A Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke

Burke is back with Dave Robicheaux in book # 23 and his usual luscious prose with evil characters set in an incredibly violent and gritty context, a context which includes some occult context.  He’s still coming out with great novels, but they’re not up to what the earlier novels were.  “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead” and “Jolie Blon’s Bounce” were Burke at his height.  I’m not sure I like so much occult play in there either but a certain amount of that has almost always a part of the Dave Robicheaux novels.  Burke is dealing with the concept of “evil.”

A Private Cathedral
by James Lee Burke
8/2020  
read by Will Patton 11 h 30m

Rating –  A- / crime 


Dave Robicheaux, the series protagonist, gets older and older.  He would be either 81 or 75 in this book depending on the varied ages used within the series.  but in the early pages of A Private Cathedral it appears the story takes place prior to 9/11. In that case, he’d be in his 50 or 60s for this tale of vile and horrendously corrupted men. If there is a theme it’s the evil which lives within.  

The story is one of rich men, the trafficking of young girls, drugs and rock ’n roll.  Clete seems rougher and somewhat bossy while Dave isn’t as sure of himself.  Finding Helen back in the picture was fun.  

The book was okay, but not quite the A++ I used to almost automatically give Burke’s books. The literary aspect didn’t overcome the grit and violence and the literary language even sounded a wee bit forced or artificial.  All that said,  I still gave it an A for crime novel – Burke is still the best on the market. 

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