An Unsolicited Reader Review of STORM DAMAGE
This review is from a reader unknown to the author. Thanks to them for taking the time and the thoughtful effort to post it on Amazon.
“A collective pathology of quasi post-traumatic stress hung like a cloud over the delta.”
Set in New Orleans five months after Katrina, Kovacs’ mystery features ex-cop Cliff St. James, nearly homeless in a city known for its surfeit of crime and its attendant vices, all thrown into chaos since the storm, the lack of resources available and the unmet needs of countless people made homeless by the hurricane.
St. James has found shelter in his badly damaged dojo, his martial arts students virtually non-existent, his future looking as bleak as the city. His last act as a detective was the night Katrina hit in full force, the scene of a murder at Sam Sui’s Tiki Hut, any evidence of the crime- and the body- obliterated by the storm. When Sam’s daughter appears at the dojo offering to hire St. James to investigate her father’s death, he is grateful for the opportunity to make some money and solve the murder of his friend.
What St. James cannot anticipate is the convoluted nature of a case that includes a violent Asian gang, heavy-handed politicians, as ex-CIA operative and any number of bad actors with the power to make his life miserable.
Aided by Sgt. Honey Baybee, chronically incapable of resisting a good fight, Cliff finds himself mired in an investigation fraught with treachery, double crosses and the lies. The result is a quick-paced, well-plotted murder mystery peppered with false purposeful distractions, petty crime and drug wars, the CIA, corrupt officials and the myriad bureaucracies working within the city’s “New Normal”, the graft and corruption as firmly entrenched as ever.
Kovacs does a good job of describing the outrageous condition of a city left too long in disrepair and too quickly forgotten as the world moves on to the next crisis. The challenges of solving a murder in the midst of chaos, the oppression of a city left to molder in the despair of its poorest inhabitants, the greed of opportunists and the spirit of a place bred in tradition are juxtaposed against a broken skyline where the final chapter has yet to be written.