In 1958, Jimmy and Dave Robicheaux were swimming in the Galveston Bay when sharks appeared nearby. A young woman, Ida Durbin, rescued them and forever left her imprint on their lives.
Jimmy, particularly, becomes infatuated and finds that Ida has been working as a prostitute to pay off a family debt. Just when Jimmy and Ida were going to run away to Mexico, Ida disappears.
Years later, Dave learns from a dieing friend that Ida was snatched by two policeman who were on the pad. They were paid by the owner of the house of prostitution.
Shortly after learning this, Dave is assaulted. He gets his job back at the Iberia Sheriff's department. Sheriff Helen Soileau wants him to look into the murders of women who are abducted in Baton Rouge and killed. The last victim was a young woman in New Iberia who might have been a victim of opportunity. When he gets the job back, it gives Dave the chance to look into Ida Durbin's disappearance.
There is a continuing dispute between Dave and Val Chalons. Val is a TV personality and when his sister is murdered, a set of Dave's prints are found in her home. Val makes public this information and the fact that Dave has just married a Catholic Nun. This escalates the conflict to one of physical nature where Dave puts Val in the hospital and almost loses his job. However, after a period of desk duty, Dave goes back on the trail.
James Lee Burke is one of the best mystery writers in America. He is one of only three people who have won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel, two times. "Crusader's Cross" continues his excellent writing. The plot is unique, the descriptive writing is excellent and Dave Robicheaux is one of the best protagonists in literature, he is sincere, religious, brave and generally, a good guy.