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.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011 Release date: 04/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.