Picks and Pans Review: Jolie Blon's Bounce
Burke is among our most gifted crafters of crime fiction. Gamely plunging us into the depths of evil, he returns us gasping to the surface, giving us not answers but literature.
In his latest, Burke revisits swampy New Iberia, La., where his most popular character, sheriff's detective Dave Robicheaux, tangles with a small crowd of creepy suspects to solve the vicious murder of two women. Burke is especially deft describing characters who come with a clanging gin-joint's worth of nicknames like Clete and Tee Bobby Hulin and Buttermilk Struck. A homeless madman has "blonde hair like melted and recooled tallow." Evil plantation overseer Legion Guidry prowls the book in an almost palpably stinking cloud of tobacco, bile and road dust, with an evil hint of sulphur. It's Burke's tangy mastery of such descriptions that assaults the senses and jangles the nerves. (Simon and Schuster, $25)
Bottom Line: Go bayou it