Via audio CD, I just finished Burning Angel by James Lee Burke. This Dave Robicheaux novel was just as intriguing as all the others. I love South Louisiana, its people, culture, food, and history and every read of this series teaches me and makes me love it more. Burke is a master of the first person narrative. Each novel contains just enough back story to make each volume self-contained, so that reading them in order is not imperative. I believe Burke has created a detailed persona equal in complexity to the Sherlock Holmes detective that Doyle created. It is obvious that Burke loves and studies words, dialogue, history, culture, and that he knows human nature. There were several lines that affected me, but the best one today was “Sometimes it’s following the rules that kills you.” (That may be a paraphrase. I’ll check it for accuracy when I obtain a printed copy.)
I have read all of the Robicheaux novels except for A Morning for Flamingos and The Neon Rain. I own most of them, and the ones I don’t own, I intend to obtain.
Here is a summary of the novel, which I lifted from Burke’s website:
When Sonny Boy Marsallus returns to New Iberia after fleeing for Central America to avoid the wrath of the powerful Giacana family, his old troubles soon follow. Meanwhile Dave Robicheaux becomes entangled in the affairs of the Fontenot family, descendants of sharecroppers whose matriarch helped raise Dave as a child. They are in danger of losing the land they’ve lived on for more than a century.
As Dave tries to discover who wants the land so badly, he finds himself in increasing peril from a lethal, rag tag alliance of local mobsters and a hired assassin with a shady past. And when a seemingly innocent woman is brutally murdered, all roads intersect, and Sonny Boy is in the middle.
With the usual James Lee Burke combination of brilliant action and unforgettable characters, Burning Angel is the author at his best – showing that old hatreds and new ones are not that far apart.
Book and Program News:
I just returned from another week’s touring. The students at the Brownsboro and Bullard schools were endearing and so interested in my programs about the Civil War. My signing at the Books-A-Million in Longview went well, as did my Americana performance at Auntie Skinner’s in Jefferson, Texas. I’ll post photos as I get them. Here is a photo of me at the Fort Worth Fort Trails Muster on May 10: