Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Neon Rain

From singles 2

"...I was forced to learn about some things that went on in my head. I don't like the world the way it is, and I miss the past. It's a foolish way to be."

The Neon Rain. Introduction to Dave Robicheaux and, yes, an explanation of the nickname "Streak". Clete's there, too; troubled, into trouble. Dave and Clete are partners, but not bonded to each other as they are in future novels. I look forward to how/why Dave manages to forgive and embrace Clete. Annie's introduced and I must say she's got spirit. I understand why Dave might be instantly in love. I'm not so sure why she fell for him so quickly, however. If my first date with a man ended with me being tied up and gagged and soon to be killed in my own home, I'm thinking I probably don't show up at his houseboat after he's stood me up and rip off all my clothes.

If my only exposure to the Robicheaux novels was "The Neon Rain", I'd probably not be embarking on a 17 novel path. It lacked the finess of later writing. I missed the depth of relationship between characters- Dave's really a man on his own here. An alcoholic, man-on-his-own is just not that engaging. I have to wonder if any of my lack of enthusiasm is still the lackluster image of Alec Baldwin as Dave. On a more positive note, however, there were moments of great Burke writing.

I tried to envision the man. The face remained an empty, dark oval, like the pitted center of a rotten piece of fruit, but I could see the simian hands. They were strong, ridged with knuckles, thick across the palm, but they were not made for work or for touching a woman's breast or even for tossing a ball back and forth with boys. Instead, they curved readily around certain tools that in themselves were only discardable means to an end: the .22 Magnum revolver, the.410 pistol, the barber's razor, the cork-tipped ice pick, the Uzi. He loosed the souls from their bodies, the grief and terror from their eyes; he unstuck them from their mortal fastenings, sawed the sky loose from the earth's rim, eased them as a lover might into the wheeling of the stars. Sometimes as night he watched his deeds on the ten-o’clock news, ate ice cream out of a carton with a spoon, and felt a strange sexual arousal at the simplicity of it all, the purity, the strobelike glow where their bodies had been outlined with chalk, the remembered smell of death that was also like the smell of the sea, like copulation, like birth.

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