Crawfish Mountain (Hardcover)
Random House, 9780375508769, 384pp.
Publication Date: October 23, 2007
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.