The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke

the new iberia blues

Official Thrillerfix Review

28 January 2019

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars | Release Date: Jan. 8, 2019 | Pages: 336

That was my first glimpse of James Lee Burke’s work and I found it quite fascinating. His world of Louisiana, the intricate pace of the south lifestyle, the beauty of nature, some very simple gestures and human interactions  – all described in a uniquely poetic style. I could easily see the vivid images in my mind or imagine them as if on a screen.


The story started with a past memory and bodies turning up. What made those cases different was the peculiar way the bodies looked and the strange ideas the detectives associated with them. I really liked the Tarot aspect because it added to the feelings of mystery and strangeness. Sometimes the descriptions were a bit too graphic, but consistent with the ongoing sense of the helplessness to find the truth in the moment.


The movie making team was another important component of the whole structure that brought its own atmosphere and eccentricity. It was obvious that Desmond Cormier was more than just a successful director. The beginning and the detective’s doubts were quite focused on his sidekick which made me instinctively wait for more to come.


The police body wasn’t described as oddly as the other characters, but they were as alive as all the atypical people, even more. Seen through the eyes of the narrator, I had an insight to the good, bad and questionable sides of his co-workers and superiors. I liked that he wasn’t blind to the dark side of those who served the law.


To balance that blackness, I guess, there was the new partner of the narrator who had a bit of a fresher view and presence in that well-known department. I liked her role of a co-worker, supporter, presenter of newer ideas and even a provocative excuse for different actions at times.


Dave Robicheaux is a formidable character and narrator from the very start. He was the detective to investigate the murders, gather all the information that came in different methods and from different sources, and give the human side of the stories and his own personal insight of everything that happened around him or was told to him. Through his thoughts and ramblings I got the extra glimpse into the political, formal and informal side of every story and into the personal aspects of life around.


I also liked the character of Clete Purcel with his vulnerability and sense of being lost most of the time. Looking to make amends for what he thought was his negligence at an important moment, he really gave some of the best points of development for both the cases and Dave’s personal life.


It was a great experience to read about this different, yet so relatable world of New Iberia.