In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead
On the surface it was just another day in New Iberia, Louisiana. A once great but slightly faded Hollywood movie star insists on drinking and driving, a particularly vicious serial killer is terrorizing the county, and it seems likely that the local power structure is in the process of selling the political store to the mob.
Dave Robicheaux can handle the ordinary, but when a drunken actor leads him to the skeletal remains of a man he saw murdered in 1957, the mundane takes on a new meaning. Most especially, when Robicheaux finds himself in a serious conversation with the ghost of legendary Confederate general John Bell Hood. After that, the bodies begin to pile up, old and new friendships are put to the test, and Robicheaux finds that his professional reputation is on the line. Still, if it is to be done it must be done quickly, and Robicheaux follows the convoluted trail that unravels not only the new mystery but the ancient one as well.
James Lee Burke found his voice with BLACK CHERRY BLUES and continued to expand the frontiers of the genre with A STAINED WHITE RADIANCE. This is not your father’s mystery writer, and that is all to the good. Burke combines intricate plots with superb narration in a regional context, yet with none of the condescending airs which such creations often exhibit. He writes with affection and compassion about individuals deserving of both, but fixes them withal in the pitiless glare of unadorned reality. IN THE ELECTRIC MIST WITH CONFEDERATE DEAD is Burke’s most ambitious work to date, but those who pursue the earlier volumes in this series will not be disappointed.