Summary and book reviews of Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke

Purple Cane Road

By James Lee Burke

Purple Cane Road
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Aug 2000,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: May 2001,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

From Edgar Award-winner James Lee Burke comes this emotional powerhouse of a novel ... in which everyman hero Dave Robicheaux confronts the secrets of his long-forgotten past in a shattering tale of revenge, murder, and a mother's haunting legacy....

Robicheaux first hears it from a pimp eager to trade information for his life: Mae Guillory was murdered outside a New Orleans nightclub by two cops. Dave Robicheaux was just a boy when his mother ran out on him and his whiskey-driven father.

Now Robicheaux is a man, still haunted by her desertion and her death. More than thirty-five years after Mae Guillory died, her son will go to any length to bring her killers to justice. And as he moves closer to what happened that long-ago night, the Louisiana cop crosses lines of color and class to find the place where secrets of his past lie buried ... and where all roads lead to revenge -- but only one road leads to the truth....

Chapter 1

Years ago, in state documents, Vachel Carmouche was always referred to as the electrician, never as the executioner. That was back in the days when the electric chair was sometimes housed at Angola. At other times it traveled, along with its own generators, on a flatbed semitruck from parish prison to parish prison. Vachel Carmouche did the state's work. He was good at it.

In New Iberia we knew his real occupation but pretended we did not. He lived by himself, up Bayou Teche, in a tin-roofed, paintless cypress house that stayed in the deep shade of oak trees. He planted no flowers in his yard and seldom raked it, but he always drove a new car and washed and polished it religiously.

Early each morning we'd see him in a cafe on East Main, sitting by himself at the counter, in his pressed gray or khaki clothes and cloth cap, his eyes studying other customers in the mirror, his slight overbite paused above his coffee cup, as though he were waiting to ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
The Denver Post

America's best novelist.

Daily News (New York)

A thoroughly absorbing mystery packed with the colorful characters and moral dilemmas that have turned Dave Robicheaux into one of the more vivid literary creations of the last 20 years.

The New York Times

Nobody writes about the bad old days down South like James Lee Burke.

Author Blurb Michael Connelly, author of Void Moon
No other living writer has been more influential on the contemporary crime novel than James Lee Burke.... This one is his best.

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