Purple Cane Road: A Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)

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9780385488440: Purple Cane Road: A Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
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Dave Robicheaux has spent his life confronting the age-old adage that the sins of the father pass onto the son. But what has his mother's legacy left him? Dead to him since youth, Mae Guillory has been shuttered away in the deep recesses of Dave's mind. He's lived with the fact that he would never really know what happened to the woman who left him to the devices of his whiskey-driven father. But deep down, he still feels the loss of his mother and knows the infinite series of disappointments in her life could not have come to a good end.

While helping out an old friend, Dave is stunned when a pimp looks at him sideways and asks him if he is Mae Guillory's boy, the whore a bunch of cops murdered 30 years ago. The pimp goes on to insinuate that the cops who dumped her body in the bayou were on the take and continue to thrive in the New Orleans area.

Dave's search for his mother's killers leads him to the darker places in his past and solving this case teaches him what it means to be his mother's son. PURPLE CANE ROAD has the dimensions of a classic-passion, murder, and nearly heartbreaking poignancy-wrapped in a wonderfully executed plot that surpises from start to finish.

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Review:

In New Iberia, Louisiana, memories are long and dangerous, and the past and present are seldom easy to untangle. Homicide investigator Dave Robicheaux is trying to help Letty Labiche, a New Iberia girl on death row for killing the man who molested her and her sister as children, when chance brings him to Zipper Clum, a pimp and pornographer who recognizes Robicheaux secondhand through a 30-year haze:

"Robicheaux, your mama's name was Mae.... Wait, it was Guillory before she married. That was the name she went by ... Mae Guillory. But she was your mama," he said.

"What?" I said.

He wet his lips uncertainly.

"She dealt cards and still hooked a little bit. Behind a club in Lafourche Parish. This was maybe 1966 or '67," he said.

Clete's eyes were fixed on my face. "You're in a dangerous area, sperm breath," he said to Zipper.

"They held her down in a mud puddle. They drowned her," Zipper said.

To Robicheaux, whose memories of the fun-loving Mae are few and bittersweet, the news comes like a bolt of lightning. Though she abandoned him to the uncertain mercies of a violent, alcoholic father, he loved her, and his desire to find her killers--cops in the pay of the Giacano crime family, according to Clum--is instantaneous and deeply felt. Unfortunately, Zipper Clum meets the wrong end of a .25 automatic soon after his electrifying announcement, but his conversation with his killer is recorded--and Mae Guillory's name comes up again.

The winding trail of evidence connected to both Letty Labiche and Mae Guillory leads Robicheaux almost immediately to Jim Gable, the New Orleans Police Department's liaison with city hall, whose position has afforded him a number of less-than-legal advantages. Gable also happens to be an ex-lover of Robicheaux's wife, Bootsie--formerly the widow of Ralph Giacano. From there the web of connections grows ever wider, and (not surprisingly) incriminates those in high places. These include the state attorney general, a woman who, if photographic evidence is to be trusted, was once friendly with the Labiches' parents, who were known procurers.

But if Purple Cane Road has its share of corrupt powermongers, it's also filled with beautifully rounded characters, like piano-playing governor Belmont Pugh and hit man Johnny Remeta, whose personality slowly begins to unravel as he gets closer to Robicheaux's daughter. The plot converges seamlessly to its climax--the true story of what happened to Mae Robicheaux--as James Lee Burke's trademark of uncompromising justice is brought to fruition. Like Burke's other Robicheaux novels, Purple Cane Road offers a solidly satisfying piece in the picture of a complex hero. --Barrie Trinkle

From the Back Cover:

"America's best novelist."
-- The Denver Post

"A thoroughly absorbing mystery packed with the colorful characters and moral dilemmas that have turned Dave Robicheaux into one of the more vivid literary creations of the last 20 years."
-- Daily News (New York)

"Nobody writes about the bad old days down South like James Lee Burke."
-- The New York Times

"No other living writer has been more influential on the contemporary crime novel than James Lee Burke.... This one is his best."
-- Michael Connelly, author of Void Moon
Don't miss James Lee Burke's sensational bestsellers:

Heartwood

"A heartfelt, passionate book ... powerfully bittersweet."
-- The Seattle Times

Sunset Limited

"Splendidly atmospheric ... with dialogue so sharp you can shave with it."
-- People

Available from Dell

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780440224044: Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0440224047 ISBN 13:  9780440224044
Publisher: Dell, 2001
Softcover

9780752843346: Dave Robicheaux on the Purple Cane Road

Orion ..., 2001
Softcover

9780375430558: Purple Cane Road (Random House Large Print)

Random..., 2000
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9780752825571: Purple Cane Road

Orion, 2000
Hardcover

9781890885090: Purple Cane Road

B E Tr..., 2000
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