I'm just amazed at the ability of James Lee Burke to create characters who have such depth as Ivy Paret the ex-con who served his time in Angola (Louisiana) and is trying to begin a new life far away from his home town.
All of Burke's guys, his characters, think about right and wrong; about trying to find their way in a complicated world and how to make the best of everything they're dealt. Sometimes bad luck just happens, life happens and rising above it all takes perseverance, sometimes more than people have, unfortunately.
I was a bit concerned because most of Burke's books which I've read have been in the lushness of southern Louisiana and south Texas and I loved the his description of the southern part of the U. S.
Burke's second home is in Missoula, Montana, and is the site of this stand-alone.
Silly me, I was concerned that Burke couldn't include his lovely landscape description...it's Montana, for crying out loud. (I admit, I know nothing about Montana never having been there.)
However, there's just no way that Burke can leave out his lyrical landscape descriptions. He could probably describe the North Pole in such a way that I would want to be there and I hate cold.
I just came across this quote which speaks for itself. But I immediately thought of Burke and his finely drawn and unique characters and the burden they carry including one of my favorites, Burke's Dave Robicheaux. "In the N.Y. Times Book Review for Feb. 2, 2012, critic Olen Steinhauer was writing about a John D. MacDonald contemporary, Elmore Leonard, but what he had to say about the best crime writers, that: “Our best crime writers are sometimes our most astute social novelists, concerned as much with our country’s ills as they are with sensational homicides.”
I certainly put James Lee Burke in that category which is, in my mind, a very small club of writers.
Daniel brought me back to this review and when glancing through it, I could not remember the plot. The book was five stars, so I should have written a bit about this five star stand alone featuring Iry Paret.
Iry's a musician from Louisiana, just served two years in Angola and needs to start a new life. A friend, Buddy Riordan, a fellow he met in prison and was released earlier, invited Iry to Montana where his father owns a farm and Iry can begin again. His parole officer is watching to see if Iry can stay afloat on this side of the law. Iry knows that anything close to illegal can put him in handcuffs and back to Angola; manslaughter and murder are against the law in Montana, just like in Louisiana.
Unfortunately that cloud hanging over Iry's head follows him to Montana. Without trying, Iry is back walking the line between turning a blind eye to some troublemakers and the trouble they cause to Riordan's family or getting even and protecting his new family.
Always a presence, the finishing of a song he's started and heading back to Angola. Iry is walking a tightrope hoping he doesn't fall.
Great character, Iry, and don't know if I'll see him again, but would enjoy a second book. Of course, I admit, I'm easy when it comes to Burke...I'll read anything he's written.