Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Jeanne Reviews: Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo

Jeanne of the BPL is back today with another treadmill books Guest Post. Yea! This one came out last summer and the next one in the series drops on March 26, 2019.

Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo

Large Print Paperback

Alberta Scaglione is a feisty Italian grandmother whose life has had its share of hard knocks.  Then, a miracle:  her spinster aunt dies and leaves her a fortune and a lovely house overlooking a lake.  Alberta moves in and is enjoying the good life—until she finds a body in the lake.  And it’s not just any body—it belongs to Lucy Agnostino, who tormented Alberta all through school and who, given a choice, would probably have wanted to be murdered on Alberta’s lake just for spite.

But was it murder or an accidental drowning? Alberta is convinced it was the latter, because Lucy is dressed in a navy blue suit, a color she wouldn’t –well, be caught dead in.

I was quite taken with the book at the start.  It is very funny, and I liked the idea of a multigenerational cozy.  Alberta’s granddaughter, Jinx is a young reporter with a local paper who wants to get to know her grandmother.  Alberta and her daughter, Jinx’s mother, became estranged years ago and Jinx grew up far from the rest of the family.  The investigative quartet is rounded out with Alberta’s sister, Helen, a former nun with little patience for foolishness, and Joyce, a sister in law who retired from investment banking with a lot of money and a yen to become a painter.

The book is very Italian, with multiple characters spouting Italian proverbs, much Italian food, quite a bit of Italian attitude.  It was a refreshing change from the everyman sort of cozies I’ve been reading, where the stories are often set in Anytown, USA.  One running gag has Jinx trying to update the family’s traditional and beloved dishes with healthy alternatives, with little success.  After tasting a risotto made with couscous, Aunt Helen says it “tastes like the Eucharist without any of the hope.”  (Later, Helen complains about what Jinx is wearing to a funeral home.  Alberta says that God must like fancy, because to look at some of the priests’ robes it’s as if Liberace was leading mass.  “If only Jesus could just pack a house like Liberace used to do,” replies Helen.)

It was also a lot of fun to have mostly older main characters who are lively, interesting, and determined.  They also drink a lot of flavored vodka.

I’ll admit to a little bit of disappointment after the opening pages.  I was looking forward to a strong contrast between a young woman and an older one, but at times I found Alberta behaving more like the stereotypical young cozy heroine than the older, savvier lady she seemed at first. That role is taken over by Helen, who may be my favorite character.  Joyce is no slouch, either. I laughed a lot while reading this.

My only other nitpick was that at times the author worked too hard to come up with synonyms for “said.”  People comment, lecture, question, theorize, state, disclose, translate—well, you get the idea. It wasn’t all through the book, just a few passages.

If you like cozies, this is a very promising new series. I’m certainly looking forward to the next in the Ferrara Family Mysteries,  Murder in Tranquility Park.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lesa's Book Critiques: Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Lesa's Book Critiques: Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Review: Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein


Death of A Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein begins in early August in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl is centered in Oklahoma where farmers are literally losing their land in every breath and gust of wind. The soil is being stripped away as is the livelihoods of the farmers and everyone who relies on them in the small community Vermillion, Oklahoma. The small county seat of Jackson County is a desperate place full of desperate people which is why they have paid a lot of money to a stranger who claims he can and will make it rain.

After 240 days without rain the locals are gathering out in a dry and baked field a little ways outside of town to see Roland Combs at work. Based on his experiences during the recent war years, he is going to fire TNT up into the skies. He promises that the explosions will bring rain. Despite the firing of twenty mortars into the cloudless heavens triggering numerous concussive blasts, no rain appears to wash away the new grit and dirt that coats all who were out gathered to see the Rainmaker at work. Though the first evening nothing happens, Roland Combs promises to keep blasting the skies every evening for the next three weeks to make it rain.

That was his plan. It didn’t happen because before the next night fell he was very much dead. He did not drown in a flood. Instead, somebody whacked him over the head and took the opportunity of a massive dust storm to make sure the deed was done and to get away.

