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Sunset Limited

by James Lee Burke

Publishers Weekly After stepping into stand-alone territory with Cimmaron Rose (1997), Burke choreographs a masterful return to the lush and brooding world of volatile New Iberia Sheriff's Deputy Dave Robicheaux (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996). This tale's strength lies in breathtaking, moody descriptive passages and incisive vignettes that set time, place and character. Burke's major themes, that the past is key to the present and that money buys power, pervade this mystery. The narrative, with more twists and bounces than a fish fighting a hook, rises from the violent, unsolved murder 40 years ago of union organizer Jack Flynn. The story encompasses at least eight disparate but interlocking subplots: the crooked money behind a movie directed by Flynn's son Cisco; the hold that ex-con Swede Boxleiter has on Cisco's photojournalist sister, Megan; Willie "Cool Breeze" Broussard's theft of a mob warehouse; his wife Ida's suicide 20 years ago; the shooting of two white brothers who raped a black woman; alcoholic Lisa Terrebonne's haunted childhood; her wealthy, arrogant father's ties to Harpo Scruggs, a vicious murderer; the post-Civil War killing by freed slaves of a Terrebonne servant. Hired assassins, snitches, lawmen and FBI agents weave through the novel. Dave and his partner Detective Helen Soileau find the connections, but Dave knows that in the ongoing class war, the worst criminals wield too much influence to pay for their crimes. In rich, dense prose, Burke conjures up bizarre, believable characters who inhabit vivid, spellbinding scenes in a multifaceted, engrossing plot. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Burke switches publishers and moves from straightforward mystery in this story of the 40-year-old murder of a prominent labor leader, a case being reopened by his daughter.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux is back, as polite as ever, after sitting out Burke's Cimarron Rose (LJ 6/15/97). Accompanying Dave is his buddy Clete and a marvelous cast of charactersÄdowntrodden Cool Breeze Broussard, tortured Lila Terrebonne, slimy Harpo Scruggs, and photojournalist Megan Flynn, whose father, a labor organizer, was crucified on a barn wall 40 years ago. When Megan, still haunted by her father's unsolved murder, returns to New Iberia, she sets in motion a series of events that draws Dave into the dark, twisting relationships of these tortured characters, who are intertwined in a plot too convoluted to summarize but that bears all the hallmarks of a Burke mysteryÄbloody racial sins from the past mixed with violent, inbred kinships that haunt the present. Once again, with strong and graceful prose, Burke presents a tale as dark and rich as a cup of chicory coffee. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/98.]ÄRebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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