There is no clever title needed for multiple Edgar Award-winner and Mystery Writers of America Grand Master James Lee Burke's 21st crime novel featuring the brooding, recovering alcoholic Dave Robicheaux--his surname is title enough. A sheriff's detective in the Iberia Parish outside New Orleans, Robicheaux is getting long in the tooth, living spouseless with his personal devils and untangling brutal crimes in search of justice for the victims. 

Robicheaux is a beauty. It consummately reinforces Burke's Grand Master status. Rife with his usual cauldron of lowlifes, crooked pols, sleazy mobsters, hookers and dirty cops, it illustrates Burke's particular brand of bayou noir where sorting fact from fiction requires nearly everything in Robicheaux's tackle box. An investigation into a reported rape draws him down a murky crime trail. Although jammed up by a local banker calling in a loan, the detective's loyal friend Clete Purcel taps a few snitch markers and backs up his former drinking buddy where needed. Enforcers like mafia goons Tony Nine Ball, Nig Rosewater and Wee Willie Bimstine do the dirty work for the old-money political wannabe and alleged rapist Jimmy Nightingale. And Robicheaux's got his own troubles trying to stay off the hooch while nursing his grief over the death of his third wife, Molly, in a reckless high-speed pickup truck crash. He wants revenge--the hard way, if not the legal way. If one hasn't tasted Burke yet, Robicheaux is a good place to take the first bite. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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