My forty-fourth book that I read for this challenge was the novel Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke. Dave Robicheaux is a retired New Orleans cop who is living a decent life in New Iberia. He has a bait shop and rents out boats. He lives with his adopted 6-year old El Salvadoran daughter Alafair, their three-legged raccoon Tripod, an Appaloosa named Tex, their friends Batist and Clarise and all is well. He is recovering from the murder of his wife by two drug dealers and is finding solace in the Catholic church. He’s been sober for years and attends his AA meetings. Life is good.
Then his old school buddy Dixie Lee Pugh shows up in town and tried to get his interested in becoming a land leasing agent up in Montana, where he says life is good, except you have to associate with some unsavory characters like Harry and his parter Vidrine, and Dixies’s old cellmate Sally Dio. And Dave’s old police partner Cletus Purcel shows up, too. Dave overhears Mapes and Vidrine talking about killing two Indian boys from the reservation in Montana, and they don’t take kindly to Dave hanging around Dixie. They threaten Dave and Alafair, so Dave takes a chain to Mapes and Vidrine and beats the living shit out of them. But Next day, Vidrine is found dead and Dave is the prime suspect. He makes bail and heads for Montana to prove Mapes actually killed Vidrine and and find the proof of the deaths of the two Indian boys, plus to try to get his friends Dixie and Cletus away from Sally Dee. He takes Alafair with him and enrolls her in school and rents a little house to try to make life as normal as possible for her as he works with DEA and the law enforcement in Montana to prove his suspicions.
The descriptions of the land both in Louisiana and in Montana make this novel a worthwhile read. Burke paints beautiful word pictures and you can see the countryside in the bayou and in the Continental Divide.
Forty-four down, 56 to go.