With the Rainmaker dead, Sheriff Temple Walker has yet another problem. Not only is he up for reelection, but many people are suffering foreclosure and Sheriff Walker has to be at hand to enforce the peace at such events. He hates having to do that, but the law gives him no choice. While he is only doing his job and a few do understand that, the idea that he is helping the bank take their property does not sit well with anyone. Then there is the ongoing grief that he and his wife, Etha, feel over the loss of their young son.

For Etha the sight of a young teenager, Carmine DiNapoli, who looks so much like her son, Jack, is almost unbearable. If he had lived, he would look much like Carmine does. Carmine is arrested for murder she can’t believe it. Having spent some time around him, Etha knows in her heart he did not do it and sets about trying to prove his innocence. Doing so first causes a strain on the marriage and then begins to spread outwards as she stirs up additional dark secrets and makes Walker’s election a more distant possibility.

The truth sets some free and condemns others in this highly atmospheric mystery. Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery is complex in terms of multiple mysteries and deeply nuanced in terms of characters and setting. It quickly pulls the reader deeply into the story that also does a little history teaching along the way. Even for this reader who rarely reads a historical mystery, Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein is very good. I am eagerly waiting the next installment of the series and that can’t be published soon enough.

While I rarely read historical mysteries, I enjoyed this one and put a library hold on it simply because Lesa Holstine reviewed it. That review from last October can be read here. Lesa’s interview with the author, also from last October, can be read here. You should read both pieces and follow her blog if you are not already doing so.


Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery
Laurie Loewenstein
Kaylie Jones Books
October 2018
ISBN#978-1-61775-679-5
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
320 Pages
$37.95


Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 2/18/19

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 2/18/19

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: THE DOCTOR'S WIFE by Michael Ava...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: THE DOCTOR'S WIFE by Michael Ava...: In my reading lifetime, I'm sure I have read well over a thousand books. Maybe close to two thousand. Hell, counting comic books and ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

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Do Some Damage: Please welcome guest contributor Beau Johnson.In l...

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Lesa's Book Critiques: That Old Scoundrel Death by Bill Crider

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TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar February 1...

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Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/18/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/18/19

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Nighttown by Timothy Hallinan


Nighttown by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime, 2018) is the latest in the adventures of Junior Bender, an enchanting burglar in Los Angeles. He would truly like not to be on the wrong side of the law but theft is so much more lucrative, not to mention fun, than a regular job. What is he to do?


In this particular caper he’s offered a ridiculously large sum of money to steal an old doll from an empty house that is due to be razed any day. The offer comes from a badly disguised woman in an orange wig in a McDonald’s who goes to the trouble of hiring three child actors to pose as her children for the short trip into the restaurant. He knows something is deeply wrong with the set-up. Normally he would run, not walk, away from it, but he is desperate to raise enough money to kidnap his girlfriend’s son from her controlling ex-husband. Good help doesn’t come cheap.


He takes extra care to case the empty house and learns that someone else has been hired to steal the doll or whatever is hidden in it. The second burglar ends up dead; knowing it could have just as easily been him, Junior is more motivated than ever to learn the identity of the originator of the strange request and why he or she is interested enough in the doll to pay so much for it.


As usual in this series, the characters teeter on the fine line between droll and terrifying. In Junior’s line of work he encounters a lot of folks most of us would not run into, nor would we want to. The last occupant of the empty house, the Marfan sufferer who keeps stuffed cats in her house, the aging and ill crime boss who finds new zest in life after he takes out one of his competitors, hair-raising but sad, every one of them. I wanted to laugh at them but I was too afraid of them to do so. I particularly liked the hitwoman Junior hires to protect his ex-wife and daughter after he receives death threats. The part where the hitwoman joins the ex-wife, the daughter, and her friends for a sleepover complete with a rousing game of charades is as delightful as it is unexpected.


Not surprisingly, Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review. If you are not acquainted with Junior, this is a good place to begin.


·         Hardcover: 384 pages
·         Publisher: Soho Crime (November 6, 2018)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1616957484
·         ISBN-13: 978-1616957483


Aubrey Hamilton ©2019

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Words & Music: Bill Crider: An Appreciation by Don Coffin

Words & Music: Bill Crider: An Appreciation by Don Coffin

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Strange Case of Harriet Hall (1936) by Moray D...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Strange Case of Harriet Hall (1936) by Moray D...: Katherine M. Renoir is the author of twenty-nine detective novels, published as by " Moray Dalton ," which Curt Evans describe...

