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The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel    by James Lee Burke order for
Glass Rainbow
by James Lee Burke
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

As this eighteenth episode in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series opens, the Detective is back in Louisiana working for the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department. His adopted daughter Alafair is home also, taking time off from Stanford law school to work on a novel (in real life, Burke's daughter Alafair is also a lawyer and published author) Dave's wife Molly is a calm and loving presence while his best friend Clete Purcell, 'the libidinous trickster of folklore', continues to storm into trouble at every opportunity.

The story opens in Natchez, where Robicheaux interviews a convict, Elmore Latiolais, whose sister was one of seven young girls killed since 2005 in Jeff Davis Parish (Clete alerted his friend to the case). Elmore claims that a pimp named Herman Stanga was behind the deaths. Unfortunately Clete goes after Stanga hard and faces a charge of felony assault. Robicheaux is also unhappy about Alf's relationship with Kermit Abelard - whose wealthy family has had a dark history - and even more concerned by Kermit's very close friendship with the 'pernicious and predatory' celebrity convict author Rob Weingart. Alafair is unhappy over Dave's interference in her life.

There are more deaths, including that of a 'Self-made investment tycoon' with ties to Kermit Abelard. Dave finds a link between Elmore's dead sister and both Weingart and Abelard. An ex-con associate of Weingart's threatens Alafair, and Clete comes under suspicion of murder. Convinced he's 'dealing with something that's genuinely evil', Dave Robicheaux tries to see through the murk surrounding the case, protect his daughter, and prevent Clete from digging himself in any deeper. On the latter, he muses, 'Did you ever conduct a conversation with a vacant lot?' He has strange sightings of an old paddle wheeler in the bayou, premonitions of disaster.

And when disaster strikes at Dave, his friend and family, it's with hurricane force. Still unsure of the outcome, Dave (and perhaps Burke himself) ponders, 'I never figured out any of the great mysteries: why the innocent suffer, why war and pestilence seem to be our lot, why evil men prosper and go unpunished while the poor and downtrodden are oppressed', while Clete calls out, 'The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide are forever.' Fans will certainly hope this to be the case, and must not miss the highly recommended Glass Rainbow.

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