By James Calemine

James Lee Burke’s Burning Angel revolves around detective Dave Robicheaux. AA attending Robicheaux not only struggles with his wicked Vietnam days, alcoholism and daily police work, but a gang of ex-Black-Ops members coming to New Iberia, Louisiana, to cash in on old scores.

Burke’s writing evokes complicated moral issues we all deal with in our society such as racism, greed, corruption and the haves and have-nots. Robicheaux and his family find themselves dealing with a trained gang of killers in a long-tainted world of Louisiana politics.

Vivid imagery flashes in Burke’s prose. It would be safe to say he studied the work of Ernest Hemingway. Burke’s memorable characters—such as Sweet Pea Chaisson, Sonny Boy Marsallus or Clete Purcel—reflect someone we’ve all known in our lives, and most we hope we never meet.

The dramatic undertow of Burning Angel forces the reader to keep turning pages. This book verifies nobody can run from their past, and sometimes the good guys pay heavier prices than the bad ones. Burke’s Burning Angel proves disturbing, yet redemptive reading like most good stories.