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by James Lee Burke

Pub Date: July 11th, 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-7772-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Twenty-five years after he failed to save a buddy’s life in Opa-Locka, Fla., New Iberia Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Robicheaux’s own life is upended still again when the buddy’s daughter blows into town.

Bookie Whitey Bruxal respected Dallas Klein’s heroism in Vietnam, but business was business. So he sent some collectors after the debtor, and when the alcoholic fog had cleared from Dave’s eyes, his friend was dead—because, he’s always believed, he couldn’t help him. Now Whitey is a major player in Louisiana’s casinos and the daughter Dallas left behind a stunning young woman who arrives in New Iberia with a couple of marked $100 bills in her wallet and an inscrutable yearning for the company of private eye Clete Purcel, Dave’s closest friend. Dave wants to know Trish Klein’s motive for her interest in Clete. But first he’ll have to focus on the death of Yvonne Darbonne, a virginal college-bound waitress who spent the last hours of her life overdosing on drink, drugs and sex before getting shot in the face. Both plots are only preliminaries to the main event: Dave’s doomed attempt to referee a high-stakes war involving the Bruxal family; Tony Lujan, Yvonne’s authorized lover and the friend of Whitey’s son Slim; and everyone else in New Iberia.

As usual, fans of this distinguished series will have a lot more sympathy for Dave (Crusader’s Cross, 2005, etc.) than he can muster for himself.