... a thoroughly engrossing murder mystery, albeit one in which, as is frequently the case with James Lee Burke’s iconic Dave Robicheaux, the detective discovers himself dealing in cold, hard facts while simultaneously attempting to give voice to the ineffable ... What Connolly’s fans might be more interested in, however, is how much of Charlie Parker’s origins are revealed, and here Connolly has a little fun at the expense of his hero’s mystique ... Connolly’s deliberately arch and formal style is an anachronistic delight in an era of minimalist miserabilism and lends a considerable gravitas to Parker’s musings on life, death and the afterlife ... A beautifully measured novel that is equal parts gripping mystery and an unsentimental meditation on grief, The Dirty South is very probably the best crime novel you will read this year.
Connolly has given readers a tale with two faces. On the one hand, the plot of “The Dirty South” twists, turns and gyrates, doing the same to the reader’s attention. The plot twists stem in a big part from ill will between the police chief and the chief deputy of the county sheriff department. But many readers may find themselves hard-put to keep up with what’s going on.
On the other hand, Connolly has such a keen touch with his writing that readers will stick with his book, just for the pleasure of his prose.