Thursday, November 27, 2008

In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead

From singles 2

"When people make a contract with the devil and give him an air-conditionied office to work in, he doesn't go back home easily."

Wow. By the time I finished the first chapter, page 5, I was hooked. Dave Robicheaux, New Iberia sheriff's detective, sees dead people. This isn't really the first time. Dave was communing with Annie and his dad in "Black Cherry Blues" - though I might not have told you that. This time he's getting a hand from General Hook - who you've already figured out might be "Confederate Dead".

"I need some help, general."

"You belong to the quick, you wake in the morning to the smell of flowers, a woman responds to the touch of your fingers, and you ask help of the dead, suh?"

No Clete this time (sigh). Rather, Dave is assisted by an FBI agent - Rosie Gomez. The sheriff has called in the FBI (Fart, Barf, and Incest... no, I think that is wrong) to assist in solving the case of a brutally murdered young woman. As in the best of Burke, this story is intertwined with a host of others - all interesting and, ultimately, all one. There's a movie being made in New Iberia. Julie 'Baby Feet' Balboni, old home boy, now a made man with his entourage is back in town. A body of a man Dave witnessed being killed in 1957 surfaces. Hmmm. And, everybody's seeing ghosts.

Like the rest of Burke's novels this one is peppered with fabulously evocative descriptions "his breath slid across my face like an unwashed hand", pithy prescriptions "You can't ever tell what'll fly out of a tree until you throw a rock into it", and some very funny moments.
"Oh, oh, he trying to get out on the dock, Dave. I ain't goin' out there to pull him out of the bayou this time, me. Somebody ought to give that man swimmin' lessons or a big rock, one, give people some relief"

"In the Electric Mist..." will soon be released as a film. Dave is played by Tommy Lee Jones - who might feel a bit old, skinny and craggy to me - but he ought to have a great smooth Cajun accent. Baby Feet is played by John Goodman- who isn't going to be the athlete that he is in the book- but I suspect will be oily and menacing enough. I looked at IMDB yesterday and was very pleased that everybody looked right. There is no release date yet - but I'm psyched. I'm hoping to have some moments of quiet with Dave's voice over saying something beautiful.
When I woke from my dream, the gray skies were filled with a dozen silken hot-air balloons, painted in the outrageous colors of circus wagons, houses, general stores, clumps of cows, winding bayous, until the balloons themselves were only distant specks above the summer-green horizon outside Lafayette.

One last word: denouement.

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