cover image Robicheaux


James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton. S&S Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 14.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-4431-8

Voice actor Patton does not disappoint in his reading of Burke’s 21st novel featuring Dave Robicheaux, the deputy sheriff of New Iberia, La. Dave is coming to grips with his wife’s death in a car crash. When the driver responsible for the crash is murdered on the same night Dave drinks himself unconscious, he becomes the prime suspect. This is but one story line in a book filled with them, as well as a large cast, including a narcissistic golden boy who’s testing the political waters; a legendary novelist whose best book is being turned into a movie produced by a loathsome, dying mobster; and Dave’s novelist daughter, Alifair, who’s writing the screenplay. Then there’s Chester (“Call Me Smiley”) Wimple, a seemingly simpleminded hit man who’s effectively ridding Louisiana of its evildoers. Reader Patton’s honeyed Southern accent proves a perfect instrument for presenting narrator Dave’s poetic descriptions of bayou landscapes as well as Dave’s melancholy moods. The would-be politician speaks with the blissful confidence of the very wealthy, the novelist’s approach is drily above it all, and the mobster sounds hoarse and very ill. They all take a rear seat when it comes to Patton’s creative interpretation of Smiley—lisping, babyish, singsongy, and, when tested, chillingly homicidal. This is another winning performance from Patton. [em]A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Jan.) [/em]