A Private Cathedral: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Dave Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, get themselves in a horrifying mess and one wonders if this will be their last struggle in a long series of novels by Burke. This one has all the bells and whistles, murder, runaway musicians, an otherworldly assassin and the always seductive language of southern Louisiana mixed with very violent scenes. I've always thought that Burke's work belongs on the fiction shelves instead of mystery as his writing encompasses a lot more than just a crime (or two). His words take the reader to so many places, hell being one of them, and then he smooths you out with lovely descriptions of the Bayou Teche or paragraphs of what love might be if we only paid attention. This is a gritty tale and a thoughtful one.

— Edie


After finding himself caught up in one of Louisiana’s oldest and bloodiest family rivalries, Detective Dave Robicheaux must battle the most terrifying adversary he has ever encountered: a time-traveling superhuman assassin.

The Shondell and Balangie families are longtime enemies in the New Iberia criminal underworld and show each other no mercy. Yet their youngest heirs, Johnny Shondell and Isolde Balangie, rock and roll-musician teenagers with magical voices, have fallen in love and run away after Isolde was given as a sex slave to Johnny’s uncle.

As he seeks to uncover why, Detective Dave Robicheaux gets too close to both Isolde’s mother and the mistress of her father, a venomous New Orleans mafioso whose jealousy has no bounds. In retribution, he hires a mysterious assassin to go after Robicheaux and his longtime partner, Clete Purcel. This hitman is unlike any the “Bobbsey Twins from Homicide” have ever faced. He has the ability to induce horrifying hallucinations and travels on a menacing ghost ship that materializes without warning. In order to defeat him and rescue Johnny and Isolde, Robicheaux will have to overcome the demons that have tormented him throughout his adult life—alcoholism, specters from combat in Vietnam, and painful memories of women to whom he opened his heart only to see killed.

A Private Cathedral, James Lee Burke’s fortieth book, is his most powerful tale, one that will captivate readers—mixing crime, romance, mythology, horror, and science fiction to produce a thrilling story about the all-consuming, all-conquering power of love.

About the Author

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’s authored thirty-nine novels and two short story collections. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

Praise For…

An imaginative blend of crime and other genres, Burke’s existential drama is both exquisitely executed and profoundly moving. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Burke has concocted his usual gumbo of thrills and chills, stirred it with gusto and seasoned it with plenty of local superstition and rumor. What makes these books so enduring (this is the 23rd Robicheaux novel) and the storytelling so seductive is that Burke has the voice to do justice to the region’s ancient curses and its modern crimes." —Marilyn Stasio, for The New York Times Book Review

"[A]ll-enveloping mix of horror and crime" Booklist (starred review)

"You can always count on Burke, the prolific best-selling author and two-time winner of the Edgar Award, to deliver a white-hot page-turner."—AARP Magazine

"Burke has the poetic gifts to match the otherworldly musings his Louisiana lawman occasionally finds himself dwelling on." CrimeReads

"Like all Burke's novels, this one is lush and lyrical and poignant and pretty damn brutal. It's a journey into Robicheaux's heart of darkness and America's." Minnesota Star Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982151683
ISBN-10: 1982151684
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 11th, 2020
Pages: 384
Series: Dave Robicheaux