Lana's face - round as the full moon and almost as luminescent under a thick layer of orange makeup - glowed from across the desk. The pattern of her dress strobed. Long, red nails flashed as she flipped through the documents. The total effect was just short of hypnotic, and probably capable of inducing epileptic seizures in high-risk patients.
If you happen to be driving on 1-10 not too far from New Orleans, there's a billboard where you can see for yourself what Attorney Lana Pulaski looks like. Towering hairdo. Clothes bedecked with feathers and/or sequins and straining to contain her. Her entire being seems ready to erupt like a Texas oil gusher. Lana was first in her law school class, and has built a thriving if unconventional practice in New Orleans. Now she's running for state's attorney general.
Lana's campaign strategy recognizes the importance of trolling for votes in Cajun country, and a fortuitous case makes it necessary that she go there anyhow. After one look, the judge involved, an octogenarian named L'Enfant from an old but exhausted Cajun family, is bewitched. For her part, Lana sees in him the opportunity to inject a local angle into her campaign. And if she were to marry him, it would add a touch of class, however decaying, to her image.
Before you can say "Do you take this woman?" the wedding plans are afoot - the entire town invited to a giant affair on the grounds of the L'Enfant estate, an airplane piloted by The Bug Man, the local exterminator, 0 and trailing a "Pulaski for Attorney General" banner. The highly reluctant maid of honor would be the Judge's granddaughter, Scarlett (believe it!) a would-be painter with a most peculiar technique. But The Bug Man's compulsion to buzz the assembly just as the cake was being cut had not been written in.
Swamp Gas is a farce, a hoot, a frequent belly laugh and a telling comment on politics and politicians. This is Paolini's first novel but already she knows that the way to keep the laughter going is to have something to say and to create characters, bizarre as they may be (and they are), that are real enough to convince us of their humanity.