Swan Peak – Book Review

Swan Peak

by James Lee Burke
Reviewed by Paul McMahon
James Lee Burke seems to commute between New Orleans and Montana.  Sometimes he is Dave Robicheaux an ex-New Orleans cop.  Other times he is Billy Bob Holland a Missoula lawyer he might as well be a detective.
He writes in the first person and does it very well.
He puts you in the scene doing an excellent job of describing a thunderstorm coming in over the  bayou with its flashing lightning and gray rain still a hour away. 
He seems to be on a trend of writing better and better stories, but the library book sale paperbacks I pick up are great stories too.
Better yet he seems to have passed the skill on to his (adopted?) daughter Alafair who is a great mystery writer on her own.
Swan Peak is a Dave Robicheaux mystery set in Montana where Dave and Clete are vacationing from the trials of Louisiana.  The local sheriff asks for them  to look into the murder of two college students near where they are staying.  A couple of days later two tourists are murdered in a manner that raises suspicions that there is a serial killer around. 
That is the warmup.  The story gets more and more complex with many clues that don’t help you much.  The FBI comes in asking questions about a job Clete had some 15 years ago.  Burke builds towards a completely  unexpected climax which puts it all together.
Read and enjoy.

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