New Iberia homicide detective Dave Robicheaux (Jolie Blon’s Bounce, 2002, etc.) battles—what else?—strutting criminals, willing women, long-buried crimes, and his own most violent impulses.
Wasting no time on preliminaries, Dave and his old buddy, p.i. Clete Purcel, end the opening scene pummeling one-time porn actor Gunner Ardoin for beating New Orleans priest Jimmie Dolan and are soon facing Gunner’s civil suit and his likely innocence. But there are more than enough sleazeballs to go around, from Gunner’s mobbed-up boss Fat Sammy Figorelli to waste-management contractor Merchie Flannigan to Merchie’s wife, crime-writer Theodosha LeJeune, to Theo’s father, spuriously genteel Castille LeJeune, whose 1951 blues recording of imprisoned Junior Crudup is practically the last anybody heard from Junior before he vanished from Angola Prison. Things heat up further with the fatal car crash of Lori Parks, a teenaged veteran of Ecstasy and DWI charges, who bought the daiquiri that pushed her over the line from an obliging boy who worked for Castille LeJeune. Dave, of course, keeps straying outside his jurisdiction to threaten or batter lowlifes, but this time he’s bookended by Lori’s father, who’s determined to avenge her, and by Father Jimmie, dogged by a visiting killer whose moral conflicts bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the priest’s own.
Give yourself a star if this all sounds awfully familiar, and another if you can remember who killed whom ten minutes after Burke’s last glowing page.