Dunbar ushers in the era of Hurricane Katrina fiction.
Just back from the uncertain charms of Bolivia, New Orleans attorney Tubby Dubonnet, who can hardly wait to sleep in his own bed, shrugs off the news of a looming storm: “Good luck? For what? Oh, right. The hurricane.” As the sky darkens and his neighborhood empties, he welcomes the cool breeze and the license to jaywalk. But his attitude changes when the storm downs the trees in his yard, punches holes in his windows and soaks his carpets. Little does Tubby (Shelter from the Storm, 1998, etc.) know that the worst is yet to come. Bonner Rivette, an escaped convict with a long criminal history capped by double murder, has lucked onto the address of Tubby’s law office, where he hunkers down and plots a way to get Tubby’s daughter Christine, a Tulane sophomore, to come to him. Bonner, a connoisseur of chaos who maintains that “I am Katrina,” resembles the hurricane mainly in his frighteningly hit-or-miss propensity for violence. Dunbar scores an even more decisive bull’s eye in his account of the disaster after the disaster—the sad carnival atmosphere in which residents of the Big Easy fight to reclaim their neighborhoods with little help from the government and plenty from casual employees sliding from one essential job to the next.
The most unconvincing note is the suggestion that settling Bonner Rivette’s hash will straighten things out. If only.