Probably the best thing about the Bug Man novels is that they can all stand alone. They all take place in different parts of the country, the always have a different female lead and the only character they all have in common is Nick Polchak.
This time Nick has left North Carolina again to go help with the cleanup of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But when he sees multiple dead bodies floating along the flooded streets of the Big Easy, he can't help but investigate a little. It's in his blood. After further investigation, he discovers that the bodies died after the hurricane. So he disobeys his direct orders to save the living first and decides to investigate the dead first.
For once, a Bug Man title actually makes sense. That's probably the best thing about it.
The character if Nick Polchak is getting more predictable with every book. His offhand comments and analyzing in the first two books were funny, but now they are expected. At least he's a consistent character.
The mystery isn't all that original or all that typical. It's somewhere in between. At least the villain had an interesting purpose.
One of the saddest parts about this book is that there is no mention of Chop Shop or anything that went on in the previous book. Nobody talks about it.
Tim Downs was sure to gain a wider audience by writing about a sensitive subject like Hurricane Katrina and by avoiding any kind of originality.
It's really hard to know what to say about a book like First the Dead. It just falls in line with a lot of the other books on the market.