RTE Update: February 16 Issue of RTE


The February 16 2019 issue of RTE is out and includes fifteen new reviews. as well as an interview with Olga Wojtas.

http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com                    

Our guest in the "Sixty Seconds spot this week is Olga Wojtas:


            
                            
REVIEWS THIS WEEK:


MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER  Oyinkan Braithwaite    Reviewed by Yvonne 
Klein

THE  SILENT PATIENT    Alex  Michaelides     Reviewed by Katie Voss

THE LOST MAN    Jane Harper    Reviewed by Barbara Fister

A MATTER OF MALICE    Thomas King    Reviewed by Susan Hoover

THE WINTER SISTER    Megan Collins     Reviewed by Phyllis Onstad

HER ONE MISTAKE    Heidi Perks    Reviewed by Meg Westley

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW      A.J. Finn    Reviewed by Sharon Mensing

AMERICAN HEROIN    Melissa Scrivner Love    Reviewed by Susan Hoover

LIVES LAID AWAY    Stephen Mack Jones                Reviewed by Barbara Fister

CARELESS LOVE      Peter Robinson    Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

THE DEATH OF MY AUNT       Richard Hull    Reviewed by Rik Shepherd

THE BLACK ASCOT      Charles Todd            Reviewed by PJ Coldren

HEADLONG    Cynthia Harrod-Eagles    Reviewed by Jim Napier

THE HUNTING PARTY      Lucy Foley     Reviewed by Meredith Frazier

THE ALCHEMIST'S ILLUSION       Gigi Pandian    Reviewed by PJ Coldren

We post more than 900 new reviews a year -- all of them are archived on the site -- as well as a new interview with a top author every issue.


Yvonne Klein

Lesa's Book Critiques: Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice

Lesa's Book Critiques: Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The UTD Walk

Each week after Scott comes from his class to Green Hall (where I sit when I can’t sit outside at the Patio) we come out the backside of the building and make this walk headed to the Student Union. While the library is off to the left of the plaza, the Student Union is over to the right. That is where all the food places are as well as the steps up the side of the Student Union building for those far more mobile than I am. Next to those steps to the right (you can’t see them in this picture) are numerous risers where students congregate to eat, talk, scream at somebody they know hundreds of feet away, and get blasted by music when the speakers are set up.



Each evening on campus we make this walk in the semi dark with plenty of company on foot, bikes, and skateboards. In three weeks when Daylight Savings Time starts up again, this walk should be in the light though it will not be anywhere near as bright as in this picture posted by UTD on twitter last night.


While sitting in Green Hall is nice as they have eight sort of recliners there, I much prefer sitting outside at the Patio outside the Pub when the weather is better. Especially now that the smoking ban on campus is actually being enforced. The open area has overhead lights for after dark and a number of large metal tables with plenty of chairs. Getting outside  has always been a much needed part of my self-care since I was a child and though I can’t go walk/hike or visit a state park these days, sitting outside at UTD does help. It also gets me away from loud groups of congregated young adults that clearly are having way more fun at their age than I ever did at any time in my life.


My preferred table is in the right corner just off the edge where I can put my back to a large planter area and contemplate whatever I am reading as well as the interesting smorgasbord of humanity as it flows by. In fact, if you look closely in the far right you can see some of our stuff from a couple of years ago when we were out there and Scott took this picture. 



Up Around The Corner: Gryphonwood Press has 8 of my Books on Sale

Up Around The Corner: Gryphonwood Press has 8 of my Books on Sale

Jungle Red Writers: What We Have Written Week: HID FROM OUR EYES

Jungle Red Writers: What We Have Written Week: HID FROM OUR EYES: JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING : My last novel, THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS , was published in November, 2013. In the five years since then, I've de...

Mystery Fanfare: PRESIDENTIAL CRIME FICTION: Presidents Day

Mystery Fanfare: PRESIDENTIAL CRIME FICTION: Presidents Day: Today is Presidents Day . I usually post my Presidential Crime Fiction list with "Hail to the Chief!" in the subject line....

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and Isolated Village Mysteries

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and Isolated Village Mysteries

Crime Watch: Review: THE HUNTING PARTY

Crime Watch: Review: THE HUNTING PARTY: THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins, 2019) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson During the languid days of the Christmas break, a gr...

KRL This Week Update for 2/16/19

Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Bones Behind the Wheel" by E.j. Copperman

We also have a review and giveaway of "The Lost Traveller" by Sheila Connolly

And a review and giveaway of "Do No Harm" by Dawn Eastman along with an interesting interview with Dawn

Also a review and ebook giveaway of "Killer Eyeshadow and a Cold Expresso" by Traci Andrighetti along with a fun guest post by Traci about the series

We also have a review of the latest Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie, "Emma Fielding More Bitter Than Death" based on the books by Dana Cameron

Up in KRL News and Reviews we have a review and giveaway of "Murder Likes it Hot" by Tracy Weber

And a review and giveaway of "Murder at the Palace" by Margaret Dumas published by Henery Press


And for those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery, we have a review and giveaway of "The Spectral City" by Leanna Renee Hieber


Happy reading,
Lorie

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkin...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkin...: Reviewed by Christy             Evelyn Hugo, born Evelyn Herrera, is a star of the highest order. Coming of age in the 1950s ...

Dietrich Kalteis: Off the Cuff with Terry Shames

Dietrich Kalteis: Off the Cuff with Terry Shames

Friday’s Forgotten Book: Foggy, Foggy Death by Richard and Frances Lockridge

Friday’s Forgotten Book: Foggy, Foggy Death by Richard and Frances Lockridge

Friday, February 15, 2019

The View From The Backyard

The front that was supposed to be through our area of NE Dallas by mid morning, was way behind which allowed us to be outside reading until late afternoon. I played with the cellphone camera a little bit as you can see below.













































Not sure you can see it, but we have green grass now and the trees are budding out.

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Glass Spear (1950) by S.H. Courtier

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Glass Spear (1950) by S.H. Courtier: During the early days of this blog, I posted an uncommonly short review of a fascinating, imaginative and anthropological mystery novel, ...

FFB Review: Still River: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery by Harry Hunsicker

Having just read the latest from Dallas author Harry Hunsicker, Texas Sicario, it seemed a good time to remind you of the first book in another series of his. So, for this Friday in February, I offer you my reminder review of STILL RIVER: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery. Make sure you check out the full list of reading suggestions over at Todd Mason's blog
Hardback


Lee Henry “Hank” Oswald is a private investigator who walks the mean streets of Dallas, Texas. It begins as a favor for a former fellow high school classmate in the form of Vera Drinkwater. Crying in his office, she tells Hank that her brother Charles (Charlie to one and all) Wesson (two years behind both Vera and Hank in school) is missing and has been for a little less than twenty-four hours. She knows something is wrong. Hank knows at this point, Charlie hasn’t been gone long enough to raise an eyebrow or anything else at the Dallas Police Department. The fact that he is a former addict, allegedly clean and sober now, won’t speed anyone to look for him as in all likelihood, he is off on a binge.

Paperback
Charlie had been a victim all through school both by bullies at school and a stepfather at home determined to make a man out of him one way or another. Hank has memories of those times as well as some guilt as he wasn’t in a position to really help but witnessed enough to have some idea of what Charlie endured. Those memories trigger his need to help and he agrees to make some calls and look for Charlie. It should have been easy enough. But, one thing life has taught him with a name like his in Dallas, nothing is easy and this certainly isn’t. Before long, it turns into a huge mess involving crooked real estate developers, urban renewal in the form of yet another Trinity River project, the Russian mafia, drugs, guns, and wayward relatives. Through it all, Hank keeps going as he digs through the muck of Dallas whether they are rich and famous or the nobodies on the wrong side of the river.


Author Harry Hunsicker’s portrayal of Dallas has absolutely nothing to do with the chamber of commerce ads for the city. This is a hard-edged noirish style Dallas that serves as a backdrop for all sorts of things that no doubt happen on a routine basis and that no one ever talks about. While Still River stumbles at first in terms of clich├ęs, the book builds a steady momentum and before long carries the reader violently along for a very enjoyable read.






