I spent my early adolescent years in southeastern Louisiana and have a lot of fond memories of this uniquely charming piece of America. Burke's Dave Robicheaux never fails to transport me back to the gumbo restaurant in a trailer, the trek through a Morgan City swamp that brought me awfully close to an alligator, and Pete Fountain's jazz club at the Hilton. Simply put, Burke knows Louisiana and how to evoke it.
Cadillac Jukebox is overall a good read. It's basically a tale of the dark motives that drive people across the line from good to bad. Unfortunately, Burke let the story get too complicated. I wish I had made a chart of the characters as I read the book, because keeping track of who's who got confusing. The storyline also spreads out to the point that staying on top of it becomes a chore.
I thought the story got formulaic at points. The mythological symbolism in the fate of the husband-and-wife antagonists was over the top, like a classical bass drum roll at the end of a Warren Storm tune. But Burke didn't miss a beat with his characters. I was scared by Aaron Crown and Mookie Zerrang, I felt sympathy for Buford LaRose and enmity toward his wife, and I felt like I'd known Batist for a long time. Dave Robicheaux was as polite, resolute, and conflicted as ever.