Top positive review
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The Glass Rainbow
on 22 July 2010
James Lee Burke has crafted possibly the best Dave Robicheaux novel in terms of both its literary quality and the storyline. Recent novels have mirrored contemporary reality focussing on the effects of hurricane Katrina for example. In this latest work Lee Burke provides the ecological backdrop, the many canals dug into the Bayou, to what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Robicheaux is ageing and is particularly reflective on death in this novel which begins with the discovery of human remains in Mississipi. Indeed rather like the caduceus death winds itself around the characters and the region like the snake in the symbol.
The investigation into the origins of the human remains leads Robicheaux and his faithful sidelick, Cletus Purcell, into a very sinister group of people whose motives are initially unclear. Using the lead characters daughter, Alifair, in the plot could have been a mistake, however, Lee Burke succeeds and Alifair is quite a credible component of the scene. Some of the prose Lee Burke writes are often stunning and moving and contribute to the overall quality of the work.
Between Robicheaux and Purcell there is a wonderful bond of loyalty and friendship that has lasted throughout the series of novels, both characters have their failings which each recognises and accepts. A little more of Helen Soileau, the Sheriff, comes to light in this novel. Her softness towards Robicheaux is touching and despite her orientation there is a sense of romance in the relationship.
Unlike other Robicheaux novels the bad guys are credible individuals, people that one might meet socially and it is this aspect that highlights the craft Lee Burke has used.
I found the book difficult to put down and I recommend it highly to initiates and newcomers, it is an excellent read.
Mike Alexander, Leeds.