Sunday, November 4, 2007

Intervention (?) in Black Cherry Blues

This month our mystery book discussion group chose to read James Lee Burke’s Black Cherry Blues. This is the third book in the Dave Robicheaux series. Did intervention of spirits help solve this mystery?

To learn more about this neighbor (Robicheaux is from Louisiana) I started with the two previous books in the series. Robicheaux is a Cajun raised in Louisiana with his brother by his dad. He was raised with a Catholic background. His father died in a oil rig accident.

In the first book, we learn the following about him. He is a New Orleans cop to start the series. After some trouble he leaves the force at the end of the first book. We also learn he is a Vietnam vet. His experiences in Vietnam have affected him. Finally we learn he is a recovering alcoholic.

More of life’s experiences affect him in the second book in the series. He met his to be wife in the first book and started a new life with his wife and a boat and bait shop. He finds and rescues a little girl from a downed plane. He and his wife take the little girl in as their own. The downed plane brings him more trouble which results in the murder of his wife.

In the third book of this series, Dave finds himself in more trouble after his “adopted” daughter is threatened. He beats up the guys who threatened his daughter and one of them ends up dead. He ends up being charged with the murder.

In order to overcome the charges, he goes to Montana to find something about the guy who would be the witness against him – that guy murdered two Indians in Montana. The sister of one of the two indians gets murdered when it appears Dave is on to something.

Dave suspected this but had a problem being able to prove it. He learns some things about the guy but does no put it all together until three spirits intervene to point him in the right direction. These spirits – his deceased father, his deceased wife, and the murdered girl friend of his former partner – give him the clues to break the case. But the question is did spirits really give him the clues? I think this is how his mind worked to solve the mystery. The visions were creations of his depression and previous problem with drinking. But it was his desire to protect his adopted daughter that helped him to prevail.

James Lee Burke has a website at .


JenningsJunk said...

I think your hidden talent has been revealed. This blog is better than some I've seen by so called "professional" writers. Please keep it up!!! and once again, thanks for your input.

misterreereeder said...

Thanks. I did not feel I had much to say and did not know how to say it for this post.

misterreereeder said...

I have some additional comments about our main character after additional thoughts.

Dave Robicheaux was a complex man/character shaped somewhat by the circumstances (?) in his life - the death of his father, his Vietnam experiences, his ongoing recovery from alcoholism, the death of his wife, and now the threats to his adopted daughter. Most of his friends recognized this complexity even though they may not have agreed. Case in point is his former partner - Cletus. When he was his partner, Cletus was very much into thugging the dope dealers. This bothered Dave who did not always believe in his methods but sometimes believed in the results. Now Cletus is lined up with a suspected dope dealer - the very one who in a indirect way (actually one of his other "employees") has threatened Dave's adopted daughter. He offers to help Dave by getting his bond taken care of by bondsmen who "owed" a favor to Sally Dio - Cletus' new boss. But Dave would not take the road offered to him. He chose to find a way to get his bond paid which involved possible loss of business and home. Rather than killing (or have killed) the person who threatened his daughter (and was the "witness" against him for the murder), he chose to find a way to expose that person's connection to the disappearance of a couple of indians (or some other serious crime). And even though his former partner and another friend have fallen into "the wrong crowd", he offers them help getting out.

Anonymous said...

It seems I remember something they used to call a "tragic hero". Is this what Dve Robicheaux is?