Another dark rhapsody on Burke's favorite themes--power and vengeance, organized crime, maverick Louisiana lawmen, and nightmares from Vietnam--all pulled together more tightly than ever by the Sonnier family, threatened by somebody (oilman brother Weldon's mob contacts? televangelist brother Lyle's stray sheep? sister Drew's old political enemies? brother-in-law Bobby Earl's followers in the Aryan Nation? hateful paterfamilias Verise, long presumed dead in a tanker explosion?) who first shoots out Weldon's window and then executes a cop in the family basement. There'll be more violence--much more--and enough guilt for everybody, as New Iberia detective Dave Robicheaux, instead of maundering over the issues, as in Black Cherry Blues (1989) and A Morning for Flamingos (1990), turns in his finest performance to date. By no means a well-made detective story--the Sonniers' coincidental bad luck rivals Job's--bat a wholly original tale of crime and revenge, inside and outside the law. This series keeps getting stronger and stronger.