Light of the World: Book summary and reviews of Light of the World by James Lee Burke

Light of the World

A Dave Robicheaux Novel

By James Lee Burke

Light of the World
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2013,
    560 pages.

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Book Summary

Louisiana Sherriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux and his longtime friend and partner Clete Purcel are vacationing in Montana's spectacular Big Sky country when a series of suspicious events leads them to believe their lives - and the lives of their families - are in danger.

In contrast to the tranquil beauty of Flathead Lake and the colorful summertime larch and fir unspooling across unblemished ranchland, a venomous presence lurks in the caves and hills, intent on destroying innocent lives. First, Alafair Robicheaux is nearly killed by an arrow while hiking alone on a trail. Then Clete's daughter, Gretchen Horowitz, whom readers met in Burke's previous bestseller Creole Belle, runs afoul of a local cop, with dire consequences. Next, Alafair thinks she sees a familiar face following her around town - but how could convicted sadist and serial killer Asa Surette be loose on the streets of Montana?

Surrette committed a string of heinous murders while capital punishment was outlawed in his home state of Kansas. Years ago, Alafair, a lawyer and novelist, interviewed Surette in prison, aiming to prove him guilty of other crimes and eligible for the death penalty. Recently, a prison transport van carrying Surette crashed and he is believed dead, but Alafair isn't so sure.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] powerful meditation on the nature - and smell - of evil...even as the stomach roils, the fingers keep turning the pages because the much-honored Burke...is a master storyteller." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. [E]vil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form - depravity beyond sociology - giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone ... but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment." - Booklist

"Burke produces his most sharply focused, and perhaps his most harrowing, study of human evil, refracted through the conventions of the crime novel." - Kirkus

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Author Information

James Lee Burke Author Biography

James Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

He and his wife Pearl met in graduate school and have been married 43 years, they have four children: Jim Jr., an assistant U.S. Attorney; Andree, a school psychologist; Pamala, a T.V. ad producer; and Alafair, a law professor and novelist whose first novel ...

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