It is with a heavy heart I turned the final pages of Greg Barth’s 5th, and final, addition to the Selena series, Everglade. This has been one of my favorite series and has put Barth into the upper echelon of authors I believe are leading the noir movement we are currently experiencing. This series has violence, death, drugs, more violence, and a main character who has grown and evolved in each addition to the series.
Selena is now tired of the cycle of violence, drugs, self-loathing, and loneliness she is caught up in. She desires to into a new realm of life; one that contains spending time with someone she loves and receives love in return, without having to sell her soul, and most of all peace from within herself. A life in which she values the pieces that make her whole and she can find parts of herself she believes to be worthy. This is no small goal for a woman we have seen wreak havoc and chaos to all those who surround her. Selena must answer the question is she capable of achieving this life, or more importantly, will the people she has surrounded herself with let her leave the life she currently lives behind?
Being far from your typical woman, Selena cannot just pack up her belongings and seek a new zip code to call home; she must exorcise her demons that come in the shape of a corrupt sheriff who happens to be her partner in a drug ring, a drug dealer who isn’t keen on letting her cut ties with him so easily, and a PI who is looking to uncover her past and expose her for his own benefit.
In the end, this novel is much less violent than its predecessors. The vibe to this finely written finale is fitting with its desire to bring closure to this saga that has manifested into one of the best noir series ever written. I prefer my books to be packed with as much violence and depravity as possible, but Barth knew exactly how to handle this book to satisfy his fans, yet do justice to this series in a manner that is satisfying, and most importantly, true to the essence of who Selena is. It boils down to trying to find love in a violent world; love for others who love us for who we are, love for others who look up to us, and the love of ourselves, flaws and all. But when the odds are stacked up against you, as they are against Selena, sometimes your best intentions may not be enough.