The Bobbsey Twins find themselves out of the Bayou in a different landscape, Montana, recovering from their Bayou shootout featured in the previous novel Creolle Belle.
James Lee Burke yet again successfully has penned a great tale with the stuff that makes great storytelling, his great potent way with words and sentences, his great thrills, his great reflections on the human condition and the world around us, his great characters, he takes you into the deep crevices of existence with lives on the line, loved ones, kin, daughters.
A tale with memorable heroes, heroins, baddies, and one real nastier baddie, its literal and visceral, poetic and mysterious, shocking and a tragic.
The Bobbsey Twins, Sheriff Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel P.I, along with their daughters Alafair and Gretchen finds themselves with many dark days ahead and a chase against time on in search of someone they wish never existed. James Lee Burke has pitted his likable good people against one of the most evil perpetrators to appear in fiction, maybe for Dave Robicheaux since Legion Guidry, the kind you would find in novels of Cormac McCarthy and Thomas Harris.
The story hooks you and has the right pace and momentum, be prepared to be immersed and at the edge of your seat and then find yourself back and seated evenly on your seat for a time in repose and reflection on great writing and then back at the edge of your seat again.
A must read for 2013 to hit Best of 2013 lists around the globe.
Some excepts and great insights into the world of Dave Robicheaux
“You know what the Eleventh Commandment in New Orleans is?” “Tell me, blimpo.” “Don’t try to put the slide on the Bobbsey Twins from Homicide.”
“To me, this was a magical land, watched over by ancient spirits, a reminder of the admonition in Ecclesiastes that the race is not to the swift or the proud and that the earth abideth forever.”
“To dwell upon the evil that men do gives second life to their deeds and lionizes poseurs and nonentities who will never be more than historical asterisks.”
“The allure of Montana is like a commitment to a narcotic; you can never use it up or get enough of it. Its wilderness areas probably resemble the earth on the first day of creation. for me it was also a carousel, one whose song and light show never ended. The morning after Alafair’s confrontation with Wyatt Dixon, we had rain, then blowing snow inside the sunshine, then sleeting snow and rain, and sunshine again and green pastures and flowers blooming in the gardens and a rainbow that arched across the mountains. All of this before nine A.M.”
“Let me make a confession. I would like to say i became a police officer with the NOPD in order to make the world a better place. I became a cop in order to deal with a black lesion that had been growing on my brain, if not my soul, since i was a child. My parents embarked upon the worst course human beings are capable of: They destroyed their home and their family and finally themselves. If there is any greater form of loss, i do not know what it is. It stays with you every day of your life; you wake with it at dawn and carry it with you into your nocturnal hours. There is no respite or cure, and if your experience has been like mine, you have accepted that only death will separate you from the abiding sense of nothingness you wake with at the first touch of light on the horizon. A man named Mack ruined my mother, and she helped turn my father, Big Aldous, into a sad, bewildered, raging alcoholic who once wrecked Antlers Pool Room and tore up seven Lafayette police officers with his bare fists. I had no feeling about the Vietcong or the NVA, but I put Mack’s face on every enemy soldier I killed. When I came back home, 1 rented an apartment in the French Quarter and slept with a .45 under my pillow, a round in the chamber, not in fear but in hope that someone would try to break in. Please forgive my obsession. My own story isn’t important. The story of the human condition is. If you see your natal home destroyed, one of two things will happen: You will let the loss of your childhood continue to rob you of all happiness for the rest of your life, or you will build a family of your own, a good one, made up of people you truly love and in whose company you are genuinely happy. If you are unlucky, born under a dark star, violent men ferret their way into the life of your family and re-create the act of theft that ruined your childhood. From that moment on, you will enter a landscape that only people who have stacked time in the Garden of Gethsemane will understand. You will discover that the portrayal of law enforcement on television has nothing to do with reality. Chances are, you will be on your own. Perhaps you will find out that the suspected perpetrator has been released on bail without your being notified. The detective assigned to your case might do his best, but you will sense he is drowning in his workload and not always happy to see you. Your phone calls will go unanswered. You will become a nuisance and begin to talk incessantly about your personal problems, to strangers as well as friends. When you think it’s all over, you may receive a taunting call from the person who raped or murdered your loved one. Sound like an exaggeration? Dial up someone who has been there and see what he has to say. I remember sitting naked and ninety-proof in an Orleans Parish holding cell, flexing my hand, my body running with sweat, as I watched the veins swell in my forearm while I fantasized about a man I was going to kill as soon as I was released. The target of my anger was a Mafia boss I normally referred to as a three-hundred-pound load of whale shit whose name wasn’t worth remembering. I changed my mind when one of his gumballs shot my half brother, Jimmie, in the head and blinded him in one eye. That was when I decided to get back on that old-time lock-and-load rock and roll and turn a certain Mafia boss into wallpaper. At the time I thought and did these things, I was a police officer sworn to protect and serve.”
