Synopses & Reviews
Critically acclaimed and bestselling crime writer James Lee Burke returns to Louisiana where his ever-popular hero, Dave Robicheaux, sleuths his way through a hotbed of sin and uncertainty.
For Dave Robicheaux, life in Louisiana is filled with haunting memories of the past images from Vietnam, the violent streets of New Orleans, and his own troubled youth. In Crusader's Cross, a deathbed confession from an old schoolmate resurrects a story of injustice, the murder of a young woman, and a time in Robicheaux's life he has tried to forget.
Her name may or may not have been Ida Durbin. It was back in the innocent days of the 1950s when Robicheaux and his brother, Jimmie, met her on a Galveston beach. She was pretty and Jimmie fell for her hard not knowing she was a prostitute on infamous Post Office Street, with ties to the mob. Then Ida was abducted and never seen again.
Now, decades later, Robicheaux is asking questions about Ida Durbin, and a couple of redneck deputy sheriffs make it clear that asking questions is a dangerous game. With a series of horrifying murders and the sudden appearance of Valentine Chalons and his sister, Honoria, a disturbed and deeply alluring woman, Robicheaux is soon involved not only with the Chalons family but with the murderous energies of the New Orleans underworld. Also, he meets and finds himself drawn into a scandalous relationship with a remarkable Catholic nun.
Brilliant, brooding, and filled with the author's signature lyricism, Jim Burke's latest novel is a darkly suspenseful work of literature.
"Superb writing and a throbbing pace lift two-time Edgar-winner Burke's powerful, many-layered 14th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2003's Last Car to Elysian Fields
), which involves venal and arrogant members of a wealthy family that can trace its lineage to fifth-century France as well as the machinations of the New Orleans mafia. A conversation between Robicheaux and a dying childhood friend about Ida Durbin, a young prostitute that Robicheaux's half-brother, Jimmie, loved and lost in the late 1950s, sets the ex-homicide detective on a path that eventually leads to several gruesome killings and his near downfall. Unemployed, his wife dead, his daughter in college, Robicheaux rejoins the New Iberia, La., sheriff's department at the urging of Sheriff Helen Soileau, who needs an extra hand as the murders mount. While the tendrils of the sometimes rambling plot unfold, Robicheaux and his impulsive former police partner, PI Clete Purcell, seek retribution for injustices caused by a wide range of corrupt villains. Burke masterfully combines landscape and memory in a violent, complex story peopled by sharply defined characters who inhabit a lush, sensual, almost mythological world. Agent, Philip G. Spitzer. (July 12)
" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
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"Burke's remarkable lyricism hits its most plaintive notes when he re-creates lost moments from the past....Surprise lurking in the crevices of a recurring pattern: that's nature at its most beautiful, and Burke at his most eloquent." Booklist (Starred Review)
"The story is a little crowded, but Burke's well-drawn characters and evocative writing more than compensate. Another winner from a master writer." Library Journal
"Readers who love beautiful prose do not always enjoy violence, and those who relish violence may grow impatient with Burke's poetry. But if you believe, as he does, that beauty and horror go hand in hand in this life, he can touch you in ways few writers can." The Washington Post
"Speaking in their weird and wonderful tongues, [Burke's] characters add their voices to a regional story that takes its collective identity from the sum of their lives." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"James Lee Burke's novels are irresistible....It is, of course, a combination of things. It's his evocation of a place rural Louisiana that is distinctly spooky and odd and completely corrupt. It's the sense that history weighs on Dave Robicheaux, his protagonist, ready to crush him. It's the fact that Burke continues the only genre of literature unique to America the tough-guy novel, invented by Dashiell Hammett and perfected by Raymond Chandler....It's also because he's not afraid to write beautifully about awful things." David Granger, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
Tough, former New Orleans cop Dave Robicheaux is back in perhaps his strongest and most exciting thriller. On a visit to a dying cop whom he once hated, Robicheaux is led towards the solution of the disappearance of a young woman he and his brother once knew--and family secrets he must confront and resolve.
About the Author
James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards
, is the author of twenty-three previous novels, including such New York Times
bestsellers as Bitterroot
, Purple Cane Road
, Cimarron Rose
, Jolie Blon's Bounce
, and Dixie City Jam
. He lives in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana.