James Lee Burke (2013) Light of the World
Posted by celticman on Thu, 09 Jan 2014
I’ve read a few of Burke’s books. He’s a bit like Stephen King, so prolific, it’s difficult to keep up with him. I could tell you which ones I’ve read, and what happens. I know there were some bad guys that needed sorting and there’s a yearning, a wisful longing, in Burke’s books for a better world. In his narratives good triumphs over evil. That’s a given and allowed me to read only the first 150 pages of this and the last 100 pages. The Light of the World, is, of course Jesus, but since he’s been kinda busy and his disciples needed a bit of freshing up, detective Dave Robicheaux does a walk on part to fill people in. He’s firecracker flawed and got his own demons to deal with. He’s an alcoholic, with that bottle of Jacks always a fingertips away. That’s too much like the last temptation. His bosum- budddy from the Bayou, Clete, does all the drinking, eating and womanising for him . Taken together they are like an unmarried couple that never get old. Here Clete gets hooked up with Felcity Louviere and with a name like that you know she’s going to be good enough to eat. The trouble with Clete’s woman is they’re all too beautiful for their own good and are trouble with a capital Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Felicity’s married to some jerk, Caspian Younger whose father (Senoir) owns half the world or something like that. He’s a bad old boy, but pretty good at it. Junior wants in on the action and if that means feeding a half-sister to a serial killer, Asa Surrette, that he’s sprung from jail for that paricular purpose then somebody’s got to do the right thing. Before you get any idea that it’s too one sided, with the baddies having all the good guys, including the local sherrif in their pocket then think again. Clete did a bit of siring himself. His daughter Gretchen, from way back, was so abused she ended up working as a hitgirl for the mob, but decided to give it up and make films about fracking and the rape of the earth. But nobody in America ever hangs up their gun long; it’s a constituional right. Alafair, Dave’s adpoted daughter, is of the same breed, but also a successful novelist, who writes morning, noon and night, and sometimes in between. God knows where Dangerous Dave got such a character from, especially since his wife, Molly, is the only one not totting a gun, but, even in the Bayou, nuns, or former nuns, don’t legally need to shoot anybody. Alafair, also has previous with Surrette and when somebody tries to nip her nose off with an arrow in the first page, you know the feathers are going to fly. The problem is Mr. Wyatt Dixon is so polite about it he must be a suspect. A bit of background digging and Dave finds out he’s so nuttty that prison gave up beating on him and sent him to psychiatric care, but psychiatric care found dealing with him so traumatic they elected to send him back to prison but couldn’t , so did the next best thing, and sent him home. Care in the community, American style, is a bit like ours but with guns and stetsons. Dixon is the joker in the pack, beholden to no man and will bend his knee only to God. He also speaks Aramaic, but that’s only when he has one of his fits and speaks in tongues. Dixon, however, has a secret. Caspian Senoir is his pappa. Everything ends in a vale of tears and, if not, it’s blood , snot and souls. That’s just the way of a gun-rooting-tooting world. The mighty are humbled and the poor man, well, there’s always that bottle of Jacks.