A formula book is a contract between the author and his readers, and James Lee Burke’s fifth Dave Robicheaux mystery delivers what Burke has always promised his fans. Once again, Robicheaux, a Vietnam veteran and recovering alcoholic haunted by his past and the murder of his first wife, battles violence and evil in southern Louisiana with courage and wit; once again he tries to protect his vulnerable family — his adopted daughter, and his second wife, who has lupus. No real surprises. More of the same, only better. Even the occasional overwriting can be forgiven for the wonderful descriptions of the flora, fauna, and food of southern Louisiana. The dialogue in A Stained White Radiance is, as always, superb. B+