Book Review: Swan Peak by James Lee Burke

Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Hardcover Ed edition (July 8, 2008)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1416548521
• ISBN-13: 978-1416548522

Detective Dave Robicheaux normally hanging around New Orleans and surrounding arrears like New Iberia, is spending the summer in Montana with his wife Molly, and archetypal best friend Clete Purcell. As usual a Dave and Clete have no trouble finding more trouble than fish. Four murders and then Clete is almost torched, raise the question who has the nerve and connections to get away with such a spree. As in many of Burke’s novels, we suspect the wealthy and connected, but just can’t always figure out who. In addition to some mafia and oilman suspects, there is a phony libidinous evangelical preacher, and a gunball who has a sadistic side tracking one of his prey. and 2 singers who seemed to lose their way.

Purcell and Robicheaux have to do all the work as usual for the FBI and local authorities, while stifling as best they can their instincts for mayhem, and the nightmares and flashbacks from their Vietnam days. One of the characters, the gunball is haunted by a waterboarding incident he was part of in the middle east.

Burke has written another remarkable novel. He is more of a novelist/author than a mystery writer, and fans of his will find once again compelling characters, prose and metaphors that will impress, and a tone and flavor that makes his work perennially delicious. While the nostalgia theme is getting a little tiresome, one never finds a novel by Burke tedious and he always delivers. I look forward each year to a new novel by him. One day I will be able to wait for the paperback, but with this novel he once again has my waiting for his next release this summer.

Rating 4 and 1/2 stars

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