10 hours ago
Friday, October 4, 2013
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke
I recently stumbled across the movie version of "Electric Mist" on cable. While I enjoyed the movie, especially Tommy Lee Jones as Dave and John Goodman as the mobbed up villain, I was driven to re-read the book. And, as I expected the movie pales in comparison to Burke's great writing. Burke's use of poetic language is a great lesson to anyone who aspires to write well.
In "In the Electric Mist...." a movie crew has come to New Iberia, bringing along with it the stars, wanna-be stars, hangers-on and groupies you might expect. In addition, this movie crew brings along its mob-connected backers. As the story begins, Dave arrests the movie's stars for drunk driving. From there things go down as Dave solves a 35 year old civil rights murder--with the encouragement of a company of Confederate ghosts. While ghosts might seem corny in a hard-boiled mystery, Burke carries off the magic realism beautifully, making the surreality an important part of the story. The story, as always with Burke, ends with a spiritual affirmation, if not a total triumph of good over evil.
I highly recommend this book as well as anything by James Lee Burke to readers of both hard-boiled mysteries and literary works.