Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke is the second novel in his Dave Robicheaux series. I read the first book, The Neon Rain, back at the beginning of the summer. Robicheaux is cut from the same mold as Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. I definitely like the character, but he has his flaws.
In this story, Robicheaux has left the New Orleans police department. He moved back to his hometown, New Iberia, with his new wife Annie. Burke’s prose is a joy to read. The story line has some solid, suspenseful moments, but it does have some technical flaws. Like the first book, Burke does “embed” you in the story’s setting in southern Louisiana with his prose. You can almost feel it, hear it, and smell it.
The biggest weakness of this story is that Robicheaux’s motivations and actions stretch the bounds of believability. You find yourself asking why anyone with that much to lose would take the risks he takes. I expect to read more of the series, but this really could be a deal-breaker if it continues.
By James Lee Burke
EX-DETECTIVE DAVE ROBICHEAUX BECOMES CAUGHT UP IN A MYSTERIOUS CONSPIRACY AFTER HE RESCUES A CHILD FROM A PLANE CRASH IN THE GULF NEAR NEW ORLEANS, AND THE BODY OF ONE OF THE CRASH VICTIMS DISAPPEARS.
Vietnam vet Dave Robicheaux has turned in his detective’s badge, is winning his battle against booze, and has left New Orleans with his wife for the tranquil beauty of Louisiana’s bayous. But a plane crash on the Gulf brings a young girl into his life—and with her comes a netherworld of murder, deception, and homegrown crime. Suddenly Robicheaux is confronting Bubba Rocque, a brutal hood he’s known since childhood; Rocque’s hungry Cajun wife; and a Federal agent with more guts than sense. In a backwater world where a swagger and a gun go further than the law, Robicheaux and those he loves are caught on a tide of violence far bigger than them all…
Published July 8, 2010
322 pages (print)