The David Robicheaux series is beloved in mystery circles and it’s one I’ve always mean to come back to after having read In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead ten years ago. I liked the writing well enough and I especially enjoyed the south Louisiana setting. New Orleans makes for a great mystery location. But I don’t know; I just made excuse-after-excuse not to return to it.
Yet I set those aside when I randomly grabbed the first one from the library. And despite a massive library stack that has accumulated since its pandemic reopening, I needed something quick so I chose this one.
And it is good. I see why people like Burke so much. He’s a competent writer and his worldly musings entertain. He sets the Louisiana scene well. And he makes the connections between the phony, bloody war of Vietnam and the phony, bloody proxy war of Nicaragua from one generation to the next.
The mystery itself is interesting. I’m not sure if I completely bought it from start to finish but I appreciated what Burke was doing. I think the reason why I paused my enthusiasm for these books for so long is the tangents. Burke has his characters go off on a lot of tangents, externally and internally. He goes from being only mildly concerned with details to obsessing over them. It put me off a little and for such a short story, it could have used some better editing. Also, the love interest angle sucked but what else is new?
Still, I enjoyed the character of Robicheaux enough and the south LA setting that I’m sure I’ll return to the sequel sometime within the next ten years.