The People’s Police
By Norman Spinrad
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Martin Luther Martin is a hard-working New Orleans cop who has come up from the gangland of Alligator Swamp through hard work. When he has to serve his own eviction notice, he decides he’s had enough and agrees to spearhead a police strike.
Brothel owner and entrepreneur J. B. Lafitte finds himself in a tight spot when his whorehouse in the Garden District goes into foreclosure. The fat cats responsible for the real estate collapse after Katrina didn’t differentiate between social strata or vocation.
MaryLou Boudreau, aka Mama Legba, is a television star and voodoo queen—with a difference. The loas really do speak through her.
In the television studio, Martin, hoping for publicity for the strike and support from the people, calls for them to make a stand against the banks, corporate fat cats, and corrupt politicians. And his question, “What will it take?”, changes everything in the Big Easy.
I was attracted to The People’s Police by the setting, New Orleans, the characters – Martin Luther Martin (a NOLA cop), MaryLou Boudreau, aka Mama Legba (a tv star who did not believe in her powers, but became a true voodoo queen) and a brothel owner J. B. Lafitte. Well although I had high hopes for the story line and characters, this was not my cup of tea. Too much of the book was mired in politics and things that really did not interest me. I read that the author, Norman Spinrad, is a science fiction writer by trade and thought that might help a bit. It did not for me. Now I am not saying this is not a well written book, nor that it is not interesting. I am only saying it was not for me. The book is told in first person of each character and that did make reading it interesting to hear the voice of each one. I am sure others that enjoy this type of novel will find it well developed and entertaining.
One of the main characters Martin Luther Martin had me with hoping the story would progress in a different direction. He grew up in the gang invested Alligator Swamp that has now been devoid of police protection. He grabs at all the chances he is given to move up the ladder of command by speaking his mind and pulling others in as well. Wanting to make a better life for his wife, he does things that really push him to the limits. Everything starts when he is given papers to evict himself from his own house. Now that is just too much. This eviction and those of so many others in NOLA is the catalyst that starts a firestorm that encompasses a savvy brothel owner and also the voodoo queen who is rode hard by the loas that speak through her.
The political atmosphere is so charged and over the top, in your face it was just way too much for me. And if you do not like politics smacking you in the face, you will not like this one. It is very well written and is full of well-developed and quirky characters. Still there is no getting past the cynical messages that are blatantly forced down the throat of the reader. I was wrong in my impression of what this book was about after reading the synopsis. It does not come close to describing what is going on throughout this read. Now that said, I am sure there are tons of readers that quite enjoy novels strife with angst, political unrest, corruption, and the like. If you do, you will love this book. If you also enjoy some serious voodoo hoodoo, this is the perfect book.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*