Dunbar ushers in the era of Hurricane Katrina fiction. He 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.
Tony Dunbar, an attorney-writer in New Orleans, has done a masterful job of weaving his paunchy, easygoing attorney Tubby Dubonnet (from The Crime Czar, Lucky Man, and four others) into the nightmarish aftermath of Katrina ... Dunbar won a Lillian Smith Book Award, given for exceptional works about the South and civil rights, for 1971's Our Land, Too
. His perspective shows in this, one of the first novels with a Katrina theme. When society is bitten back to the nub, the people with the least to lose lose the most. Dunbar illustrates that truism without being strident or preachy.
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dunbar has an excellent ear for dialogue, and his story is well-crafted. His stylish take on Big Easy lowlife is reminiscent of the best of Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard. This book deserves a wide and enthusiastic readership; don’t miss it.
The sense of place in Crooked Man
, a first novel by Tony Dunbar set in New Orleans, is so thick you can smell the chicory in the French roast coffee. You can get a whiff of the oyster po’boys, pecan pralines, and soft-shell crabs consumed by Mr. Dunbar’s hero, a nearly honest lawyer named Tubby Dubonnet, to give him the strength to represent his hell-raising clientele.
It seems fitting that the first novel to capture the chaos and violence of Hurricane Katrina’s assault on New Orleans comes via the mercifully modest and blessedly authentic travails of a familiar character, Uptown lawyer Tubby Dubonnet. Tubby Meets Katrina
offers a surprisingly poignant mix, as twinges of the loss of an urban reality invade an otherwise fast-moving summer reading yarn of cops, criminals, murder, and justice.
—The San Antonio Express News
Nine months after Hurricane Katrina comes the first and perhaps, ultimately, the best novel spawned by the devastation. I’m ready to nominate Tubby Meets Katrina
for a National Book Award.
—The Giles Free Press
By showing the damage that several days of hard rain could cause to the city’s fragile ecosystem [in Shelter from the Storm
], Dunbar makes the reader really care about its fate. He does the same for Tubby, a lazy, corner-cutting, slightly shabby, occasionally reckless but totally decent man.
Big Easy lawyer Tubby Dubonnet’s titular opponent is not only the hurricane but also an escaped murderer who identifies with the storm. The first fully post-Katrina suspense novel is a first-rate job, crisply written and expertly paced, offering a harrowing, sometimes sardonic description of the city’s physical and psychological state before, during, and after the disaster.
The author uses Hurricane Katrina and all of her disruptive power as a fitting frame for a novel featuring Bonner Rivette, a villain with such dangerous, mean-spirited behaviors that he claims the hurricane's identity as his own ... Tony Dunbar uses his experience as an attorney and resident of New Orleans to create a believable account of destruction and weaves it into a fictional journey through the event that changed the way Americans view and prepare for catastrophic situations.
Dunbar takes a major tragedy and shows how anyone can learn to survive and eventually begin to live again. This may be the first novel dealing with Katrina and will not be the last, but Dunbar's portrayal of people putting their lives together and helping others is remarkable.
It is obvious that Dunbar, who is from New Orleans, knows the city. In City of Beads he expertly captures the unique character of the Big Easy and its people. As an added treat, Dunbar also captures the food of New Orleans by having his protagonist dine at some of the city’s most famous restaurants and describing in detail what he has to eat, making City of Beads a delight to read and savor.
This novel paints a grim picture of the Crescent City in those days, the chaos at the Convention Center and on the interstate overpass, the flooding of the jail, the looting, the mysterious absence of FEMA, the incompetence of state and local authorities.
—Don Noble, host of Alabama Public Radio’s Bookmark
Dunbar ... lets the reader feel as if she’s in the boat with the main character rescuing residents off rooftops and sweating the humidity of those early September days. Fans of mystery and those just enjoying a well-told tale will find Tubby Meets Katrina
an interesting ride through a harrowing time.
As a thriller, Tubby Meets Katrina
is entertaining enough, but what will steal readers’ hearts are Dunbar’s warm descriptions of New Orleans and of Tubby’s life here. This one character stands in for all of us as he worries about his family and friends, becomes enraged by the response of people who just don't “get it,” starts drinking too much, and finally begins to pull his life together again. It's also wonderfully funny at times, as Tubby finds the silver linings of “post-Katrina friendliness” and a newfound sense of family.
A remarkable feel for local color is also the greatest strength of Tony Dunbar, whose ... murder mystery, Trick Question
, brings the mean streets of New Orleans vividly to life. This is Tony Dunbar’s third novel about lawyer Tubby Dubonnet, a loveable, wise-cracking eccentric who has an uncanny ability to track down other eccentrics living on the wrong side of the law. Take one cup of Raymond Chandler, one cup of Tennessee Williams, add a quart of salty humor, and you will get something resembling Dunbar’s crazy mixture of crime and offbeat comedy.