Jeff Giles
November 30, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Morning for Flamingos

Current Status
In Season
James Lee Burke
Little, Brown and Company
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction

We gave it a B+

In James Lee Burke’s third Dave Robicheaux thriller, A Morning for Flamingos, the hero is a mellow cop-a detective who never seems to arrest anybody. A Vietnam vet and recovering alcoholic, Robicheaux is now working undercover on a drug war in New Orleans. The book has the requisite amount of macho boys-in-blue patter — ”Clete backs my play or it’s up the spout,” for instance. In general, though, the prose is wistful and poetic. Robicheaux is ambivalent about his job. Instead of shooting first and asking questions later, he befriends shady characters and urges them to change their lives, which they usually do. The chief drug lord — a wonderfully engaging character who subscribes to The Atlantic — even sends Robicheaux a thank-you note. There is plenty of suspense here, and there are scores to be settled, and there are good cops and bad cops. And, of course, there’s the likable Dave Robicheaux — half Don Quixote and half Don Johnson. B+

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