Reviews for A private cathedral (Book)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Burke wraps up the trilogy begun in Robicheaux (2018) and continued in The New Iberia Blues (2019) by taking a giant step into the past—actually, a Chinese box of criminal pasts. “In the days before 9/11,” Detective Dave Robicheaux is working for the New Iberia Sheriff’s Department. As usual, the felonies officially reported to the department represent only a fraction of his Louisiana parish’s seething passions. When Isolde Balangie, seeing Dave at an amusement pier where heartthrob singer Johnny Shondell is singing, tells him that Johnny is delivering her to his uncle Mark and that she thinks all the Shondells should be killed because the family burned her ancestor at the stake 400 years ago, Dave makes a noncommittal response and quickly regrets it. Whether or not he plans to keep Isolde as his personal plaything, wealthy Mark Shondell clearly has a finger in any number of unsavory pies, and during a semiofficial visit to his home, Dave ends up beating the tar out of him. His fury doesn’t seem to put off his old friend Clete Purcel, a private eye with an even shorter fuse, or Isolde’s mother, Penelope, who, whether or not she’s really Mark’s wife, keeps throwing Dave smoldering looks he returns with interest. The discovery of the dismembered corpses of two minions Shondell’s hired to follow Dave is only the first sign of the advent of Gideon Richetti, a time-traveling “revelator” whose deadly tango with Dave and Clete serves as the portal to a troubled past extending far before 9/11. Whether or not you buy the metaphor of reincarnation here, it goes a long way toward explaining the thread that links Dave’s 23 grandly repetitive adventures. Not the best installment in this much-honored franchise, but the one that best explains its incantatory power. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.