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.

View all my reviews

About V. T. Eric Layton

vtel57, Nocturnal Slacker

2 responses »

  1. Bobby Earl = David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American white supremacist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, far-right politician, convicted felon, and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.[3] From 1989 to 1992, he was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for the Republican Party. His ……. (Wikipedia).

    I read most of this series 15 or 20 years ago. He was recommended to me at a garage sale before he became a popular author. I loved tripod and the guy that took care of his general store with beer and fish bait.

    I finally got tired of his repeated talk about being a dry drunk. It probably hit too close to home. Eric thank you for the review.

    • Yes, I’m sure there was a bit of David Duke that went into the creation of Bobby Earl; then again, though… there are quite a few “David Duke” types in Southern Louisiana.

      Donna (Rughooker) from Cabin In the Woods turned me on to “detective” novels many years ago. Burke was one she highly recommended. And while I love Burke’s writing and have read many of his books over the years, he does tend to pontificate about politics, religion, and alcoholism quite a bit in the Robicheaux series of stories. Dave Robicheaux is a very haunted individual. It’s amazing that he never ate his own gun, actually.

      I’m reading another Robicheaux book right now, but I won’t read anymore Burke for a while after this one. I don’t like to binge authors because when you read them one after another, sometimes little phrases and such become repetitive. Another reason I won’t read another one for a while is that Burke writes too well and “living” in these stories as I read them can be stressful and tiring after too much of it… kinda’ like watching “True Crime” network too much. 😉

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