5 Stars, Poppy Z. Brite, Subterranean Press

D*U*C*K (Rickey & G-man #5) by Poppy Z. Brite

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina put the Crescent City on the world stage, a horrifying and profoundly decimated stage that touched a nerve in the consciousness of anyone who had either witnessed the destruction firsthand or who sat safely in front of the television, thousands of miles away, and mourned for the unspeakable loss and punishing aftermath.

D*U*C*K is Poppy Z. Brite’s love letter to not only New Orleans but to Rickey and G-man and all the other wonderful and colorful characters that have populated this series. Bad things happen to good people every day, but only in the world of fiction can one nightmarish thing be made never to exist, and that’s what “DocBrite” has done in homage to this unique city.

Of all the places hit hardest by Katrina, nowhere suffered more than the Lower Ninth Ward, Rickey and G-man’s childhood home, the place where they met, became friends, and eventually fell in love. But with the force of words stronger than any hurricane wind, Katrina never was. Poppy Z. Brite spared New Orleans from the crushing devastation, and subsequently gifted John Rickey and Gary Stubbs with the continuity of the hopes, dreams, and their reality that otherwise would’ve been stripped away from them. The levees never failed, the Superdome never became the scene of shocking and tragic loss, people never stood on rooftops begging to be rescued, the streets were never flooded by either water or the human flotsam and jetsam left in the storm’s wake. No, the only storms in this story are the ones of Rickey’s own making, and as he always has, he weathers them alongside the man who has been his anchor and his touchstone for more than twenty years.

There isn’t much that can be said about this book that hasn’t already been said about the previous four in this series. This is Rickey and G-man, their trials and triumphs and their unwavering loyalty to their home. There’s an immense sense of nostalgia to the narrative, which is portrayed as the love of the city from her native sons, though, in fact, we know that that sense of reminiscence is coming from an author who watched a city fall and has now witnessed the pride and spirit of its people rise from the storm waters again.

D*U*C*K can be found in print format at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It can be purchased in electronic format, paired with The Value of X in the book Second Line HERE.

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