Sometimes fiction can make real what the news or government reports, no matter how immediate or thorough, cannot. In The Tin Roof Blowdown, the 16th novel in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series, Burke describes the devastation and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina with a gut-wrenching emotional intensity that no amount of news footage could ever achieve.
While the hurricane rages and floodwaters rise, Robicheaux and his sidekick, Clete Purcell, track down the usual assortment of psychopathic deviants and lost souls, including several rapists, Mafioso hooligans, a junky priest, and mercenary black marketeers. The details of the plot get a little shaggy, but as a historical record and ode to a New Orleans that is gone forever, this one deserves its fourth star.
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