Robicheaux“Robicheaux” is number twenty-one in James Lee Burke’s “Robicheaux” series, but it can be read as a “stand alone.” I am a new reader, but it took only a little time to become familiar with all the characters; Burke fills in any needed background as the story goes along.

Dave Robicheaux is a Louisiana police detective, devoted and complex, and yet imperfect and troubled.  He is tormented by the death of his wife, his time in Vietnam, and his alcohol abuse. The addition of a contract killer and a police detective with his own issues create a potentially toxic situation.

Burke creates multifaceted and complex characters. It is hard to distinguish the good from the bad because they are all tangled in the same unsavory web. Readers must assess if the good qualities are outweighed by flaws.

Louisiana is also a character with its heat and humidity, its past and present, and its people and alligators.  Louisiana’s social climate, economic damage, and historic past keep the story moving as much as the individuals do.

James Lee Burke is a natural storyteller. The book is not a “nail-biting” thriller, but carries readers along as it ebbs and flows effortlessly.  It makes readers think rather than recoil. The dialogue is clear and compelling. The characters are provocative and genuine.  The story is riveting and vivid.

I received a copy of “Robicheaux” from James Lee Burke, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley. I had previously only read one of Burke’s books, and it was not from this series. I greatly enjoyed reading   “Robicheaux” and no I have twenty more books on my “to read” list.