Book Review: Everglade by Greg Barth

EVERGLADE

Author: Greg Barth

Publisher: All Due Respect

Release Date: July 2017

After 18 months lying low – albeit under the thumb of a local drug cartel – wanted felon Selena is ready for a change. Her self-destructive lifestyle has put an enormous strain on both her personal relationships and her increasingly fragile health. But getting out is easier said than done. Selena’s operation is too lucrative to let go, and this is a business environment where retirement is inflicted on you with a bullet or a blade. When Selena’s posturing turns into a pissing contest (yeah, quite literally!), she is forced to escalate the situation at hand into an all-out-war.

If crime fiction has taught us anything, it is that no one ever gets away clean. Can Selena – always at her most dangerous when she is cornered – wriggle out of another horrendous predicament, or has her luck finally run out? At the outset of the original Selena book, few readers would have guessed that the eponymous heroine would still be on the warpath five books in. Selena is a live-fast, die-young character who has managed to stay alive despite going toe-to-toe with some of the most dangerous fictional characters in recent memory.

Interestingly, compared to the previous books in the series, Everglade has a surprising, elegiac quality, as Selena contemplates her own toxic legacy and her grim drug-addled future. Not that the downbeat mood impacts on the action – there will be blood! When the penny drops regarding the significance of the title mid-way through the book, it is a vicious kidney-punch of a move, and unsettles you because you wonder exactly how low Greg Barth is willing to let Selena’s enemies go…

While Everglade seems like a logical end-point for the series, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I would pay good money to read a new Selena book every year for the foreseeable future. I hope Barth’s signature character re-emerges further down the line, as this series has been pure pulp dynamite, and offers an abrasive, come-stained, coke-snorting, booze-sloshing, bullet-strewn alternative to the mainstream. Great book – great series.

Review by Tom Leins

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