Well, maybe that's an overstatement, but in this latest installment of the Chief Bruno Courreges series, the admirable cop of the village of St. Denis attains an even brighter aura as protector of the region and all around great guy as he faces a new threat from satanists, charlatans and wanton women. As always, the storyline is creative and intriguing; but it's the characters populating the book and the locale that give the work real flavor and interest . The stars in all of this are Chief Bruno, local law enforcer, civic organizer, confidant to the powers-that-be, public counselor and psychologist, yenta, gourmet cook, oenologist, jock, horseman and perennial heart throb AND the villages and countryside of the Perigord region of Southwest France.
Without going into great plot detail, "The Devil's Cave" is largely focuses on the death of a beautiful woman found nude and floating down St. Denis' river in a punt attended by signs of a satanist orgy. The woman's local roots are discovered as Bruno leads an investigation into her death and connections to a prominent family with important ties to the national government are uncovered. There is a slam-bang close to this novel that takes place in an underground cave complex that the region is famous for. Along the way to the finish, there is plenty of time for Bruno to produce great meals, engage in vintage wine name-dropping, romance and bonding with a new dog.
It is Chief Bruno's personal life that makes this book--and its predecessors--such addictive reading (my opinion). And the ample time spent in "The Devil's Cave" on the man/dog relationship will probably make regular fans of the series raving fanatics. It's pretty irresistible.
This is a fine read albeit with a few moments of excess--over-the-top on the satanist stuff and maybe a little overwriting in the action-centered finale--but overall, very satisfying and getting us all lined up, salivating for the next Bruno book.