Katrina's floodwaters have receded, and Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel have gone to western Montana for an extended fishing trip. No surprise, except perhaps to them, that they find themselves both fishermen and bait.

The murder of two college students near their host's property lures Dave and Clete, who soon find themselves threatened by the henchman of an old enemy who was killed in a plane crash at the end of the pair's last trip to Montana, chronicled in Black Cherry Blues (1989). When it seems that the young lovers' murders are linked to a wealthy family, the Wellstones, who have ties to Galveston and New Orleans, Dave is hooked.

Meanwhile, an Iraq war veteran turned private prison guard named Troyce Nix is on the trail of an inmate who stabbed him and escaped. His target, Jimmy Dale Greenwood, once sang with the wife of one of the Wellstone brothers, and fathered her child before being wrongfully imprisoned. Now, Greenwood is determined to take her away. But Nix is nearly as nasty as the Wellstones, and it seems clear that neither singer will ever be free - unless Dave and Clete can figure out the connections in time.

Swan Peak is James Lee Burke's 17th Dave Robicheaux novel. In the series, the Pulitzer nominee and two-time Edgar winner creates a world that is frightening yet comforting in its familiarity, unnerving yet satisfying, because while justice is not always obtained, it is sought unswervingly and fought for passionately.

Swan Peak is the story of old loves, old grudges and old crimes resurfacing. It is also a story of choosing redemption. Series fans may miss the bayou, but they'll be glad they took the trip west with Dave and Clete.

Leslie Budewitz lives and writes at the foot of the Swan Mountains in Montana.

 

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