Critically acclaimed and bestselling crime writer James Lee Burke returns to Louisiana where his ever-popular hero, Dave Robicheaux, sleuths his way through a hotbed of sin and uncertainty.
For Dave Robicheaux, life in Louisiana is filled with haunting memories of the past -- images from Vietnam, the violent streets of New Orleans, and his own troubled youth. In Crusader's Cross, a deathbed confession from an old schoolmate resurrects a story of injustice, the murder of a young woman, and a time in Robicheaux's life he has tried to forget.
Her name may or may not have been Ida Durbin. It was back in the innocent days of the 1950s when Robicheaux and his brother, Jimmie, met her on a Galveston beach. She was pretty and Jimmie fell for her hard -- not knowing she was a prostitute on infamous Post Office Street, with ties to the mob. Then Ida was abducted and never seen again.
Now, decades later, Robicheaux is asking questions about Ida Durbin, and a couple of redneck deputy sheriffs make it clear that asking questions is a dangerous game. With a series of horrifying murders and the sudden appearance of Valentine Chalons and his sister, Honoria, a disturbed and deeply alluring woman, Robicheaux is soon involved not only with the Chalons family but with the murderous energies of the New Orleans underworld. Also, he meets and finds himself drawn into a scandalous relationship with a remarkable Catholic nun.
Brilliant, brooding, and filled with the author's signature lyricism, Jim Burke's latest novel is a darkly suspenseful work of literature.
Superb writing and a throbbing pace lift two-time Edgar-winner Burke's powerful, many-layered 14th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2003's Last Car to Elysian Fields), which involves venal and arrogant members of a wealthy family that can trace its lineage to fifth-century France as well as the machinations of the New Orleans mafia. A conversation between Robicheaux and a dying childhood friend about Ida Durbin, a young prostitute that Robicheaux's half-brother, Jimmie, loved and lost in the late 1950s, sets the ex-homicide detective on a path that eventually leads to several gruesome killings and his near downfall. Unemployed, his wife dead, his daughter in college, Robicheaux rejoins the New Iberia, La., sheriff's department at the urging of Sheriff Helen Soileau, who needs an extra hand as the murders mount. While the tendrils of the sometimes rambling plot unfold, Robicheaux and his impulsive former police partner, PI Clete Purcell, seek retribution for injustices caused by a wide range of corrupt villains. Burke masterfully combines landscape and memory in a violent, complex story peopled by sharply defined characters who inhabit a lush, sensual, almost mythological world.
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To write a review for James Lee is like mentoring a menses member.......he is the best author of our time...his some what country plots and who dunits ...are filled with wonderful deep thought producing words that bring images to life...
I strongly suspect...
... that Mr. Burke could write a 200 page novel about paint drying, or a car rusting, yet hold my attention the entire time. He is simply that good.
This is by far his best work that I have read to date!