Review: D*U*C*K

D*U*C*K by Poppy Z. Brite
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

D*U*C*K is a series of vignettes put together featuring G-man and Rickey. They’re somewhat related but also has a random feel to the collection. I guess there is an over reaching arc in that a former employee is rising to kind of challenge Rickey while Liquor is getting ready to serve at an out of town banquet featuring Rickey’s hero crush. The stories do have common elements but they also feel disconnected and arbitrary. That said it’s a fun, quick novella to read without the punch and impact of previous novels.

I’m reading the Liquor stories out of order so if there is anything that affects the knowledge and enjoyment, please let me know. I assume each novel can be read as a stand alone, they certainly seem that way, while the stories are more meaningful in the larger context of the series. D*U*C*K features G-man and Rickey as they go about their daily routine working in Liquor. These stories feel more like day in life slices than anything and they work decently as such. It’s an easy way to revisit the duo and New Orleans without a lot of drama or investment.

There is a pseudo plot revolving around a former employee that is now the head chef at a popular restraurant. This vignette revolves around how touch the job is, more difficult than Shake assumed, and pokes a little fun at both Rickey’s temper and Shake’s ego. There are some pretty funny scenes of Shake navigating the media (not well) and dealing with family and foodies. These scenes will likely be huge hits with any professional chefs as they’ll recognize the inside jokes and nods. For the lay reader they work just as well as it’s easy to envision these stereotypes existing.

The trip out of town for the banquet is amusing and easy to read but somewhat lengthy and without purpose. This story, kind of like the novella in general, feels directionless. While amusing and easy to read, the stories drift along without a firm sense of purpose. They’re fun, sure, but somewhat meaningless in the larger character and story arcs of the series. This isn’t a bad thing as it’s a nice way to revisit the characters without too much reading commitment and investment.

As always the New Orleans descriptions are incredible and bring the city to life with such vibrancy that these details alone are worth the reading. This isn’t a novella I’d read again but it’s a nice inclusion into the series.

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