"" Writer's Wanderings: Books For The Road - First The Dead

Friday, July 20, 2012

Books For The Road - First The Dead

Tim Downs spoke at one of the writers conferences I attended a few years ago and I was intrigued with his series of Bug Man novels. The Bug Man is Nick Polchak and is quite a character as you might imagine. His specialty is the forensic study of bugs, how they can be used as evidence in murder cases. Bob and I both read his first in the series, Shoofly Pie, and enjoyed it. For Christmas he received another in the series, First The Dead. Of course I had to wait for him to finish before I could read it. He didn't tell me not to read it just after eating.

The story takes place just as Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. Polchak is part of DMORT, the disaster mortuary operational response team that will set up to collect, receive, and identify bodies from the storm. With the horrific flooding of the city, DMORT is told to be part of the rescue operation before they begin their work. Nick finds several bodies however that he is sure were dead well before the flood. He goes rogue (so to speak) and begins investigating. Along the way he picks up a rather astute boy who helps him. As Nick's psychologist friend says, there's a whole new side to be seen of him as he relates to the young man.

The story is fascinating but beware that some of the icky stuff may just make your tummy churn a bit especially if you are not into bugs. Between the description of the awful water conditions and the bodies, well, like my husband should have warned me: Don't read it just after eating.

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