I have to start with the narration: Cassandra Campbell has never been anywhere near Louisiana bayou country. In the first place, “Louisiana” is pronou..Show More »nced with only four syllables: loo-zee-anna. Nobody, I mean nobody in bayou country sounds like any of these people. They don’t have stereotypical southern accents (if anyone anywhere does). And you don’t pronounce the “c” in LeBlanc (like a Mont Blanc pen). And that’s just for starters. Why can’t ANYBODY take the trouble to look up the pronunciation of Atchafalaya? Sheesh, can’t these people at least listen to a tape or something before they try to represent an ethnic group? At least listen to Will Paton narrate the Dave Robicheaux books. Louisiana accents are as varied as New York City accents, so most of us are going to quibble with any not exactly like what we grew up with, but Paton gets it close enough, soft enough to be generally pleasing and worth emulating. I don’t expect a “foreign” character to get it right, but she would at least hear people pronouncing their own names correctly.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system: treat this as a fantasy set in some mythical location that just happens to have the same name as our beloved state, and then it becomes truly silly mind candy – not very nutritious but hey, dessert isn’t supposed to be. Worth the listen just for the wonderful neighbor, Gerty, with whom I immediately fell in love. And having been raised Southern Baptist in South Louisiana, I laughed out loud at the mere mention of Sinful Baptist Church with its group of Sinful Ladies. The ladies are what makes the book such a joy. And this is a book about strong, funny women. The men are strictly background noise.
The main character is, well, not even vaguely believable. A CIA assassin who’s squeamish about sleeping in a dead woman’s bed and can’t keep her mouth shut to maintain a cover identity two hours into town? And puh-leeeze, you might find a town called Sinful somewhere out west, but NEVER in Louisiana – the culture is much too religious to play games with something like that. Much more likely to have a saint’s name. Alright, author Jana DeLeon is from the western side of South Louisiana, not quite as Catholic as you get closer to Texas. Let it go; it’s like the accents - if you treat this as pure farce, it doesn’t matter.
So why did I get such a kick out of this piece of fluff? Because what Jana DeLeon got right is the quirky sense of humor of the Cajun culture, which they have generously shared so that it is pervasive throughout the state (at least the southern half). Never give a straight answer if you can think of a sarcastic one. Never tell the straight truth if you can think of a more interesting “story”. This is not called lying; everyone recognizes it for what it is and plays along. “Is that illegal here?” “Only on Tuesdays. Unless there’s a full moon.”
And then there are the “pudding wars” – oh, yes, I have lived multiple versions of this game. In most places it was called “beat the Baptists”. If you don’t already know what that means, listen to the book and prepare to laugh. I you do know, you’ll laugh out loud at the version played in Sinful. DeLeon reeled me in completely when she got to the description of the ramshackle “camp” on Number Two. Yes, this is called “fun” in the Sportsman’s Paradise. No spoilers, but let’s just say that the bayous, waterways, buildings, and (oh my, yes) the bar “out in the parish” (as opposed to in town) are wonderfully accurate.
I’m not rating this on literary merit but on how much fun I had listening to it. To be honest, I listened while sick in bed, in no mood to be “challenged” in any way. I will definitely listen to the next book in the series; hope it continues to delight. Four stars for story, a grudging two for narration because I have heard worse.
This one too is hilarious. Fortune is evil ass and being run crazy by the Geritol Mafia. Her adventures are hampered by refraining from using deadly..Show More » force and keeping low key. In this book it proves a little more difficult because the high school bitch is back and everyone has a reason to kill her.
So you would assume everyone is a suspect because of course the bitch has offended everyone. Yet, why is Fortune the suspect? Well it is her story of course. She is not 007 nor is she Stephanie Plum. She is a delightful mix exactly in the middle.
This is a small town which never had a murder until Fortune can to stay. Jana DeLeon does an excellent job giving us an interesting story while not bogging us down with the detail in a Lucas Davenport, the main character in a John Standford book, novel ‘ A good read with just enough body to keep you interested.
Jana DeLeon is a new author for me and for that matter so is the narrator Cassandra Campbell. I seemed to have dove into this series in book three. ..Show More » The protagonist, Fortune Redding, is a CIA assassin with a price on her head. The agency has her stashed in Sinful, Louisiana as a vacationing librarian from New England. Fortune becomes friends with two elderly ladies, Ida Bell and Gertie, who are military veterans and former CIA operatives in Viet Nam. Ida Bell is running for Mayor. Her opponent Ted Williams is murdered and Ida Bell is a suspect. Fortune and the Sinful ladies are out to solve the crime. As the investigation begins they discover that nothing is as it seems.
DeLeon is a good story teller and does an excellent job weaving humor around the suspense. I believe the story is more a comedy than a serious action suspense novel. For being a highly trained assassin, Fortune gets into more funny and stupid situations. DeLeon provides some good descriptions of the Bayous. I read that DeLeon grew up in the Bayous in Carlyss, Louisiana. Cassandra Campbell does a good job narrating the story.
Jana Deleon has a real talent for creating strong, confident and fascinating women, unlike the pathetic wimpy girls so popular in recent romantic fict..Show More »ion.
In Gator Bait, the Swamp Team 3 (Fortune, Ida Belle and Gertie) helped deputy Carter investigate the possibility of someone running guns through Sinful, Louisiana. While the plot was well written, it's the town's unique characters and humorous situations which make this series so entertaining.
FYI, these books are light on swearing, sex or graphic violence but heavy on chuckles.