Second Line: two short novels of love & cooking in New Orleans by Poppy Z. Brite
This book includes, as the subtitle says, two short(er) stories in the Universe of Liquor, Prime, and Soul Kitchen. The first, “The Value of X” is a prequel, dealing with how our heroes started to become cooks and, not coincidentally, become lovers. This includes the story of how Rickey went to the CIA and what happened there (which we already know from the backstory of Liquor, but here we get it in more depth), and also what happened to G-Man back at home. It’s hard to call it intense, but it is certainly interesting.
The Second story, “D*U*C*K: a tale of men, birds, and one’s purpose in life” is the final story in the series. In a world in which hurricane Katrina failed to destroy New Orleans, John Rickey is picked by Ducks Unlimited to make a specialty dinner of just ducks for their annual get-together. Will he do it? Can he do it? Will he once again regret setting foot outside of New Orleans? Will the reader regret the end of a wonderful series of stories? I think you know the answers.
Highly recommended (but I suggest starting with Liquor).
Territory by Emma Bull
A re-read. Written about here.