Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pegasus Descending by James Lee Burke ****

This is the 4th audio book from our Louisiana-to-Arizona-and-back trip over the holidays, and it's in the Dave Robicheaux series, of which we listened to The Tin Roof Blowdown on a road trip in 2007. (Tin Roof comes after Pegasus in the series.) Will Patton is the narrator, and does a wonderful job with the accents and voices in both audio books.

In Pegasus, Dave - a New Iberia, Louisiana, homicide detective - has 3 deaths on his roster. First, an apparent suicide by a young woman who is planning to go to UL in the fall and has shown no suicidal tendencies. Next, her frat-boy boyfriend Tony, whose father is mixed up in some shady dealings, is murdered with a shotgun. Lastly, the ongoing investigation of a man referred to as Crustacean Man because he was found already dead with crawfish clinging to his body - probably homeless, since no one matching his description has been reported as missing. Dave is pretty sure there's a link, and he's pretty sure Yvonne didn't just kill herself without any help from someone - but he's not sure who.

Dave is a former alcoholic, and starts the book with a description seen through his alcoholic haze of a law enforcement buddy in Florida who is killed in what appears to be a robbery some 20 years before. Dave was sure at the time that it was a mob hit on his buddy, but couldn't convince the local police. Now the buddy's daughter shows up in New Iberia, as well as 2 or 3 of the wiseguys involved in her father's death. The daughter is with a group that scams casinos and possibly also did a bank heist. Coincidence?

Burke writes great characters - Dave's PI pal Clete, his wife Molly the ex-nun, the local DA whose main focus is his own political career. He also includes a lot of local color and history. He spends as much time in Dave's mind going over motives and psychological meaderings as in describing the scenes and locales and the deaths themselves. 4 star listen - part of the Dave Robicheaux series

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