Small-time black hustler Tee Bobby Hulin is partly redeemed, in Robicheaux's eyes, by a rare musical gift. Three men are present when Amanda Boudreau is raped and murdered, and Tee Bobby's prints are found at the crime scene. Dave reckons he's innocent, and Tee Bobby pleads so, then attempts suicide in his holding cell. Why? Soon after, hooker ...
Small-time black hustler Tee Bobby Hulin is partly redeemed, in Robicheaux's eyes, by a rare musical gift. Three men are present when Amanda Boudreau is raped and murdered, and Tee Bobby's prints are found at the crime scene. Dave reckons he's innocent, and Tee Bobby pleads so, then attempts suicide in his holding cell. Why? Soon after, hooker and junkie Linda Zeroski is beaten to death by a man wearing leather gloves who, with great care and precision, crushes every bone in her face. Louisiana's murky history casts a long shadow in the work of James Lee Burke, but nowhere longer than here, with the LaSalles family, who settled there before the Louisiana Purchase and built their wealth upon the backs of slave labour. When lawyer Perry LaSalles takes on the defence of Tee Bobby Hulin, Dave knows his motives are fuelled by guilt. For Tee Bobby's grandmother Ladice was seduced by Perry's grandfather, and Amanda Boudreau's death is related to events that happened long before Tee Bobby was born. In this rich and compelling novel James Lee Burke weaves a web of plots and subplots involving perfectly observed characters.Dense with passion and compassion, Burke's novels get better and better.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-04-22 To read a Burke novel is to enter a timeless, parallel universe of violent emotions and lush, brooding landscapes, where class and racial distinctions and family histories mold society. This is the stunningly talented Burke's 21st book and his best until the next one. Dave Robicheaux, the psychologically scarred detective for the New Iberia, La., sheriff's department, investigates two brutal murders, one of a nave teenage girl, the other of a feckless drug-addled prostitute. The author provides a dense, richly imagined background for his characters, especially the sinister ones: malevolent Legion Guidry, a nightmarish figure from Robicheaux's boyhood; a power-hungry tavern owner; an arrogant lawyer; a combative female PI; the prostitute's Mafioso father; and Marvin Oates, an enigmatic Bible salesman who floats ominously through the narrative. Robicheaux doesn't believe the obvious suspect Tee Bobby Hulin, a drug-addicted musical genius is the murderer. Aided and disrupted by his obstreperous pal, Clete Purcel, Robicheaux runs into the usual trouble. Legion gives Robicheaux such a ferocious beating that he reverts to drinking and addictive painkillers. Though the search for the murderer moves the story, the novel is really an examination of the savage relationships of the characters and the palpable presence of the past. Burke offers a vivid social history of an inbred, corrupt place. As Clete so aptly tells his friend, "This is Louisiana, Dave. Guatemala North. Quit pretending it's the United States." (June 10) Forecast: Expect another bestseller from two-time Edgar Award winner Burke, who should be attracting more readers of "literary" fiction with his fine writing. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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