Yes, James Lee Burke is a terrific wordsmith who can bring the Cajun backwoods and bayous alive for readers, but this particular work is quite simply, a sprawling, literary hodge-podge. The story is loosely woven to the point of being chaotic--Dave Robicheaux skitters here, there, and everywhere, including TWO almost gratuitous mini-jaunts to Mexico. The characters are "colorful," but in some cases, such as that of Aaron Crown, the eccentricity deteriorates into cartoon-like caricature. There are various smalltime gangsters who are hard to keep straight, there is a politician's wife who turns up periodically to strip off her clothes, taunt Robicheaux sexually, and then disappear in a cloud of vituperative hissing. And there are more than a few digressions and sidebars to the story that don't ever seem quite justified--it's all a bit much, methinks, and overall it makes for a story that never really hangs together adequately.
Still, Burke is a good enough writer that it's a hard book to put down once started. I think he has done better in others of his mysteries, however.