Still River: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery
Harry Hunsicker
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN # 0-312-33787-6
2005
Hardback (also now available in paperback and e-book)
277 pages


Kevin R. Tipple © 2005, 2012, 2019



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Today With The Tipples

Sandi loved Valentine's Day and it is a deal I always hated as I thought of it as a made up BS holiday. My hatred of it and her love of it became a thing each year as she tried to talk me into doing whatever she wanted to do. It was a sort of running joke, but I now realize that it probably upset her more than she ever let on.

I would give anything to be able to go back and fix that as, like many other deals she was into and I was not, this day has been hard. Far harder than last year and I can only conclude that here in year two the shock of her being gone has worn off quite a bit. It did not help that for some reason Cher's song about turning back time, another song she and I both liked though she liked way more, has been stuck in my head since I woke up with it this morning. 

Here in our part of Ne Dallas it was super warm today as we headed up towards 80 with winds out of the Southwest. Not only is that a warming wind here year around, it also signals something is headed this way. One knows this time of year to get outside while one can, as the break from cloudy skies and lower temps will be a short one.

Scott and I spent much of the afternoon outside with both of us reading. An enjoyable and quiet afternoon led into my decision to cook steaks and potatoes out on the grill this afternoon. Because it was so nice we ended up eating dinner outside.  

With a cold front on the way that is supposed to hit sometime tomorrow last I heard, I doubt we will be doing much more of this sort of thing anytime soon. It was nice while it lasted. Doing so got me outside and out of the prison of my own mind for a bit and that was/is a good thing.



The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 2/13/19

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 2/13/19

Crime Time : IN SEARCH OF MURDER – Roderic Jeffries

Crime Time : IN SEARCH OF MURDER – Roderic Jeffries: I’m pretty sure now that I’ve just read In Search of Murder , the thirty-seventh and final episode in the Inspector Alvarez series, that ...

The Thrill Begins: The Advocates: Janet Rudolph and J. Kingston Pierce

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Writer Beware: PUBLISHIZER: DO AUTHORS REALLY NEED A CROWDFUNDING LITERARY AGENCY?

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Beneath the Stains of Time: The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories (2018) by Gi...

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The Rap Sheet: Down & Out Still Up and Running

The Rap Sheet:  Down & Out Still Up and Running

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Lesa's Book Chat - The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Lesa's Book Chat - The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Gumshoe Review Update for February 2019

Gumshoe Review February 2019 Online at

US Book Reviews:
Murder at Hatteras (Outer Banks Murder #2) by Joe Ellis
Murder at the Mill (Iris Grey #1) by M.B. Shaw
The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah
Once a Liar by A.F. Brady
The President Is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton
This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan/Rockton) by Kelley Armstrong

Gayle
-- 
Gayle Surrette
Brandywine, MD 20613

Only days left to win books and more from KRL

Only days left to win a copy of "Death by Chocolate Mlikshake" by Sarah Graves and while there check out a fun chocolate related guest post by Sarah for Valentine's Day

And to win a copy of "Pruning the Dead" by Julia Henry and while there check out a fun Valentine's related guest post by Julia about plants

Also to win a copy of "The Gun Also Rises" by Sherry Harris and while there check out an interesting interview with Sherry

And to win copies of "A Tango Before Dying" and "Lily's Homecoming Under Fire" by Anna Celeste Burke

And to win a copy of "Eighth Witness" by Kathi Daley

Also to win a copy "Fashions Fade, Haunted is Eternal" by Rose Pressey

And to win a copy "Murder Wears A Little Black Dress" by Debra Sennefelder

Happy reading,
Lorie

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Kellerman, Wendelboe, O'Grey, Olmstead...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Kellerman, Wendelboe, O'Grey, Olmstead...: Reported by Ambrea  This week, Nevermore explored a new thriller by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman, titled A Measure of Darkness ....

