On leave from his job as sheriff’s deputy in New Iberia, La., Dave Robicheaux learns that people in Montana’s Big Sky country are as swaggering and venal as anyone in the Big Easy.
Shaken by the devastation of New Orleans (The Tin Roof Blowdown, 2007, etc.), Dave is visiting his friend Albert Hollister in Swan Lake. Together with his wife Molly and his best friend Clete Purcel, he hopes for some fishing and peace of mind. Instead he is bullied by the minions of wealthy Ridley and Leslie Wellstone and Leslie’s wife, singer Jamie Sue, and he must deal with the unsolved murders of college students Cindy Kershaw and Seymour Bell, their bodies left on land adjoining the Wellstones’. As bad blood simmers between the Louisiana lawmen, constantly reminded by FBI agent Alicia Rosecrans that their badges are worthless, and the Wellstone brothers, Dave sees his endless quest to conquer his own demons echoed in the figures of prison warder Troyce Nix and his prey, Jamie Sue’s one-time guitarist Jimmy Dale Greenwood, who repaid Nix’s unwanted sexual attentions by fighting back and leaving him for dead. Despite the story’s length and complexity, Burke’s view of the world is more explicit than ever: noble intentions baffled by long-festering damage from war and alcoholism, and beneath it all the determination of the rich and powerful to keep their perks.
Like all Dave’s adventures, a tale of violent conflict whose deepest violence boils inside the heroes.