Dripping with the cynicism and sweat that runs rampant through the Louisiana bayou parishes, actor Will Patton gives an extraordinary reading of James Lee Burke's latest tension-filled tale. Each character gets a distinct patois that not only distinguishes his or her voice, but conveys class, race, and in many cases, a raw, unforgiving, and unsavory nature: necessary ingredients for such a brilliant and dark work. And while Northerners may, at times, struggle with the strong colloquialisms, Patton's varied Southern tones justify a listen.
Like Burke's other work, contradictions rule. Beauty is juxtaposed against ugliness; rape, killings, and revenge are woven through an intense and elegiac prose in which the lush details of nature run profuse and poetic. The upshot is an almost dreamlike, or rather nightmarish, account of detective Dave Robicheaux's search for justice in a mounting set of murders. His journeys run from wealthy manors to cockfights and cathouses and through the injustices of a South where past and present are rarely separated. The detective's keen, indisputable insights on human nature and history set him and this story apart from all peers. (Running time: 4.5 hours, four cassettes) --Anne Lockwood
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From Publishers Weekly
After stepping into stand-alone territory with Cimmaron Rose (1997), Burke choreographs a masterful return to the lush and brooding world of volatile New Iberia Sheriff's Deputy Dave Robicheaux (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996). This tale's strength lies in breathtaking, moody descriptive passages and incisive vignettes that set time, place and character. Burke's major themes, that the past is key to the present and that money buys power, pervade this mystery. The narrative, with more twists and bounces than a fish fighting a hook, rises from the violent, unsolved murder 40 years ago of union organizer Jack Flynn. The story encompasses at least eight disparate but interlocking subplots: the crooked money behind a movie directed by Flynn's son Cisco; the hold that ex-con Swede Boxleiter has on Cisco's photojournalist sister, Megan; Willie "Cool Breeze" Broussard's theft of a mob warehouse; his wife Ida's suicide 20 years ago; the shooting of two white brothers who raped a black woman; alcoholic Lisa Terrebonne's haunted childhood; her wealthy, arrogant father's ties to Harpo Scruggs, a vicious murderer; the post-Civil War killing by freed slaves of a Terrebonne servant. Hired assassins, snitches, lawmen and FBI agents weave through the novel. Dave and his partner Detective Helen Soileau find the connections, but Dave knows that in the ongoing class war, the worst criminals wield too much influence to pay for their crimes. In rich, dense prose, Burke conjures up bizarre, believable characters who inhabit vivid, spellbinding scenes in a multifaceted, engrossing plot. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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