The Rap Sheet: Tuesday Ragbag

The Rap Sheet: Tuesday Ragbag

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mystery Fanfare: SWEETHEART SLEUTHS for Valentine's Day

Mystery Fanfare: SWEETHEART SLEUTHS for Valentine's Day: A List of Sweetheart Sleuths for Valentine's Day!  I updated this list with 'couples' every year. I'm sure you have mo...

Review: The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke


As The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel begins, it has been 25 years since Dave Robicheaux last saw Desmond Cormier in New Orleans. Born of mixed race and in serious poverty, Cormier is a classic story of somebody who rose above his lot in life through hard work and sheer determination. He was a sidewalk artist when Robicheaux last saw him on a cold and gray January morning. Cormier told him he was headed to Hollywood and would be a film director.

He came back home twenty-five years later as an award nominated and award winning director and now lives part time in a house on stilts out at Cypremort Point. A known eccentric who does not fit the expectations of anyone, he gets in trouble and makes the news for his behavior and comments. On this particular August afternoon, Detective Dave Robicheaux and Deputy Sean McClain are at Cormier’s home because distant neighbors have called 9111 and reported hearing a woman screaming somewhere nearby. The officers who first came out earlier that morning found nothing, but Detective Robicheaux is checking again as far too many people reported the same thing for it to be nothing.

The tennis shoe, size 7, might be nothing or it might be proof that a woman had been on the beach at some point in the recent hours as the shoe is in fairly good condition. The location of the shoe means that the person wearing it was probably within yelling distance of Cormier’s house.

A visit to the house reveals Desmond Cormier is at home along with his friend,  Antoine Butterworth. Mr. Butterworth is a unique individual. One of those types that Robicheaux has met over the years and knows from the get go he should be dropped in a vat of bleach and left to dissolve and go away. An awkward conversation begins until Cormier suggests that Robicheaux should look through the telescope out at the bay.

Robicheaux does and sees a number of different things. That includes something that seems more a hallucination or a vision than anything grounded in substance. Yet, though Cormier and Butterworth deny seeing the body, Robicheaux is sure he saw a young, African American woman, wearing a purple dress, floating out there in the Bay while affixed to some sort of cross.

McClain sees her too and thinks the cross is stranded out on a sandbar. Just after 10:30 that night they find her by way of a department rescue boat and retrieve her from her watery fate. That body of the young woman is the first they recover, but it won’t be the last by far in The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke.

A James Lee Burke novel is always a complicated read full of mystery, history, and legacy. Such is the case here where numerous references to Robicheaux’s past especially in terms of being a widower twice, the past of Louisiana, the past of America, etc. are made again and again. Significant portions of the book are aimed at the ongoing and systematic degradation of our institutions by the current administration as well as the degradation of the environment of Louisiana caused by ongoing climate change and other factors that are destroying the wetlands and coastal areas of the state.  As a result, significant portions of the book are a lament of the present and an ode to decades ago that now seem to be far more simpler times.

At the heart of The New Iberia Blues, the cross and the deceased woman is the main mystery. Who killed the woman? Why was she affixed to the cross? Both questions take on highlighted urgency as additional bodies fall becuase a killer kills and kills again. The pressure of the case is ramped up considerably when both Robicheaux’s longtime friend and former police partner, Clete Purcell, as well as his daughter, Alafair, are drawn into the case by very different ways. One knows that it most likely will be settled by the Clete and Robicheaux doing what they do best regardless of the legalities. Sometimes you really do need to kill all the bad guys no matter the legalities of the matter.

The New Iberia Blues is the latest powerful and compelling novel by James Lee Burke. Those who prefer fast moving books that feature very little or no scenic descriptions are again advised to look elsewhere. Author James Lee Burke is well known for his ability to create detailed visual images of the environment around characters and does so splendidly again in this read. Those who argue that authors should ignore the corrosive effects of the current administration on politics and more should also avoid this book as the author pulls no punches and makes it clear what his characters think about our country today.

Those who like a very complicated mystery that is rich with detail will find much to like in The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke. It is a very reflective read that praises aspects of the past, confronts the future, and provides a mystery that defies easy answers or expectations. In short, it is a good one.  



The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster
January 2019
ISBN#978-1-5011-7687-6
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
464 Pages
$27.99


Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2019