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).
Burke (Light of the World) once again features Dave Robicheaux detective, veteran, widower, father, alcoholic in this enthralling yet grim novel of crime, hate, and tragedy. Robicheaux may be at home in New Iberia, La., but he's not safe from suspicion and self-doubt when the man who killed his wife is murdered. Together with his best friend, PI Clete Purcell, Robicheaux seeks truth, no matter how incriminating, even as more bodies fall and mysteries twine together. The cast is Shakespearean in its variety: a demagogue, a novelist, the mob, good cops and bad, victims of hubris and hate, and ghosts aplenty. No one here is blameless amid white supremacy, bigotry, misogyny, child abuse, flourishing sex and drug trades, and deep socioeconomic inequity, and Robicheaux and Clete never shy away from confronting what they see as the world's evils. But as the stakes get higher, the friends who are more than happy to risk themselves must decide what it will take to protect those they love and respect. Along the way, Burke investigates accusations of rape, corporate colonialism, and Southern nostalgia, not always without his own bias. The novel's murders and lies both committed with unsettling smiles will captivate, start to finish.
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.