Featured Review: ‘Robicheaux’ by James Lee Burke

Robicheaux.jpgFollowing Light of the World (2013), Dave Robicheaux is back in James Lee Burke’s all-new novel, Robicheaux.

Now semi-retired after a long career as a detective with the sheriff’s department, Robicheaux is reeling from the loss of his wife, Molly, who was killed in a car accident. Molly’s death brings about an old demon that Dave knows all too well, the overwhelming desire to drown his sorrows in liquor.

Sadly, the recovering alcoholic nixes the word “recovering,” as he falls back into the very pit he once worked so hard to climb out of. Back on the bottle, Robicheaux starts acting against his better judgment. He spends some time at the site of his wife’s death, and even confronts the man driving the vehicle that killed her at his home. Then, half a day after attending a local AA meeting, Robicheaux is boozing at the bar like alcohol is the only medicine that can fix his problems. Instead, it does just the opposite. 

After waking from a drunken bender that resulted in a heavy blackout, Robicheaux has no idea where he’d been or how he got home. He can’t remember anything, in fact, about the night before. Foggy and sick to his gut, he receives a call to head out to a crime scene where a dead body was found early that morning. To his horror, Robicheaux discovers that the dead man is the same man who killed his wife, and the very same man he confronted and challenged the day prior.

Seconds after the coroner rules that the man was beaten to death by someone likely on meth or something else–because come on, who could dole out such a beating with their bare hands without some type of drug numbing their pain?–Robicheaux discovers the bruises and scrapes on his own knuckles. So does Sheriff Helen Soileau, who pulls Dave off the case.

To get to the bottom of what happened and find out whether or not he murdered the man who killed his wife, Robicheaux turns to his long-time friend and Private Investigator Clete Purcel for help. Together, they set out to uncover the truth, but along the way, the duo churns up all kinds of trouble as they run into a number of unsavory bad guys, each with their own agendas and shady intentions. 

Burke’s latest effort is an emotional ride, especially for longtime fans of his bestselling series. With the action dialed down, Robicheaux works thanks to the powerful impact created by the internal conflict waging war inside of Burke’s beloved characters. In many ways, they’re the same people fans have come to know over the course of twenty previous novels. Robicheaux still lives by Spanish Lake, and Clete’s apartment is still on St. Ann Street. But each of them faces their own trials and tribulations, especially Dave, all of which is written in a way that allows readers to feel the pain Robicheaux is battling–creating a raw,  gripping experience that’ll stay with you long after the story ends. 

It’s always a treat when Dave Robicheaux lines store shelves, and longtime fans will especially appreciate this one. James Lee Burke has truly outdone himself–Robicheaux is another masterpiece from one of today’s premier storytellers. 

Book Details

Author: James Lee Burke
SeriesDave Robicheaux #21
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501176846
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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