Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Neon Rain - book review

The Neon Rain
By James Lee Burke

This book came recommended, the first of a long series of crime novels featuring maverick and reformed alcoholic cop, Dave Robicheaux.

Belle read it first and passed it over with a enigmatic suggestion that I read it and make comment before she offered an opinion. I wasn't sure if this was a silent endorsement or dismissal of the book, so I read on.

This book bears a passing resemblance to a Patricia Cornwell Scarpatta novel, crime set in the deep south but there the similarity ends. For a start the main character is man and secondly I cant pronounce the surname - which I find profoundly irritating.

The book is an award winner written in the 1980's and has since it spawned a whole series so it must have something going for it, but I'm not sure why. It's good to read that the central character lives on a houseboat, so he can't be all bad, but I struggled to engage with the tale. I picked the book up and set it aside several times, but there was just enough there to get me through to the end - after about a month.

Having reached this uncertain conclusion I sought counsel with Belle, literary oracle and holder of an opinion on all things written. It turns out that she was similarly nonplussed. In the end we both concluded that we would give the next book in the series a go, but we wouldn't hurry to do so.

Maybe it gets 6/10 on the Ahab scale.

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