Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Dave Robicheaux is recovering from a near fatal gunshot from action in a prior story.
He's been given morphine for the pain and as an alcoholic, he's having trouble with the medication. One night, a young woman named Tee Jolie visits and brings an i-Pod so he can listen to music. She tells him he's pregnant from a man who isn't divorced.
The next morning, Dave wan't sure if the events of the evening were a dream but the i-Pod is beside his bed. When he's well enough to leave, he learns that Tee Jolie has disappeared. Dave moves his recuperation up to high speed and is soon back to work, full time.
A professional killer comes to New Iberia. Her name is Gretchen Howowitz. As certain people threaten Dave's friend, Clete Purcel, Gretchen takes reprisal and Clete comes to feel that she is his daughter from a woman he hasn't seen in years. Gretchen doesn't admit this and the reader doesn't know for sure if she is the killer.
The story of why Gretchen is in town and Dave's search for Tee Jolie combine as a wealthy group of individuals seem to be behind a number of deaths and perhaps there is a connection to oil or art.
Burke's writing is always imaginative and eloquently descriptive. For example, "There was a Japanese tulip tree by the edge of the water...wind blew and a shower of pink and lavender petals on top of the water that slid in with the tide."
Dave and Clete are still haunted from events in Vietnam and the mere mention of a Vietnamese woman's name sets Clete off. Then we learn that this is the name of a woman he loved in Vietnam and was the only woman he really loved. These emotions seemed to make Clete a bigger person who could carry a love for so many years.
I was also entertained by the excellent characters and noted that as Burke ages, so do his characters. Not only are Dave and Clete older but two other major characters in the story are grandfathers.
A novel not to miss. It adds to Burke's legend as one of our greatest writers.