James Lee Burke's new crime novel, The Light of the World, is a violence-filled meditation on the existence of absolute evil in the the malignant swamp of the criminal mind.
The novel is the latest in the series that features Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux. This story takes place in Montana and is filled with a volatile mix of characters: Dave's hair-triggered former cop partner, Clete Purcell; Clete's angry daughter, Gretchen, herself at one time a contract killer; a psychotic former rodeo clown and his equally unbalanced girlfriend; and a vicious sociopath and escaped serial killer named Asa Surrette.
This toxic brew inevitably explodes into a chain of violent encounters and dead bodies, culminating in an almost Biblical final battle with ultimate human evil in the person of the demonic Surrette.
Light of the World is a continuing portrayal of the series' long running theme of Robicheaux's sour cynicism toward the rancid nature of humanity which he sees in his police work. The novel is one of James Lee Burke's strongest and will surely be on the list of this year's best works of crime fiction.
BEACH RATING: 4 Palm Trees