Burke at his most eloquent Apr 10, 2008
Of the eight Dave Robicheaux novels I've read or heard on audiobook, "Purple Cane Road" is one of my two favorites -- the other being "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" (with its Tom Wolfe-ish title). While the central plot of "Purple Cane Road" involves Robicheaux's quest to learn the dark fate of his long-dead mother , Burke generously salts his story with his usual array of quaint, sometimes bizarre, and often violent, characters: Vachel Carmouche, the disgraced executioner of Angola prison, Lettie and Passion LaBieche -- identical twin sisters, one of whom is sentenced to death for the revenge killing of Carmouche -- and Clete Purcell, Robicheaux's closest friend. Robicheaux suffers an even greater share of angst than usual as he struggles to uncover the facts behind his mother's death and to see her for the person she really was. The result is perhaps the most poignant of the Dave Robicheaux novels, with Burke's characterizations at their most stark and revealing, his prose at its most descriptive and eloquent.