James Lee Burke once again refutes Elmore Leonard's writing rules in Burke's newest Dave Robicheaux novel, simply called "Robicheaux."
Burke's lush writing about his native Louisiana, especially New Orleans and the Cajun parishes to the West, show why I never warmed up to Leonard's novels. Leonard represents a school of laconic crime fiction that has me yawning and thinking about other things after about two pages.
The newest Robicheaux book brings back his comic antihero sidekick Clete Purcell, and offers a characteristic Burke gallery of cartoonish villains. Burke's novels, like others in the noir-comic genre, are formulaic, but Burke's impressionistic descriptions of nature and elegiac love for Louisiana raise him to a higher level.
Sadly, Burke's exaggerated villains and their buffoonish ways are quite close to the politicians, developers, grifters and shady business types who have ruined Louisiana's wonderful natural beauty.