Black Cherry Blues is the third in the Dave Robicheaux series and a familiar pattern starts to emerge of a man shoving his nose where it has no place being, that generally puts both his life and everyone close to him in potential jeopardy. Thankfully Robicheaux doesn't fall of the wagon this time, so there's no depressing plummet into alcoholism but he does have some particularly annoying traits. You can't help thinking, your adopted little girl and the couple that run your business when you're off fucking everything up are gonna die, man, reign yourself back in. I guess this is why good old Dave is a character you can't help but get emotionally invested in, whether it be good shit or bad shit, you're in it for the duration.
To the story, Dave runs into ex college buddy Dixie Lee Pugh, in a diner. Dixie has problems and soon enough Dave's paying a visit to the hospital, he didn't want to get involved but you know, he might just end up helping the guy. When he does there's no going back and pretty soon he's up on a murder charge and linked to Dixie's mafia buddies. He makes bond by mortgaging everything he owns and then he's off with his adopted charge, young Alafair, to Montana desperate to prove his innocence.
He throws himself into dangerous situations with reckless abandon, with neither thought nor care for repercussion and it’s this wildness that has you tearing your hair out. We also have the reintroduction of his old partner now working for the mafia, Clete Purcell and their relationship is yet another reason to draw you into a series that has some remarkably powerful characters. Mafia, the oil business and an Indian reservation all careen through Dave's life, even an Indian woman and the start of a relationship until the inevitable happens, destiny is a heavy weight on this man's shoulders and shit happens, as they say.
There's a lot of depth to the character, you frequently travel back with him to his armed forces days and Vietnam, he sees and speaks with his dead wife, dreams of her. Which reiterates the fact that she died because he was involved in something he really should have avoided but Dave Robicheaux is not someone who turns the other cheek. It's why bad things follow him relentlessly trying their best to cause him grief.
The writing is brilliant as ever, the prose is Southern fried at its most delicious, James Lee Burke paints a scene better than most, his characters are as gripping as a bear hug from the biggest wrestler and he is easily up there with my favourite authors.