DAVE ROBICHEAUX IS A HAUNTED MAN.
Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.
During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America’s favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.
“[An] enthralling yet grim novel of crime, hate, and tragedy. … The novel’s murders and lies—both committed with unsettling smiles—will captivate, start to finish.” —Publishers Weekly
Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving a BA and MA from the latter. He has worked at a wide variety of jobs over the years, including working in the oil industry, as a reporter, and as a social worker. He was Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, succeeding his good friend and posthumous Pulitzer Prize winner John Kennedy Toole, and preceding Ernest Gaines in the position. Shortly before his move to Montana, he taught for several years in the Creative Writing program at Wichita State University in the 1980s.
Burke and his wife, Pearl, split their time between Lolo, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana. Their daughter, Alafair Burke, is also a mystery novelist.
The book that has influenced his life the most is the 1929 family tragedy "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.
Robicheaux finds Dave and Clete in New Iberia and New Orleans. Dave has just lost his wife Molly and has been drinking again. The book centers around whether or not Dave took revenge on the driver that killed Molly. Dave has been suffering blackouts so he has no idea what happened on the night in question.
Robicheaux is a love story. It is a story about a deep abiding friendship between Dave and Clete. Never more does the reader understand the depths of affection between these two. And it is the story of a father's love for daughter. And it is a story about losing someone unexpectedly and the trauma it leaves behind in one's heart.
Robicheaux is filled with fascinating characters as every Burke novel is. Burke understands evil in a way that other author's struggle with. His portrayal of evil in his characters define his writing. I felt the evil in the politician Jimmy Nightingale in Robicheaux. In a mirror of today's political scene in the US, Burke gives us a character who is able to work up people based on old prejudices that are simmering beneath the surface of society. He shows us how someone can rise to power using old hatreds.
The writing of course is amazing. Burke has a way with words like no other. Everyone has an author whose books they look forward to each year. James Lee Burke's books are always met with huge excitement in this household. My husband and I have even been to New Iberia to look for Dave and Clete. (We live thousands of miles away in western Canada).
Highly recommend! Cannot wait for Burke's next book!!!