A Stained White Radiance by James Lee Burke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, as always, Burke does not disappoint. The man has that talent of superior writers to place you personally in every scene of a story. Often, with Dave Robicheaux stories, the places you go to are quite ugly and gritty. This book was no exception. Dave deals with some seriously not-so-nice folks in this one.
I’m not sure how I missed this older book (1993). I’ve read most of Burke’s Robicheaux series. I found this one sitting on my shelf with some of the newer ones. I read it because I usually try to read an author’s output by publication date (older first).
The above was my brief write up about this book on GoodReads. However, I’d like to add to this review because something about this book struck me profoundly; actually a few things did.
First off, the story takes place, as with all Robicheaux series books, in southern Louisiana… Iberia Parish, to be precise. As I said above, it’s an ugly and gritty story involving some folks from the wrong side of the law whom you would never want to meet up close and personal. This is typical of a Burke story. However, the character in this story that really caught my eye was a fellow named “Bobby Earl”.
Mr. Earl is an aspiring politician campaigning for some major seat in government. He’s also an ex KKK leader and ex member of AB (Aryan Brotherhood). He’s flashy, suave, vociferous, and, quite obviously, a pure narcissistic sociopath. Burke wrote this story back in the early 90s, but it’s amazing how history just keeps repeating and repeating.
If you read this book, you’ll be amazed at the parallels you will see between Bobby Earl and a recent U.S. President. Of course, folks with this mental disorder (narcissistic sociopathy) are all quite similar in their behavior patterns. Burke must have recognized a little of Bobby Earl in the last 6 or 8 years of U.S. politics; his character of Bobby Earl was a tale of the past and a prophecy of the future.
Read this book. You’ll learn a few things.
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