Thursday, July 03, 2008

Jolie Blon’s Bounce, by James Lee Burke

Jolie Blon’s Bounce, by James Lee Burke

I only recently discovered Dave Robicheaux, but when I came across another novel starring him in the bargain bin I couldn’t resist. Jolie Blon’s Bounce is much later in the series than Black Cherry Blues; in the latter Robicheaux has just recently lost his wife and has a young daughter but here he has married again and his little girl is about to graduate high school. The jump didn’t hurt my enjoyment, though; the author does an excellent job of filling the important gaps and getting me up-to-date quickly.

I liked this installment more than I did the first one I read. There was a real mystery to solve here and a lot less angst and hand-wringing from the lead character. The resolution is a bit far fetched, but plot is almost secondary in a Robicheaux novel. The real reason to read Burke is for his rich descriptions: “The two gamblers looked like a Mutt and Jeff team. One was big, lantern-jawed, stolid, with coarse skin and knuckles the size of quarters, whereas his friend was sawed-off, porcine, with a stomach that hung down like a curtain of wet cement, his Jersey accent like a sliver of glass in the ear.” Coupled with his lush and reverent descriptions of the Louisiana bayou, reading this was a sultry pleasure.

First Sentence:
Growing up during the 1940s in New Iberia, down on the Gulf Coast, I never doubted how the world worked.

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