by Julie Smith
Forge, September, 2002.
Hardcover, 304 pages.
Talba Willis is a young, African American computer genius and private investigator by day, but at night she becomes the poet and performance artist called the Baroness de Pontalba. Talba's latest case involves investigating the supposed suicide of her friend, Babalu Moya. Babalu was very reticent about her past (Babalu wasn't even her real name), so Talba is forced to go to Babalu's hometown of Clayton, Louisiana to find out more about her life. Clayton turns out to be a tight-lipped, racist community which makes it clear that Talba is very unwelcome in the area. Time is quickly running out for Talba on this investigation; either she gets some answers fast, or she may share poor Babalu's fate.
This is the second entry in the Talba Willis PI series, after Louisiana Hotshot. The irrepressible and talented Talba is a perfect foil for her older, white boss, Eddie Valentino, and their interactions are always hilarious. Miz Clara, Talba's eccentric mother can be counted on to provide endless irritation for Talba, and her sensitive and handsome teacher can be counted on to provide lots of emotional support. Talba is a unique and interesting character, and the plot is fast-paced. Julie Smith has a gift for bringing New Orleans to life, and this is one PI series that is extraordinarily entertaining.
Louisiana Bigshot is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the September, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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