Swamps in Our Culture Are Places of Evil
One of the grisliest places I ever visited was the Mexican State of Tabasco, where storms upriver caused floods in Villahermosa. From the banks of the Grijalva, my brother and I saw the carcasses of cows and other livestock come floating past in the fast-flowing muddy waters. The humidity easily stood at 100%, if not more.
We have our swampy regions in the States as well. Take Louisiana, for instance, where the Atchafalaya Basin could become the new course of the Mississippi, if it jumps the Army Corps of Engineers dams to the north.
James Lee Burke, Author of the David Robicheaux Novels
I have just finished reading James Lee Burke’s Sunset Limited, in which David Robicheaux of the New Iberia Police confronts evils that are scarcely to be imagined, let alone experienced.
Years ago, a labor leader named Frank Flynn was murdered by being crucified upside-down with a nail gun on the side of an old barn. His children Cisco and Megan are back in the Bayou Teche area, along with some of the nastiest contract killers ever portrayed in literature. But then, as Dave reminds us, “Evil doesn’t have a zip code.”
The gnarliest of them, one Harpo Scruggs, also has a wicked sense of humor:
“You got a lot of brass,” I said to him.
“Not really. Since I don’t think your bunch [the police] could drink piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel,” [Harpo] replied. He unscrewed the cork in the mescal bottle with a squeak and tipped another shot into his glass.
One thing that characterizes a Dave Robicheaux novel is the tendency of its hero, along with his friend Clete Purcel, a former New Orleans police officer, to confront evil head on, with intensity and frequency.
To date, I have read over ten of Burke’s Robicheaux novels with their brooding atmosphere of Cajun eeriness—and I intend to keep going.