Sunday, 6 March 2011

Swan Peak by James Lee Burke


DATE READ: January 2011

NOTES: Dave Robicheaux and his friend (and ex-colleague) are on vacation in Montana when some murders occur and Dave is assigned temporarily to the local Sheriff’s staff. In the meantime Clete is obsessed with Jamie Sue Wellstone – an ex-Country and Western singer now married to a scarred war veteran. The wealthy Wellstone family have a ranch and some shady connections and are hoping to search for oil on their land.

The plot is fairly convoluted but what makes this book so great is the richness of the characters and the way in which they interact. Sometimes Clete must feel like a weight around Dave’s neck but he is continually loyal to his troubled friend. The bad guys are really bad but in the end no match for Dave and Clete.

Swan Peak has some lovely writing – and is sprinkled ideas: “…we love the earth but we don’t get to stay” or “Never go to bed with a woman who has more problems than you”.

There were a few bits of plotting that bothered me. Firstly, J.D. escaped from gaol and took refuge with Albert Hollister. He was miles from home – so where did he get his guitar from? Also I thought that Troyce Nix talked a bit too readily to Candace about his problems and his past transgressions. Seemed a bit unlikely.

But once again, Dave Robicheaux is the person to have on your side. And he makes great picnics!

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