No one captures the sultry, humid feel of New Orleans quite like James Lee Burke does in his Dave Robicheaux novels. He understands the tactile nature of the air when the temperature and the moisture rise in the summer South, when “the air [grows] hazy with humidity and even your lightest clothes [stick] to your body like wet paper.” Like many regional mystery writers, Burke’s crime stories are as much about the place as about the people. Southern Lousiana and its bayous and rivers provide the lush background for these often dark and violent tales.
In this second novel in the series, Robicheaux has retired from the New Orleans PD and is working as a fishing guide with his wife. While out on the Gulf trawling for shrimp, the pair see a small plane go down in the water, and arrive there in time only to rescue one of the passangers, a small girl. This good deed drags Robicheaux and Annie back into a world of crime and violence that has tragic consequences for each of them. Dave Robicheaux is a strong addition to the ranks of damaged heroes who populate much of contemporary crime writing. Burke’s understanding of, and obvious affection for, his settings shines through the pages of all of his stories. These tales of hot temperatures and hot tempers are just the thing to warm a cold winter day.