Although I'm not a big mystery fan, this story was so well crafted, it was easy to feel you were on the bayou scene and wondering (along with the characters) what did and would happen. Good entertainment value.
A mystery set in the heart of Cajun country. Several of my guy friends kept telling me that I would like James Lee Burke's books, and I thought, "Yeah, right!"), but was hooked on the first one, and I am usually a chick-lit kind of gal. I couldn't put this one down!
Forty years ago, a local labor leader was crucified in a crime that remains unsolved. Now, his daughter--Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Megan Flynn--returns to New Iberia. With a seemingly insignificant remark to Robicheaux, she begins a chain of events that lead right back to her father's death. New Iberia, in some sense, is frozen in time as the age-old problems of race and class weave their way into the mystery, complicating Robicheaux's discovery of not only the original crime, but the wealth of murders that spring up along the way. Add in the Chinese mob, corrupt policemen, and a Hollywood film shoot, and the stage is set.
Burke's forte is his ability to create characters so evil they're liable to get you up in the night to check in your closet and under your bed. The players--both good and bad--are characterized more by their flaws than their attributes, giving everyone a wicked sheen. The book isn't overly gory (although short descriptions can be rather graphic), but everyone has a dark side, emphasizing the noir-ish tones of the novel. His writing is powerful, mixing tender landscapes ("[W]e dropped through clouds that were pooled with fire in the sunrise and came in over biscuit-colored hills dotted with juniper and pine and pinyon trees...") with dead-on, cutting descriptions ("His face was tentacled with a huge purple-and-strawberry birthmark, so that his eyes looked squeezed inside a mask") and the camp dialogue of Chandler ("Evil doesn't have a zip code"). Oddly, these sundry elements blend seamlessly, allowing you to overlook tenuous connections and occasionally confusing turns.
In a land soaked with sin, Dave Robicheaux is dueling with killers, ghosts, and a woman's revenge....
The townspeople of New Iberia, Louisiana, didn't crucify Megan Flynn's father. They just didn't catch whoever pinned him to a barn wall with sixteen-penny nails.
Decades later, Megan, now a world-famous photojournalist, has come back to the bayou, looking for cop Dave Robicheaux. It was Dave who found the body of labor leader Jack Flynn. The sight changed the boy, shaped him as a man. And after forty years, Robicheaux is still haunted by the bizarre unsolved slaying.
Now Megan's return has stirred up the ghosts of the long-buried past, igniting a storm of violence that will rip apart lives of blacks and whites in this bayou county. And for a good cop with bad memories, hard desires, and chilling nightmares, the time has come to uncover the truth.