James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this New York Times bestselling mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana: an “enthralling yet grim novel that…will captivate, start to finish” (Publishers Weekly).
Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man. From the acts he committed in Vietnam, to his battles with alcoholism, to the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts pepper his reality. Robicheaux’s only beacon remains serving as a detective in New Iberia, Louisiana.
It’s in that capacity that Robicheaux crosses paths with powerful mob boss, Tony Nemo. Tony has a Civil War sword he’d like to give to Levon Broussard, a popular local author whose books have been adapted into major Hollywood films. Then there’s Jimmy Nightengale, the young poster boy of New Orleans wealth and glamour. Jimmy’s fond of Levon’s work, and even fonder of his beautiful, enigmatic wife, Rowena. Tony thinks Jimmy can be a US Senator someday, and has the resources and clout to make it happen. There’s something off about the relationship among these three men, and after a vicious assault, it’s up to Robicheaux to uncover the truth “in the barn-burner of a climax” (Booklist, starred review).
Complicating matters is the sudden death of the New Iberian local responsible for Molly’s death; namely that Robicheaux’s colleague thinks Robicheaux had something to do with it. As Robicheaux works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, a harrowing study of America emerges: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. “It has been almost five years since James Lee Burke’s last Dave Robicheaux novel, and it was absolutely worth the wait” (Associated Press).
Voice actor Patton does not disappoint in his reading of Burke's 21st novel featuring Dave Robicheaux, the deputy sheriff of New Iberia, La. Dave is coming to grips with his wife's death in a car crash. When the driver responsible for the crash is murdered on the same night Dave drinks himself unconscious, he becomes the prime suspect. This is but one story line in a book filled with them, as well as a large cast, including a narcissistic golden boy who's testing the political waters; a legendary novelist whose best book is being turned into a movie produced by a loathsome, dying mobster; and Dave's novelist daughter, Alifair, who's writing the screenplay. Then there's Chester ("Call Me Smiley") Wimple, a seemingly simpleminded hit man who's effectively ridding Louisiana of its evildoers. Reader Patton's honeyed Southern accent proves a perfect instrument for presenting narrator Dave's poetic descriptions of bayou landscapes as well as Dave's melancholy moods. The would-be politician speaks with the blissful confidence of the very wealthy, the novelist's approach is drily above it all, and the mobster sounds hoarse and very ill. They all take a rear seat when it comes to Patton's creative interpretation of Smiley lisping, babyish, singsongy, and, when tested, chillingly homicidal. This is another winning performance from Patton. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.
Nobody writes about the sights, sounds, and smells of Louisiana the way Mr. Burke can. And it's hard to believe that his man Robicheaux doesn't share at least a little of his DNA as he exposes the tortuous tangling of emotions that comes from dealing with the worst of humanity for an extended period of time. Yet we are heartened by the glimmer of good that most of us carry, and of which Burke gives us enough to think that all is not lost. Time spent reading Robicheaux is not wasted. Highly recommended!
As Good As it Gets
Excellent, one of best. James Lee Burke is a master of the written word. I only regret that I have to now wait for his next book. Keep going, James!
I’m astounded at how well Mr. Burke writes. He is, in my opinion, one of the finest, most poetic writers on the planet.
This book is everything we have come to expect from the Robicheaux series. A poetic glimpse into a tortured soul. Nicely paced. Well plotted.
All in all, a satisfying read worth twice the price.