James Lee Burke, acclaimed by critics as "America's best novelist," "the Graham Greene of the bayou," and "a poet of the mystery novel," returns with his popular character, Dave Robicheaux, in a novel rich with atmosphere, ripe with menace, and filled with the kind of crackling dialogue that has made Burke a consistent New York Times best-selling author.
When a beautiful teenage girl is killed, the victim of a particularly savage rape, New Iberia, Louisiana, police detective Dave Robicheaux senses from the very start of the investigation that the most likely suspect, Tee Bobby Hulin, is not the actual killer. Though a drug addict and general ne'er-do-well, Hulin just doesn't fit the profile for this kind of brutal crime.
But when another murder occurs -- this victim a drugged-out prostitute who happens to be the daughter of one of the local mafia bigwigs -- all clues once again point to Tee Bobby Hulin, and the cries for arrest become too loud to ignore. The dead girl's father, however, prefers to take matters in his own hands and sets out to find -- and punish -- the killer himself.
But before Robicheaux can solve these crimes and bring the killer or killers to justice, he is forced to battle his own inner demons, including a painkiller addiction, a habit that begins as the result of a brutal and humiliating beating he suffers at the hands of the mysterious and diabolical character known as Legion. A fixture in the area for years, Legion was once the overseer on a local sugarcane plantation and now gets by doing odd jobs. In temperament, however, he's still the malicious and malevolent bully he always was, a man defined by evil and seemingly possessed with supernatural skills of survival.
Added to the mix, and on the good guy side of the balance sheet, is Clete Purcel, a longtime buddy of Robicheaux's and a confirmed boozer and womanizer. Clete comes to New Iberia for a visit and is quickly drawn into the struggle between the various forces of evil in the town, including Jimmy Dean Styles, a black man intent on maintaining his empire of corruption; Joe Zeroski, a trailer park mafioso with palatial aspirations -- and of course, Legion Guidry, the devil incarnate, in whom Robicheaux finds himself facing a challenge and an enemy unlike any he has ever known. And soon, what began as a duel of wits has turned into a dance of death.
Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."
To read a Burke novel is to enter a timeless, parallel universe of violent emotions and lush, brooding landscapes, where class and racial distinctions and family histories mold society. This is the stunningly talented Burke's 21st book and his best until the next one. Dave Robicheaux, the psychologically scarred detective for the New Iberia, La., sheriff's department, investigates two brutal murders, one of a na ve teenage girl, the other of a feckless drug-addled prostitute. The author provides a dense, richly imagined background for his characters, especially the sinister ones: malevolent Legion Guidry, a nightmarish figure from Robicheaux's boyhood; a power-hungry tavern owner; an arrogant lawyer; a combative female PI; the prostitute's Mafioso father; and Marvin Oates, an enigmatic Bible salesman who floats ominously through the narrative. Robicheaux doesn't believe the obvious suspect Tee Bobby Hulin, a drug-addicted musical genius is the murderer. Aided and disrupted by his obstreperous pal, Clete Purcel, Robicheaux runs into the usual trouble. Legion gives Robicheaux such a ferocious beating that he reverts to drinking and addictive painkillers. Though the search for the murderer moves the story, the novel is really an examination of the savage relationships of the characters and the palpable presence of the past. Burke offers a vivid social history of an inbred, corrupt place. As Clete so aptly tells his friend, "This is Louisiana, Dave. Guatemala North. Quit pretending it's the United States."
Customer ReviewsSee All
Jolie Blons Bounce
The book was good. Still do not make the connection between the book and the title.
Not a bad read
I enjoyed the book. I was surprised it was free. I might read some other books by this writer.
Mr. Burke's Bounce
Mr. Burke does it again with another unforgettable drive through the bayou. His command of the English language as a descriptor of everyday life in his south is unparalleled and he can make you believe you're part of the story and glad you're not.