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Starred Review. The pain, dismay and anger brought on by the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina explodes from the pages of this new Dave Robicheaux novel. For nearly a quarter of a century, Burke has used this series, despite their dark subject matter, to show his obvious love of the land, the people and the cultures of the South and specifically New Orleans. There is a mystery for Robicheaux to solve, but it's the destruction of Burke's beloved New Orleans that resonates like thunder throughout the book. Will Patton, who has come to embody the heart and soul of Burke's weary, Southern knight, matches the author's prose in all its intensity and pain. Adept as he is at portraying the eccentric, the evil and the endearing characters found in Burke's books, it is the actor's reading of Burke's descriptive passages, whether it be a storm forming off the Louisiana coast or the shock of blood escaping from a gunshot wound, that creates a fully realized world for the listener. Patton's insightful interpretation of Burke's darkly expressive imagery makes for a rich literary experience rarely achieved in crime fiction today.
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*Starred Review* "I wanted to wake to the great, gold-green, sun-spangled promise of the South Louisiana in which I had grown up. I didn't want to be part of the history taking place in our state." That sentence wouldn't be out of place in any of Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, all of which have been distinguished by their elegiac tone, but it's only fitting that it should appear in his latest, a heartfelt post-Katrina ode to a lost New Orleans and a lost world. In a sense, Dave Robicheaux, Burke's Cajun detective, whose heart is in the past and whose eyes are on the horizon, expecting trouble, has always been anticipating Katrina--or at least some form of cataclysm--as he has watched his world spin further and further out of control. But Katrina was no fictional event, and Burke writes about its aftermath as vividly and powerfully as any nonfiction chronicler. The plot itself, the investigation of the murder of two black men in the ninth ward, hinges on familiar Burke tropes--the powerless caught in a web of circumstance; surprising acts of nobility from the least likely people; unfathomable evil prompting eruptions of Robicheaux's thinly suppressed rage--but the novel's power comes from the way it explores the tragedy of Katrina in a way that is perfectly in tune with the series, a kind of perfect storm brought together by the confluence of fictional and nonfictional realms. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.