By the book’s title you would expect to read a story about a criminal, a crooked man. Maybe the identity of the crooked man would be a mystery and that would be the fun of the book, finding out who is the crooked man. But the reader can’t really do that because there are too many crooked men, and a few slightly bent women. I really looked to find one character that could be described as completely innocent. Just when I thought Tubby’s secretary, Cherrylynn, was an innocent, Dunbar hinted at a several-year-long party prior to her employment with Tubby.
The names for characters in this novel are sometimes hard to take seriously. We have Tubby, central character and protagonist, who might be tubby. It is nowhere stated that he is fat but the fact that every incident he is central to is either preceded or followed by a detailed description of what he is eating. He might be tubby. Tubby is a lawyer and the reader will have to read the novel in a search for the answer to whether he is the crooked man. Several of his actions make him suspect; he likes to take his fees in cash.
Tubby’s partner in the two-person law firm is Reggie Turntide. What kind of portent does that name have? There is client Jynx Margolis, notable mostly for displayed cleavage. Monster Mudbug, another client, drives the streets of New Orleans in a giant bowl of soup which he refuses to buy license plates for. Another client is plastic surgeon Dr. Feingold who is being sued by Sandy. Sandy was not pleased with a botched operation and asked the doctor to recommend a good lawyer so that Sandy could sue the doctor. Dr. Feingold recommended his good friend, Tubby. Tubby accepts the case and lets his friend, the doctor, know that he, Tubby will win the case and the Dr. will pay a lot. Tubby also sometimes refers to Sandy as “he” and sometimes as “she” dependent on the situation when the two meet.
There is humor throughout the book, much of it related to some of the absurd character names. Other humor is more cynical. This is a pleasant fast read, much like watching a one-hour favorite series soap opera. There is an element of unrealism that caused me to give it only three (Amazon) stars. Tubby just should not be so good at beating up people. Some of his opponents are professional hit men. Tubby also has a very cavalier attitude towards murder. It comes across as just another day at the office. There are some huge moral dilemmas in the plot that are glossed over.
This is one of those books that I would take on a long cross country bus trip. It would fill time and I would not care if I forgot it somewhere.