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Drawing on classical antecedents, bestseller Burke peoples his 15th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2004's Crusader's Cross) with his usual assortment of near mythic characters, demonstrating how our everyday lives are beset with age-old, universal dilemmas. New Iberia, La., detective Dave Robicheaux, for whom redemption has become a lifelong pursuit, suits up once again to tilt against villains both real and in his own troubled psyche. Twenty-five years earlier, the young alcohol-soaked cop witnessed his friend and fellow Vietnam vet, Dallas Klein, executed by a group of cold-blooded thugs. He was unable to intercede because he was plastered. Now, a young grifter who may be the victim's daughter, Trish Klein, has appeared in New Iberia, passing counterfeit money and baiting Whitey Bruxal, the aging mobster responsible for Dallas's death. Meanwhile, Dave investigates the apparent suicide of pretty young co-ed Yvonne Darbonne. Are the two cases linked? Dave thinks so, and he enlists longtime loose-cannon sidekick Clete Purcel to prove it. With peerless naturalistic descriptions and lush, metaphysical imagery, Burke creates another challenging morality play for his flawed, everyman hero. (July)
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In James Lee Burke's novels, the past in never farther away than the ripples on the bayou outside Dave Robicheaux's New Iberia, Louisiana, home. This time it's Robicheaux's dark personal history--when the detective "was still going steady with Jim Beam straight up and a beer back"--that interferes with the tranquil present for newly married Dave. When Trish Klein turns up in New Iberia, it doesn't take long for Robicheaux to realize she is the daughter of his old friend, Dallas, who died in an armored-car robbery that Dave witnessed but was too drunk to stop. To make amends, Robicheaux must solve the several interconnected murders that track back to the man behind the armored-car hit. Everything that makes this series so compelling--the elegiac, seductively lyrical prose; the complex character of Robicheaux; the lovingly evoked bayou setting-- is here in abundance, and if it doesn't galvanize into something quite as special as the last episode, Crusader's Cross (2005), that's only because we've come to expect so much from this series. The fact remains that no serious reader of hard-boiled fiction should ever miss a moment of Dave Robicheaux in action. Bill Ott
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