July 19, 2008 |
Every year about this time, I eagerly await the latest novel from the pen of James Lee Burke, and if I'm lucky, it will be an adventure featuring the New Iberia, La., deputy sheriff Dave Robicheaux, for my money the best continuing American character today, a counterpart on these shores to Adam Dalgleish of Scotland Yard, the masterful creation of the incomparable P.D. James.
July 11, 2007 |
"AS we crossed under the elevated highway and headed toward the Convention Center, I saw one image that will never leave me and that will remain emblematic of my experience in New Orleans, La., on Monday, August 29, in the year of Our Lord, 2005. The body of a fat black man was bobbing facedown against a piling. His dress clothes were puffed with air, his arms floating straight out from his sides. A dirty skim of yellow froth from our wake washed over his head.
July 11, 2006 |
When introduced in the 1987 crime novel "The Neon Rain," James Lee Burke's Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux was living in New Orleans, a homicide lieutenant suffering from alcoholism, self-loathing and job burnout. By the following year's sequel, "Heaven's Prisoners," he had retreated to his considerably less spoiled Acadian hometown of New Iberia, seeking sobriety and redemption.
July 19, 2005 |
James Lee Burke's 13th novel featuring one of crime fiction's most famously flawed heroes, the guilt-ridden, alcoholic, hot-headed, self-destructive Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux, begins with a story from Dave's book of painful memories. In the summer of 1958, with college on the horizon, he and his reckless half-brother, Jimmie, join a doodlebug crew laying rubber cable and seismic jugs in the search for energy reserves along the Louisiana-Texas coastline.
January 18, 2004 |
In Ethan Black's splendid "Dead for Life," an innocent New York cop is pilloried for dereliction of duty. A raging, resourceful, persistent cur -- determined to liquidate his prey for no evident reason -- claims that responsibility for his murders lies with Det. Conrad Voort. To save his honor and his career, Voort must discover the killer's motivation and foil his plans.
June 19, 2002 |
Several of James Lee Burke's more recent novels about Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux have been examples of style over substance. This is not meant as a complaint, exactly; not when you're dealing with a stylist whose poetic way with words is stunningly effective, whether being used to describe bayou tranquillity or barroom violence.