The Neon Rain, by James Lee Burke

Dave Robicheaux is a police officer working around New Orleans; while out fishing in his spare time he comes across the body of a black girl. He reports it, but when he later attempts to find out what happened, it seems like the local sheriff's office has written things off as an accidental drowning and closed the case. Subsequently, visiting a death-row prisoner on the eve of his execution, he finds out that someone's put a price on his head. And this turns out to cause problems that are not easy to solve.

I picked this up on spec from the shelf on the library: they had a couple of James Lee Burke audiobooks and I noticed that this one is the first of a series (which is now up to about twenty books I think), and it had reasonable reviews on Amazon so I thought I'd give it a go.

Well, it was a find. Partly due to the fantastic job done by the reader (Will Patton), this was a very atmospheric and tense story with a real sense of the south. The story may have been a bit implausible but it kept me gripped and I was looking forward to getting back in the car to hear some more.

The main thing that nagged at me though was how little powder he seemed to be leaving dry for the rest of the series. Perhaps when he wrote this he hadn't thought of there being any follow-ups, but if he had, then you can't help but respect how much he didn't seem to hold anything back from this book. Among other things (spoiler alert) in this book

All I can say is, there must be a fair amount of explaining in the next book (or maybe he goes private, I don't know)

But whatever happens, it'll be worth reading about, so I'll be going for more books in this series. For audiobooks, I think it'll be worth trying to get ones read by Will Patton again: he was so good (and the book is written in the first person, so it feels like his voice is Robicheaux's) that it would be a bit of a let-down to have someone else reading them.

Completed : 08-Nov-2014 (audiobook, read by Will Patton)

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