I'm adding this review in response to a review by "cedwint" who is disappointed that James Lee Burke descends into poetic description, political commentary, and elaborate segues into background stories to help us know his characters better.
I've read a lot of this genre, and I keep coming back to Burke because of his detours. I love to see this poverty-striken part of Louisiana through his eyes; we have even visited New Iberia, Bayou Teche, St. Martinsville, Jeanrette, etc. because Burke's prose is so alluring. We knew it was romanticized, but it is part of the folly of Dave Robicheaux (and probably Burke) to be a bit of a dreamer and to see things through a haze of nostalgia. I love it that he writes about his cat and his three legged raccoon. I love it that he speaks up for the impoverished and the oppressed and gives them dignity in his novels. I love it that he takes on some of the big heavy hitters, the big time criminals - politicians and drug dealers and human...
Recovering in the hospital from the life-threatening injuries he received at the end of "The Glass Rainbow" Dave Robicheaux is visited in what seems like a morphine dream by a Cajun singer called Tee Jolie Melton, who leaves him an iPod featuring the song "My Creole Belle," a haunting piece of music which comes to obsess Dave. Upon his release, the New Iberia detective learns that Tee Jolie's sister Blue has washed up dead on the Gulf shore encased in a huge block of ice.
Dave's friend Clete Purcel is drawn to a different young woman, named Gretchen, whom he believes is his long lost daughter, and whom he fears might be the assassin behind the killings of several local criminals with mob ties. Working together Dave and Clete discover connections to a broader conspiracy involving sex trafficking, art theft and unscrupulous oil industry executives.
In "Creole Belle," all of James Lee Burke's trademark talents are on prodigious display: his lyrical prose, his poetic...
Normally I worship the words James Lee Burke writes and wish each book would never end. His latest, Creole Belle, feels, and reads, very differently to me and I fought feelings of disappointment throughout. The book is preachy, and philosophically morose without the balance of his usual dry and cutting humor. It feels like a dying man's reflections on his disappointing life. There is a noticeable lack of warmth between the main character, Dave, and his wife, Molly. And, having just read a novel by his real-life daughter, Alafair, the character of his fictional daughter does not seem well imagined. In fact, the whole story feels sadly autobiographical, though that could just be my own imagination. Also, while I know some people never change, or grow up, as an RN it seems to me that Clete's liver, if not his unhinged self-destructiveness, should have done him in a long time ago. Dave's indulgence of him has become just burdensome for Dave and wearying for the reader. Finally, somehow I...
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