hebert (Odd Man Out, 2013, etc.) keeps the schemes and double crosses coming so relentlessly that he gives this New Orleans take on The Wire a comic edge even though it’s never exactly funny, not even when Lamont tells Jello his steadfast rule: “[D]on’t snitch on nobody unless it pays.”

Pub Date: May 21st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2817-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2014


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