A Stained White Radiance

I’ve read one James Lee Burke novel per year for the last four years. I’m planning on reading a few more this year because I have the next three stacked up in a pile in paperback form (his early stuff was not on the Kindle the last time I checked). They’re going to be easy to grab and blast through. I love Burke’s writing and his main character is great fun.


At a certain point, I thought that the main character, Dave Robicheaux, had achieved a little bit of stability. But in the last few pages, he announces that he’s taking an indefinite leave from the New Iberia (Louisiana) sheriff’s office. We were so close to getting through a whole book without him leaving some law enforcement agency (reference my comments on his last book).

Once again, I’m joking. Burke sticks to the formula and I like it. Robicheaux gets embroiled in another sordid affair with some thugs who come dangerously close to hurting his family. His adopted daughter is growing up and he’s remarried to a childhood sweetheart, who has some sort of disease. The bait shop is thriving and he has a few emotional moments with Batist, the guy who runs the shop. I kind of wish Batist figured into things a little more, I have a feeling he will in the future.

In my take on the last book, I quoted an awesome description of some of the demons inside Robicheaux. I’ll continue that trend. Early on Robicheaux has this thought about a potential victim:

I wanted to write it all off and leave Weldon to his false pride and private army of demons, whatever they were, and not spend time trying to help somebody who didn’t want any interference in his life. But if other people had had the same attitude toward me, I had to remind myself, I would be dead, in a mental institution, or putting together enough change and crumpled one-dollar bills in a sunrise bar to buy a double shot of Beam, with a frosted schooner of Jax on the side, in the vain hope that somehow that  shuddering rush of heat and amber light through my body would finally cook into ashes every snake and centipede writhing inside me. (Page 17, paperback version)

The guy has demons for sure but did not drink at all this book. He attended a couple of AA meetings and seems to have things under control. Great stuff once again. The next one is queued up. I’ll do better than one Burke this year for sure.