by Sukey HowardOctober, 2000
On the road to murder
Purple Cane Road, set in the sultry, shimmering heat of the southern Louisiana bayou country, is James Lee Burke's absorbing, evocative addition to his best-selling Dave Robicheaux series. Abruptly confronted with information about his mother's unseemly death more than 30 years ago, Dave finds the crimes of the past mingling with the crimes of the present. Thinking about his mother, who left him as a child, opens old wounds and makes his current investigations all the more critical. It's just possible that the men who killed her are still around, worse yet, still on the police force and still brutal, corrupt, and capable of murder. And it's possible that Dave's probing of the past, and the present, has put him in their line of fire. When Burke is good and he's better than good here he's up there with the best writers of crime fiction, and when Will Patton reads in perfect Cajun cadences, the combo and the audio is outstanding.