Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by James Lee Burke, Simon & Schuster, 2008
Reviewed by Judi Morrel
If you have never read two-time
Edgar-Award-winning novelist James Lee Burke, you are in for a
treat, especially if you fancy well-developed characters together
with intricate plotlines and big splashes of local color.
Swan Peak is the latest in a series of mysteries with a
protagonist who is one of the most flawed yet heroic characters in
the genre. Dave Robicheaux, recovering alcoholic,
trying-not-to-be-lapsed Catholic and former New Orleans homicide
detective, has opted for a supposedly quieter, less dangerous life
living on a bayou, working as a deputy sheriff and running a bait
While most of this series is set around New Iberia, Louisiana,
in Swan Peak Dave, his wife, and his former NOPD partner, Clete
Purcell (another fascinating and complicated character), are
vacationing in Montana, where trouble finds them when two college
students are murdered near their cottage. As the story plays out,
all manner of characters swirl about the pages-an evil oil tycoon,
a sexually deviant minister, an escaped convict, and a former
country music singer, just to name a few. Equally as compelling as
the plot, as in all the Robicheaux novels, is Dave's inner
dialogue, while he wrestles with his own demons and attempts to
right the wrongs he encounters.
Once you read Swan Peak, you will want to dive into the entire
series, currently at 17 titles.
- Judi Morrel is associate professor of mathematics and
associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at