Fortune Funhouse is the 19th book in the Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon. Fortune Redding is a former CIA operative, now living in the bayou town of Sinful, Louisiana. Her best friends are two Vietnam veterans named Gertie and Ida Belle. Together, they are Swamp Team Three, and they investigate crimes ranging from murder to exploding stills. Fortune is dating Deputy Carter of the Sinful Police. Gertie is looking for a hot date when she isn’t knitting, feeding her pet alligator named Godzilla, or accidentally blowing things up. Ida Belle has just married her long-time sweetheart, Walter, and wishes Gertie would calm down so she can go fishing.
Bomber Bruce was a former Navy pilot who had some prop planes and a skydiving school near Sinful. The last time we’d tried skydiving with him, Gertie had defrocked a nun, assaulted a cemetery, and generally upset most of the Catholics in Sinful. I made a mental note that when Bomber Bruce was involved—even peripherally—someone ended up with no clothes.
At the beginning of Fortune Funhouse, Fortune, Gertie, and Ida Belle are enjoying the carnival when they find a dead man in the funhouse. To make matters worse, Carter’s mom, Emmaline, is found unconscious next to the dead man. The State Police have taken over the case and put someone completely incompetent in charge, so Swamp Team Three investigate.
This book was so much fun and it had some nice character development. It starts out with Gertie doing one of her stunts that ends up on YouTube, which is always a good beginning. With Carter off the case, the team are unable to steal the information they need from the local police, and have to rely more on the local crime bosses, Big and Little Hebert. As Fortune becomes closer to the Heberts, she starts to wonder about their personal lives. I’m hoping this is set-up for us learning more about Big and Little, because they are fascinating characters. We also learn quite a bit more about Carter’s father, who died long before the series began, which adds depth to Cart and Emmaline’s characters. It was nice to have the story focus on Carter, not only because it was interesting to see him out of play but also because it raises the stakes for the reader. And, perhaps most important of all, Godzilla makes an appearance.