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There is not much to add to the praise that's already been written19 times before for the Dave Robicheaux novels, and the consistency and magnificence of James Lee Burke -- an American treasure. With Light of the World, Burke gives readers the 20th DR novel since debuting the Louisiana Sheriff Detective in Neon Rain, in 1987. Ardent fans have gone through every imaginable crime scenario with Robicheaux; amazingly, Burke still imagines new and even more menacing trouble for Dave and long-time partner Clete as they continue their unorthodox battle to wipe out the bad guys and defend justice. This time around that bad guy is a sadistic serial killer, and when he sets out to settle an old score by snuffing out the light in Dave's world...the bayou buddies are in rare form.
Barely on the mend from their last shoot-out (Creole Belle), the guys and their families travel across the map to big sky country in Montana for some much-needed R & R. Everything seems perfect for a vacation of fishing and relaxing until an arrow whizzes by Alafair while she is hiking a trail, missing her by a cat's whisker. Dave doesn't think the shot was a mistake, and launches into an investigation that steps on the local sheriff's toes, especially when he comes across some alarming reports of recently missing young women. The little arrow incident seems to be connected to the abductions and quickly Dave and Clete are on their own trail of a different kind. Daughters Alafair and Gretchen Horowitz (always written with her surname for some reason) show they are chip-ettes off the ol' blocks, fearlessly following in their father's footsteps. The action starts before the dust can settle on their sleeping bags, and is continuous as the two daddy/daughter tag teams fight probably the darkest character they have faced. As always with a DR story, the evil has deep reaching roots, and there are no limits to what those involved will do to achieve their dark goals.
If you think this will be more of the same stuff, the daughters are a spicy blast adding a whole new dimension that rejuvenates and redefines team Robicheaux/Purcell. The pair have started to show some signs of wear and tear as the books have gone on -- one or both of them have crawled away from battles, seemingly on their last breath -- but they always come back like a pair of Phoenixes. Burke keeps the two lawmen as sharp as ever instead of a dwindling pair of has-beens ready to turn the family business over to the next generation. After 19 adventures, it wouldn't seem right to put the boys out to pasture just tired old shadows of one of the greatest detective teams in literature. In Alafair and Gretchen, Burke has created a new team that has inherited all the traits of their fathers, but not drained them (...it would be fun to see Burke's own daughter Alafair, a crime writer and professor of law, pick up this female pair and keep them in the family...just thinking out loud.)
At age 76, Burke may be taking after his own creations...he just seems to get better with age. Will Patton is as essential to the DR novels as the Louisiana bayou is to Robicheaux; he is almost a character -- a riveting narrator. It's an achievement to write as many award-winning best sellers as Burke -- it's amazing that he continues to entertain us with his hallmark beautiful prose and his endless imagination. *[This is the 20th book about DR, but not a chronological series so you can jump in anywhere, anytime.]
31 of 35 people found this review helpful
This was my first Burke and I can tell that there is a lot of character backstory that I have missed. That being said I enjoyed the story and most of the characters. I found Clete's daughter, Gretchen, a little unrealistic, but there again I may just be missing vital backstory. I know everyone raves about Will Patton, he was good but I had a hard time differentiating his female characters voices. All in all a good listen and I will read reviews of his past works to choose another.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful