James Lee Burke is what fellow writers call a wordsmith. He can make your eyes water with a lyrical description of tropical rain falling on a Louisiana bayou … Dave Robicheaux, the narrator of this robust regional series, is an Iberia Parish sheriff’s detective with the melancholy air of a man who occasionally sees the hollow-eyed ghosts of the Confederate dead … Like most of Burke’s plots, this one has roots in Louisiana history, a gumbo of ‘misogamy and racism and homophobia,’ not to mention ‘demagoguery’ and ‘self-congratulatory ignorance.’
The ending is a bit jumbled with who did what to whom with an ever-increasing body count, and even Robicheaux himself is in a bit of a quandary about the entire adventure. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. The poetic writing and depth of the major characters balances out everything. Reading one of Burke’s novels is truly an immersive experience, with every ache and anguish feeling gut-wrenchingly real. It has been almost five years since the last Dave Robicheaux novel, and it was absolutely worth the wait.
Burke’s latest effort is an emotional ride, especially for longtime fans of his bestselling series. With the action dialed down, Robicheaux works thanks to the powerful impact created by the internal conflict waging war inside of Burke’s beloved characters. In many ways, they’re the same people fans have come to know over the course of twenty previous novels … [Robicheaux] is written in a way that allows readers to feel the pain Robicheaux is battling–creating a raw, gripping experience that’ll stay with you long after the story ends.