Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke

About the book: James Lee Burke’s eagerly awaited new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, Louisiana, and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered. While the crimes have all the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of Bernadette Latiolais, a high school honor student, doesn’t fit: she is not the kind of hapless and marginalized victim psychopaths usually prey upon. Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, confront Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer whom both men despise. When Stanga turns up dead shortly after a fierce beating by Purcel, in front of numerous witnesses, the case takes a nasty turn, and Clete’s career and life are hanging by threads over the abyss.

Adding to Robicheaux’s troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, on leave from Stanford Law to put the finishing touches on her novel. Her literary pursuit has led her into the arms of Kermit Abelard, celebrated novelist and scion of a once prominent Louisiana family whose fortunes are slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana’s subculture. Abelard’s association with bestselling ex-convict author Robert Weingart, a man who uses and discards people like Kleenex, causes Robicheaux to fear that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. As his daughter seems to drift away from him, he wonders if he has become a victim of his own paranoia. But as usual, Robicheaux’s instincts are proven correct and he finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.

First line: The room I had rented in an old part of Natchez seemed more reflective of new Orleans than a river town in Mississippi.

My thoughts: This is the newest in James Lee Burke's series featuring the New Iberia, Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux, one of my favorite series. It is a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Mystery and Thriller (2010). Being the Burke fan I am, I knew I would not be disappointed in this book. Boy was I right! Dave and Clete shined in this one as did Alafair. I wish there had been a little more on Molly but I got to know Helen a little better. As I've come to expect in the Dave Robicheaux novels, it is good vs. evil. Dave, who sees things in black and white, must find out who killed several young women. His unfailing compassion for the victims drives him. This was a great mystery, I didn't want to put it down. Dave had several obstacles to overcome as his personal and professional lives became entangled, placing those he loves in the line of fire. The end of this one was different, though. I was left hanging...the story ended...but it didn't. No epilogue either. Now I can't wait to see the next one.

I also enjoy the insight into the history, culture, and politics of Louisiana. Burke is a native of Louisiana and he tells it like it is. His descriptions of the scenery are to be savored. I reread these often.

If you haven't read any of the books in this series I would suggest you start with some of the earlier ones. One of my favorites was In The Electric Mist With the Confederate Dead. Purple Cane Road was another. In Electric Mist more than any of the others, you get to read about Dave's connection to his private world, things he doesn't share. You see, Dave sees dead people. He says that the dead are with us. I find his glimpses interesting. In Glass Rainbow he sees an old paddle wheeler and the people on it beckon to him. Mystery lovers will like this series


"I sometimes subscribe to the belief that all historical events occur simultaneously, like a dream in the mind of God. Perhaps it is only man who views time sequentially and tries to impose a solar calendar upon it. What if other people, both dead and unborn, are living out their lives in the same space we occupy, without our knowledge or consent?"

1 comment:

Teddyree said...

It's been quite a while since I read a James Lee Burke novel, thanks for the reminder and I'll keep an eye out for this new series especially since you've rated it so highly!