Review: Crusader's Cross: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

Editorial Review - - Roz Shea

Dave Robicheaux has turned in his badge and gun, retired from the New Iberia, Louisiana sheriff's department, and is contentedly drawing social security and a pension. He bends the occasional fishing rod in the Bayou Tesche with his fishing buddies, tends to his cat and Tripod, his threelegged raccoon, visits his late wife Bootsie's grave, and attends his AA meetings. The leisure life agrees with ... Read full review

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In 1958, a time of change, Dave and Jimmy Robicheaux are swimming in Galveston Bay when sharks appear nearby. A young woman, Ida Durban, notices their prediciment and rows out and saves them, forever leaving an imprint on their lives.
Jimmy, in particular, becomes infatuated with Ida. He finds that she is working in a house of prostitution in order to pay off a family debt. He wants to rescue her and they are set to run away to Mexico when Ida disappears.
Years later, Dave learns from a dieing friend that two policemen who were on the take, snatched Ida. They were paid to get her away from Jimmy by the owner of the house of prostitution.
Shortly after learning this, Dave is assaulted. He thinks someone is trying to stop him from learning about Ida. He gets his old job back at the Iberia Sheriff's department. Sheriff Helen Soileau wants him to look into the murders of young women who were abducted in Baton Rouge, raped and killed. The last victim was a young woman from New Iberia. She may have been a victim of opportunity. When he investigates these murders, Dave takes some personal time to continue looking into Ida's disappearance.
There is a continuing fued between Dave and Val Chalons. Val is a TV personality from a wealthy family. When his sister Honoria is raped and killed, Dave's fingerprints are found in her home. Val plays this up on TV and tells his audience about Dave recently marrying a Catholic Nun. This escalates the conflict. There is a fight and Val ends up in the hospital. Dave almost loses his job, but after a period of being assigned to his desk, he's back on the trail. In this sense he becomes the Crusader, looking for the killer and refusing to stop until the killer is caught.
James Lee Burke is one of our finest mystery writers today. He is one of only three people to win the Edgar Award for Best Novel of the Year, more than one time. "Crusader's Cross" continues his tradition for fine writing. It is the 14th Dave Robicheaux story. Dave is one of the best protagonists in literature today. His friend Clete is one in a million.

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