May 23, 2011

SWAN PEAK by James Lee Burke

taken from The Guardian by Matthew Lewin

After the devastating events of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Cajun police detective Dave Robicheaux and his unpredictable ex-partner Clete Purcel have headed for the achingly beautiful landscape of the Bitterroot Valley in Montana to fish. But Burke cannot allow these two characters to exist in a peaceful world, and it's not long before they are embroiled in an investigation into the brutal killing of two young students a stone's throw from their holiday cabins. As always, Clete Purcel is a natural magnet for trouble, and it comes in increasingly powerful waves. Burke has cunningly woven a thread through the various loops in the plot, and when he begins to draw it all in, the compression raises the temperature to almost unbearable levels. The last 30 pages had me gripped with tension. This, together with Burke's ability to place you vicariously in the haunting landscapes he describes with such love and passion, again confirms his position as one of the finest American writers.

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