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Fifteen years after he tormented fellow students at Catahoula Bayou School, Junior Guidry is broke, drunk, one-legged, and living in a wreck of a trailer on the edge of a snake-infested swamp. He's survived an oil-rig accident that would've killed most men but, with the help of a good lawyer, made him rich instead. But he's squandered his fortune on drink, blackjack, womanizing, and brawling, leaving a wake of wrecked cars and friendships, not to mention lost or stolen wooden legs. Then the mysterious Iris Mary Parfait enters his life. She's on the run from a tragic childhood and a bad, bad man. When news reaches Junior that a bar owner with Mob connections has posted a $100,000 bounty on Iris's head because she knows too much about him, Junior realizes he could regain his fortune—but at what cost? Narrated in Junior's unvarnished voice, Junior's Leg takes the reader on a singular journey through the mind of a troubled man. It is at turns unsettling, ribald, sexy, and poignant—a bold stroke of storytelling that ultimately plumbs the possibilities of love and redemption, even for as unlikely a candidate as Junior.read more
This is a very funny book and Junior is a bad ass.read more
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Wall Street Journal scribe Wells's semisequel to his first novel, Meely LaBauve, is a zesty, Cajun-flavored bouillabaisse of gritty melodrama, warts-and-all character study and old-fashioned morality tale. It can be abrasively entertaining, and demonstrates the author's considerable flair for offbeat Bayou-country characterization. Unfortunately, too many mismatched genre elements and a heavily predictable, almost schematic "road to redemption" story line scar an otherwise promising sophomore outing. Narrated by Joseph "Junior" Guidry, an embittered, boorish former roughneck who lost his left leg in a freakish drilling-rig accident, the novel paints a chronically self-destructive man's ever-so-gradual journey toward moral and spiritual self-improvement. Junior is a memorable creation, an inveterately nasty, unabashedly cynical recluse who tosses off quips about how he won't take any breakfast he can't drink, and who even considers tossing his prosthetic leg at a well-meaning interloper on one occasion. He's undeniably crude, bad-tempered and ignorant, but his self-mocking sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude make him a perversely sympathetic character, vaguely reminiscent of some of James Ellroy's or James Lee Burke's more likable losers. Into his barren, loveless life comes Iris Mary Parfait, an ethereal mystery woman fleeing a violent past, who turns lost-cause Junior into her pet project. Of course Junior and Iris Mary fall in love; and, of course, Iris Mary's ostensibly dormant past blazes back into life, plunging the two into a corrupt world of crooked cops, shady lawyers and urbane Mafia dons. If only Wells had been able to decide exactly what kind of book he wanted to write, this could have been a full-on winner. As it is, its piquant and pugnacious analysis of its protagonist's deeply flawed character is ultimately tarnished by a series of trite confrontations with scowling, textbook villains and by Junior's rushed, unrealistic and oversimplified romance with the too-perfect Ms. Parfait. Agent, Joe Regal of Russell Volkening. 6-city author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved