Synopses & Reviews
James Lee Burke's eagerly awaited new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, Louisiana, and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered. While the crimes have all the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of Bernadette Latiolais, a high school honor student, doesn't fit: she is not the kind of hapless and marginalized victim psychopaths usually prey upon. Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, confront Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer whom both men despise. When Stanga turns up dead shortly after a fierce beating by Purcel, in front of numerous witnesses, the case takes a nasty turn, and Clete's career and life are hanging by threads over the abyss.
Adding to Robicheaux's troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, on leave from Stanford Law to put the finishing touches on her novel. Her literary pursuit has led her into the arms of Kermit Abelard, celebrated novelist and scion of a once prominent Louisiana family whose fortunes are slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana's subculture. Abelard's association with bestselling ex-convict author Robert Weingart, a man who uses and discards people like Kleenex, causes Robicheaux to fear that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. As his daughter seems to drift away from him, he wonders if he has become a victim of his own paranoia. But as usual, Robicheaux's instincts are proven correct and he finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.
Set against the backdrop of an Edenic paradise threatened by pernicious forces, James Lee Burke's The Glass Rainbow is already being hailed as perhaps the best novel in the Robicheaux series.
"Burke, whose sonorous cadences and obsession with the past have often recalled Faulkner, has never resembled the sage of Yoknapatawpha more closely than in this magnificent attempt to get it all down between one cap and one period." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"It takes an incredible writer to keep fresh an 18th novel featuring a character that refuses to change, but Burke does so with what may be one of the best in his Robicheaux series....Another beautifully crafted effort by a multi-Edgar Award winner, this is an outstanding addition to one of America's best mystery series. Burke fans will not be disappointed." Library Journal (starred review)
"Burke kicks into another gear: superb suspense leading to a gripping, set-piece finale that is a masterpiece of texture and mood, with the high energy climax in the foreground both contrasted against and supported by the intensely lyrical, heavily melancholic prose that swells and recedes underneath the action. Not to be missed by any follower of the landmark series." Booklist (starred review)
"A must-read for fans of the series....With The Glass Rainbow James Lee Burke has once again proven his talent for creating masterful, intricate mysteries that draw the reader in. The 18th book in the Dave Robicheaux series is a twisting, turning, suspense-filled thriller." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo take note....While there's no counterpart to Lisbeth Salander, a kid named Mr. Kiss-My-Ass makes a brief appearance, and Burke's writing is deeper, stranger and less sensationalistic than Stieg Larsson's." San Antonio Express-News
“MWA Grand Master Burke offers everything his readers expect--brilliant prose, prosaic situations that suddenly become mystic experiences, and a complex plot that repeatedly plumbs the depths of human depravity and the heights of nobility…”
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“James Lee Burke is a colorful writer… Pick any paragraph and you'll find descriptions of reds and blues and plums and obsidians piled on top of one another, giving his prose a Kodachrome vividness… the venerable author still writes with the same intensity, and moral avidity, that energizes his equally aged hero. And while there are plenty of villains for that hero to face — including, aptly, a Delta oil tycoon — Burke's finely developed understanding of the human race prevents anything from getting too black-and-white.”
“James Lee Burke knows his territory.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“In crafting his novels, James Lee Burke has been nothing if not consistent when it comes to quality. Or to characters and plot. His repeated battles of good versus evil in the humid crucible of southern Louisiana are expertly and stylishly rendered . . . "The Glass Rainbow" offers much that is familiar, from the brilliant lyrical wordscapes that capture bayou locations to the incomparably ruthless men and women of low or no conscience who wield power over others and threaten the way of life in Robicheaux's small corner of the world. The detective and his cohort Clete Purcell are as heroic, honorable and flawed as always. But for all that is familiar here, there are two unexpected plot elements, one of which has the potential for changing everything. . . . the suspense level is about as high as it gets in popular fiction.”—Los Angeles Times
“A novel as dark and brooding as a night deep in the bayou.”—The Miami Herald
“Fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
take note. Burke's latest Dave Robicheaux novel features a protagonist driven by moral certitude trying to find a killer targeting young women on society's margins and tangling with an old, wealthy family whose members act like they're above the law. It's also set in a foreign country with unusual customs and mannerisms - South Louisiana. While there's no counterpart to Lisbeth Salander, a kid named Mr. Kiss-My-Ass makes a brief appearance, and Burke's writing is deeper, stranger and less sensationalistic than Stieg Larsson's.”
—San Antonio Express-News
"A book-length war of nerves that accentuates the best of Mr. Perrys gift for using pure logic and gamesmanship to generate breathless nonstop suspense..."The Informant" is a marvel of tight, thoughtful construction."--Janet Maslin, New York Times Maybe youve heard of him. Named after the foster father (Eddie the Butcher) who taught him his trade, and introduced almost 30 years ago by Thomas Perry in "The Butchers Boy," this cold-blooded professional killer is one of the immortals of the genre. Michael Schaeffer, to give his antihero his current alias, seemed a bit mechanical when he briefly came out of retirement two decades ago in "Sleeping Dogs," but he makes a great comeback in THE INFORMANT (Otto Penzler/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27) - older wiser and deadlier. Perry has to exert himself to engineer a reunion between Schaeffer, who has surfaced from anonymity to defend himself from the mafia good squads that have taken a sudden interest in him, and Elizabeth Waring, a hyper-vigilant honcho with the Department of Justice whose fondest desire is to turn Schaeffer into a government informant. But once these uneasy civilities are attended to, the Butchers Boy is free to kill again, in his own distinctly cruel and inventive way. The fun thing about his professional methods is how low-tech they are. Thats poetic justice for a target like Frank Tosca, an old-school underboss who has called an extraordinary meeting in Arizona to convince the fractious leaders of the big crime families that he can revitalize the mafia and lead it into a new golden age. While everyone is on high alert for marauders brandishing advanced weapons of war, the Butchers Boy quietly sneaks into Toscas cabin and slits his throat with a hunting knife he picked up at a sporting-goods store. Perrys immaculate style - clean, polished, uncluttered by messy emotions - suits the Butchers Boy, who executes his kills with the same cool, dispassionate skill. But this time theres something almost human about his awareness of the limitations imposed by his aging body. Luckily, one of the lessons he learned from Eddie is that "killing was mostly a mental business. It required thinking clearly, not quickly." And his mind is still sharp enough to devise the kind of ingenious logistical traps a young computer gamer could only dream of.--Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review. "Edgar-winner Perry's excellent third Butcher's Boy novel (after Sleeping Dogs) pits the Butcher's Boy (aka Michael Schaeffer), an impeccably effective hit man, against his old nemesis, Elizabeth Waring, an impeccably honest Justice Department official. Though Waring's boss, arrogant political appointee Dale Hunsecker, tries to hamstring her, Waring wants to bolster her 20-year pursuit of Mafia bosses by turning the Butcher's Boy into America's most important informant. Waring soon enters into an intricate pas de deux with a man who considers death a buy-sell commodity. Meanwhile, this icy yet strangely appealing killer, who reads Waring as well as she reads him, methodically murders capo after capo and their "made men" across the country, the only way he can safely return to his quiet retirement in England with his beloved wife, Meg. Perry offers a compelling, rapid-fire plot, credible Mafia and FBI secondary characters, an indictment of self-serving officialdom, and the old soul-shattering moral dilemma: what is truth? (May)" --Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
"Twenty years after a trio of lowlifes forced him out of retirement (Sleeping Dogs
, 1992, etc.), the Butchers Boy is back.
