The Bayou Trilogy: Under the Bright Lights, Muscle for the Wing, The Ones You Do

Daniel Woodrell, Author
David Woodrell, Little, Brown/Mulholland, $16.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-316-13365-4
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
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Collected in a single volume for the first time, Woodrell's three stellar novels featuring Det. Rene Shade, an ex-boxer turned cop, provide entrée into the Louisiana swamp town of Saint Bruno, a place where "tempers went on the prowl and relief was driving a hard bargain." Woodrell (Winter's Bone) injects Shade's life and various cases with both humor and brutal violence. In Bright Lights (1986), the investigation into a city councilman's murder mushrooms into a corruption scandal, with Shade feeling pressure from above for a quick—and predetermined—result. Muscle for the Wing (1988) finds Shade up against a gang of ex-cons, hell-bent on wrestling control of Saint Bruno's less-than-legal action. Shade and his two brothers—bar owner Tip and district attorney Francois—are reunited with their long-absent paterfamilias, John X., in The Ones You Do (1992), in which John X. returns to Saint Bruno with a 10-year-old daughter and a killer on his trail. There's poetry in Woodrell's mayhem, each novel—and scene—full of gritty and memorable Cajun details. (Apr.)
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