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The Glass Rainbow

Cover of The Glass Rainbow

The Glass Rainbow

Dave Robicheaux Series, Book 18

The creator of "one of America's best mystery series" (Library Journal, starred review), New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke features Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux in a "superlative" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) bayou thriller.
The brutal murders of seven young women in a neighboring parish pull Robicheaux from his New Iberia home into a case with all the telltale signs of a serial killer. Except that one of the victims, a high school honors student, doesn't fit. Investigating with his friend Clete Purcel, Robicheaux confronts Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer—but shocking violence sends the already blood-soaked case spiraling out of control. And with his daughter, Alafair, in love with a man who has dangerous ties to a once prominent Louisiana family, every dark fear Robicheaux harbors for himself and his daughter are on the precipice of becoming reality.

The creator of "one of America's best mystery series" (Library Journal, starred review), New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke features Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux in a "superlative" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) bayou thriller.
The brutal murders of seven young women in a neighboring parish pull Robicheaux from his New Iberia home into a case with all the telltale signs of a serial killer. Except that one of the victims, a high school honors student, doesn't fit. Investigating with his friend Clete Purcel, Robicheaux confronts Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer—but shocking violence sends the already blood-soaked case spiraling out of control. And with his daughter, Alafair, in love with a man who has dangerous ties to a once prominent Louisiana family, every dark fear Robicheaux harbors for himself and his daughter are on the precipice of becoming reality.

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    CHAPTER
    1

    THE ROOM I had rented in an old part of Natchez seemed more reflective of New Orleans than a river town in Mississippi. The ventilated storm shutters were slatted with a pink glow, as soft and filtered and cool in color as the spring sunrise can be in the Garden District, the courtyard outside touched with mist off the river, the pastel walls deep in shadow and stained with lichen above the flower beds, the brick walkways smelling of damp stone and the wild spearmint that grew in green clusters between the bricks. I could see the shadows of banana trees moving on the window screens, the humidity condensing and threading along the fronds like veins in living tissue. I could hear a ship's horn blowing somewhere out on the river, a long hooting sound that was absorbed and muted inside the mist, thwarting its own purpose. A wood-bladed fan revolved slowly above my bed, the incandescence of the lightbulbs attached to it reduced to a dim yellow smudge inside frosted-glass shades that were fluted to resemble flowers. The wood floor and the garish wallpaper and the rain spots on the ceiling belonged to another era, one that was outside of time and unheedful of the demands of commerce. Perhaps as a reminder of that fact, the only clock in the room was a round windup mechanism that possessed neither a glass cover nor hands on its face.

    There are moments in the Deep South when one wonders if he has not wakened to a sunrise in the spring of 1862. And in that moment, maybe one realizes with a guilty pang that he would not find such an event entirely unwelcome.

    At midmorning, inside a pine-wooded depression not far from the Mississippi, I found the man I was looking for. His name was Jimmy Darl Thigpin, and the diminutive or boylike image his name suggested, as with many southern names, was egregiously misleading. He was a gunbull of the old school, the kind of man who was neither good nor bad, in the way that a firearm is neither good nor bad. He was the kind of man whom you treat with discretion and whose private frame of reference you do not probe. In some ways, Jimmy Darl Thigpin was the lawman all of us fear we might one day become.

    He sat atop a quarter horse that was at least sixteen hands high, his back erect, a cut-down double-barrel twelve-gauge propped on his thigh, the saddle creaking under his weight. He wore a long-sleeved cotton shirt to protect his arms from mosquitoes, and a beat-up, tall-crown cowboy hat in the apparent belief that he could prevent a return of the skin cancer that had shriveled one side of his face. To my knowledge, in various stages of his forty-year career, he had killed five men, some inside the prison system, some outside, one in an argument over a woman in a bar.

    His charges were all black men, each wearing big-stripe green-and-white convict jumpers and baggy pants, some wearing leather-cuffed ankle restraints. They were felling trees, chopping off the limbs for burning, stacking the trunks on a flatbed truck, the heat from the fire so intense it gave off no smoke.

    When he saw me park on the road, he dismounted and broke open the breech of his shotgun, cradling it over his left forearm, exposing the two shells in the chambers, effectively disarming his weapon. But in spite of his show of deference for my safety, there was no pleasure in his expression when he shook hands, and his eyes never left his charges.

    "We appreciate your calling us, Cap," I said. "It looks like you're still running a tight ship."

    Then I thought about what I had just said. There are instances when the exigencies of your life or profession require that you ingratiate yourself with people who make you...

About the Author-
  • James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of thirty previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as The Glass Rainbow, Swan Peak, The Tin Roof Blowdown, Last Car to Elysian Fields and Rain Gods. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
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    Simon & Schuster
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Dave Robicheaux Series, Book 18
James Lee Burke
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James Lee Burke
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