James Lee Burke

Swan Peak

"... cuts deep into the underbelly of the human psyche and display it in all its many guises."


In the 17th novel of this deservedly successful series, New Iberia Parish detective Dave Robicheaux has accepted an invitation to recover from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina on a ranch in western Montana. His wife, Molly, and sidekick, Clete Purcell, tag along for R&R among the pine trees and trout rivers.

However, a cop is never truly off duty and within days of their arrival in Montana, Dave’s career catches up with them. Two young college students are found tortured and murdered in the hills behind the ranch where Robicheaux and Purcell are staying. Then a Hollywood producer making a film nearby, and his companion, are shot and burned at a highway rest stop

Crime investigations - or life for that matter - are never simple where Dave and Clete are concerned. Clete Purcell runs up against two thugs who work for the obscenely wealthy Ridley Wellstone, who is financing a charismatic ministry fronted by his beautiful and talented wife. Running alongside this plot thread is the story of Jimmy Dale Greenwood, a young man sexually abused by a prison guard during a two-year prison sentence. He escaped by sticking a homemade shank in his abuser, who, now almost recovered from his wounds, has tracked him to Montana - intent on the cruelest revenge...

As these various plot threads unfold, merge and explode in violence, Robicheaux and Purcel are up to their chins in all the action.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


James Lee Burke is often said to be a writer’s writer and as you weave your way through this book you will understand why. His ability to create fascinating characters and convey atmosphere through prose both lyrical and immediate is on full display among the mountains of Montana. Indeed, the vast skyline and perfection of nature is used as an effective counterpoint to the many and varied flaws of the petty and tormented human beings who inhabit this planet. Burke has the talent to work under the skin of his characters. He cuts deep into the underbelly of the human psyche and display it in all its many guises. Whether that be those individuals who succumb to the power and pulse of everyday evil or those struggling to make sense of their lives and make peace with their lot. As ever, there is darkness in Robicheaux’s world, but this book ends on a surprisingly warming, redemptive note. The various plot lines are expertly handled and converge in a tense climax that will have you reading on into the wee small hours. And then next morning, you’ll be seen cradling the book with one hand, stroking the cover with the other, regretting that uncontrollable impulse to finish it.

Reviewed By: