It’s always nice to visit Louisiana and Burke has an eye, ear, and taste for detail. And the mystery is nicely complicated by the fact that our hero, Dave Robicheaux, works where he grew up. Relationships are complicated. But strip away those pieces, and there’s not much here that’s new or even that interesting. Robicheaux is a Vietnam Vet with an alcohol problem and a dead father. He works best when he works alone. Women, African-Americans, and even children are props here. A child, so important at the beginning, is used for convenience and ignored otherwise. The women love him. He’s tough, quick with a one-liner, and underneath it all, has a heart of gold. He’s a rogue cop but gets away with it because of his charm.
I like the messiness of the story – plot lines (that are often the more interesting ones) are opened and not closed. But mostly this story is atmosphere. I’ll return to Burke when I need another trip to Louisiana.