“We all agree that anyone who is cruel to animals is a moral and physical coward and undeserving of the air he breathes. This same person, however, has a way of working himself into a position of authority over others, often children, even though all the warning signs are there. I’ve never understood our collective unwillingness to question the authority of a predator who happens to acquire a badge or an insignia or a clerical collar or who carries a whistle on a lanyard around his neck. Without our sanction, these pitiful excuses for human beings would wither and die like amphibians gasping for oxygen and water on the surface of Mars. The motivations of a psychopath are almost irrelevant in an investigation. Psychoanalytical speculation about a moral imbecile makes for great entertainment, but it doesn’t put a net over anyone, and you do yourself no favor by trying to place yourself inside his head. The methodology of the psychopath is a different issue, one that frequently proves to be his undoing. In all probability, the perpetrator’s pattern will repeat itself, primarily because he’s a narcissist and thinks his method, if it has worked once, is failsafe; second, the psychopath is not interested in the hunt but, rather, in assaulting and murdering his prey, unlike a professional thief, who is usually a pragmatist and considers theft an occupation and not a personal attack upon his victim.”
“I have always loved and welcomed the rain, even though sometimes the spirits of the dead visit me inside it. During the summer, when I was a child, no matter how hot the weather was, there was a shower almost every afternoon at three o’clock. The southern horizon would be piled with storm clouds that resembled overripe plums, and within minutes you would feel the barometer plunge and see the oak trees become a deeper green and the light become the color of brass. You could smell the salt in the wind and an odor that was like watermelon that had burst open on a hot sidewalk. Suddenly, the wind would shift and the oak trees would come to life, leaves swirling and Spanish moss straightening on the limbs. Just before the first rain-drops fell, Bayou Teche would be dimpled by bream rising to feed on the surface. No more than a minute later, the rain would pour down in buckets, and the surface of the Teche would dance with a hazy yellow glow that looked more like mist than rain. For me, the rain was always a friend. I think that is true of almost all children. They seem to understand its baptismal nature, the fashion in which it absolves and cleanses and restores the earth. The most wonderful aspect of the rain was its cessation. After no longer than a half hour, the sun would come out, the air would be cool and fresh, the four o’clocks would be opening in the shade, and that evening there would be a baseball game in City Park. The rain was part of a testimony that assured us the summer was somehow eternal, that even the coming of the darkness could be held back by the heat lightning that flickered through the heavens after sunset. The rain also brought me visitors who convinced me the dead never let go of this world. After my father. Big Aldous, died out on the salt, I would see him inside the rain, standing up to his knees in the surf, his hard hat titled sideways on his head. When he saw the alarm in my face, he would give me a thumbs-up to indicate that death wasn’t a big challenge. I saw members of my platoon crossing a stream in the monsoon season, the rain bouncing on their steel pots and sliding off their ponchos, the mortal wounds they had sustained glowing as brightly as Communion wafers. The person who contacted me most often in the rain was my murdered wife, Annie, who usually called during an electric storm to assure me she was all right, always apologizing for the heavy static on the line. Don’t ever let anyone tell you this is all there is. They’re lying. The dead are out there. Anyone who swears otherwise has never stayed up late in a summer storm and listened to their voices.”