When youre a professional killer who works freelance, your employers are likely to include a large number of nasty guys. So its not clear to Perrys nameless hero, who started calling himself Michael Schaeffer when he moved to England and settled in Bath as the husband of Lady Margaret Holroyd, which of his former associates sent the three men who inadvertently flushed him out of hiding and then tried to kill him. He has no trouble tracing the three to midlevel New York capo Michael Delamina, whom he kills on page two. In order to identify Delaminas boss, however, he has to consult his old nemesis, Elizabeth Waring of the Justice Department. Taking a leaf from Hannibal Lecters playbook, he urges her, "Tell me, and Ill tell you something." When Elizabeth fingers rising under-boss Frank Tosca as Schaeffers next target, he gives her some juicy information on an old Tosca murder in return. But although "he had never failed to accomplish his goal when all it entailed was killing someone," her news comes too late to help. By the time Schaeffer kills Tosca, the ambitious under-boss has convened a sit-down in which his counterparts from across the country have agreed to join his vendetta against the Butchers Boy—a goal Toscas death only makes them more eager to pursue. For her part, Elizabeth is so determined to bring Schaeffer into the Witness Protection Program as the ultimate informant that shes willing offer him a series of unauthorized deals, which of course he spurns. Schaeffer is squeezed between two collective adversaries with virtually unlimited personnel and resources. On the other hand, only Schaeffer is the Butchers Boy. Beneath the sky-high body count, the twisty plot is powered by Perrys relentless focus on the question of where the next threat is coming from and how to survive it." --Kirkus, STARRED review "I've said elsewhere that Thomas Perry's novels -- the best ones -- are a master class in thriller writing. "The Informant" should be the newest addition to that syllabus, read for devouring first, and analysis thereafter."--Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times
Detective Dave Robicheaux returns to New Iberia to solve a series of grisly murders, in this latest installment by a two-time Edgar Award-winning author and Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America.
Married and living in England under the name Michael Schaeffer, the assassin known as the Butcher's Boy is the target of a Mafia hit team sent to exact revenge for his deadly campaign against the Balacontano family years earlier. Schaeffer kills all three attackers, but knows more will come, and needs to find whoever sent them to end it once and for all.
Soon Elizabeth Waring, now high up in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department, receives a surprise late-night visit from the Butchers Boy. Knowing she keeps track of the Mafia, he asks her who the three men work for. Not knowing they have been murdered, she gives him a name: Frank Tosca, an aspirant to the Balacontano throne. In exchange, he tells her about a murder Tosca committed over twenty years ago. So begins a new assault on organized crime, and the uneasy alliance between The Butchers Boy and Waring, who trade current information for old secrets.
As the Butcher's Boy works his way ever closer to his quarry in an effort to protect his new way of life, Waring finds herself in a race against time, either to convince him to become a protected informant--or to take him out of commission for good.
In Thomas Perrys Edgar-winning debut The Butchers Boy
, a professional killer betrayed by the Mafia leaves countless mobsters dead and then disappears. Justice Department official Elizabeth Waring is the only one who believes he ever existed. Many years later, the Butchers Boy finds his peaceful life threatened when a Mafia hit team finally catches up with him. He knows they wont stop coming and decides to take the fight to their door.
Soon Waring, now high up in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department, receives a surprise latenight visit from the Butchers Boy. Knowing she keeps track of the Mafia, he asks her whom his attackers worked for, offering information that will help her crack an unsolved murder in return. So begins a new assault on organized crime and an uneasy alliance between opposite sides of the law. As the Butchers Boy works his way ever closer to his quarry in an effort to protect his new way of life, Waring is in a race against time, either to convince him to become a protected informant—or to take him out of commission for good.
The Butcher's Boy is back! Thomas Perry's vengeful assassin has returned to play a deadly psychological game with Elizabeth Waring, the only Justice Department official who ever believed he existed. Can these two from opposite sides of the law come together to take on the mafia?
About the Author
James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of twenty-eight previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as Swan Peak, Tin Roof Blowdown, Last Car to Elysian Fields, and Crusader's Cross. He lives in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana.