Simon & Schuster, July 13, 2010
"The Abelards had paneled their sunporch with stained-glass images of unicorns and satyrs and monks at prayer and knights in armor that shone like quicksilver, turning their home into a kaleidoscopic medieval tapestry. Or perhaps, better said, they had created a glass rainbow that awakened memories of goodness and childhood innocence, all of it to hide the ruination they had brought to the Carribean- like fairyland they had inherited."
The prominent and powerful Abelards, grandfather Timothy and grandson Kermit, surround themselves with some very evil people: Robert Weingart, a convict turned author; Vidor Perkins, a psychotic interloper; Herman Stanga, a pimp and drug dealer; Layton and Carolyn Blanchet, a self-made investment tycoon and his wife.
Two teenaged girls are dead, tortured and mutilated, one of whom was literally “scared to death.” The other girl, Bernadette Latiolais, was an honor student in high school and offered a full college scholarship. These were innocent young girls, but no one can be bothered to investigate their deaths.
No one, that is, except Sheriff’s detective Dave Robicheaux and his long-time partner and sidekick, PI Clete Purcel. Never mind that the girls’ bodies were found outside Dave’s jurisdiction of New Iberia, Louisiana; Dave and Clete will do whatever it takes to solve these murders.
|James Lee Burke|
The second half of the book will surprise even Burke fans. Dave and Clete know the Abelard bunch are connected in some way with the murders—each of the suspects exude a palpable odor of human depravity— but none of the pieces are falling into place. They begin to wonder if they’ve grown too old for the job, or if they’ve lost their investigative touch, or if their decades-long streak of good luck is about to come to an end.
I, the reader, begin to wonder too. Both Purcel and Robicheaux live with demons from their past, but they deal with them differently. Clete is cavalier: he buries his with alcohol, women, outrageous behavior, and his philosophy of life, “It’s all just rock ‘n roll.” Dave, however, has demons that haunt him, sins of violence past that need forgiveness and cause him to do whatever it takes to right a wrong and find redemption . . .
It is important, then, that they solve this nearly unsolvable crime. They have a plan, as always, but the book’s ending bothers me. It bothers me because it's haunting me, the reader. Dave said about the Abelards in the quote above, “[T]hey had created a glass rainbow that awakened memories of goodness and childhood innocence . . .”
Anything made of glass, however, even rainbows of goodness and childhood innocence, can be shattered at a moment's notice.
(out of 5) stars.