May 21– Crawfish Mountain by Ken Wells

Ken Wells’s highly acclaimed picaresque Catahoula Bayou
novels introduced “one of the most compelling voices in fiction of the last
decade” (Los Angeles Times). Now Wells is back, writing about his favorite
subject–the exotic, beleaguered Louisiana wetlands–in a sharp, rollicking tale
of corporate corruption and political shenanigans. The fight over one man’s
tract of sacred marsh fronts a deeper story of our place in the environment and
our obligations to it. Justin Pitre’s marsh island, a legacy of his trapper
grandfather, is a scenic rival to anything in the Everglades, and he has
promised to protect it from all harm. But he hasn’t counted on oil bigwig Tom
Huff’s plans to wreck his bayou paradise by ramming a pipeline through it. When
cajolery doesn’t sway Justin to sign the land over, Huff turns to darker
methods. But Justin and his spirited wife, Grace, prove to be formidable adversaries–and
the game is on. Into the fray comes the charismatic Cajun governor Joe T.
Evangeline, who seems more interested in chasing skirts than saving Louisiana’s
eroding coast. The Guv, though, is a man on the edge, upended by a midlife
crisis and torn between a secret political obligation to Big Oil and the
persuasive powers of Julie Galjour, a feisty environmentalist. Julie is clearly
out to reform more than the Guv’s ecopolitics, but will his tragicomic Big Oil
deals wreck both his career and his chances with the brash and beautiful
activist? As Justin and Grace battle to stop this Big Oil assault, the plot
thickens–and the Guv becomes snared in the web. Featuring a gumbo of eccentrics
and lowlifes, a kidnapping, a sexy snitch, a toxic-waste-dumping scheme, a boat
chase, and a fishing trip gone horribly awry, Crawfish Mountain, spiced with
Ken Wells’s keen eye for locale, showcases his adventurous storytelling.