There's nothing like a James Lee Burke novel! Neon Rain is the beginning of the Dave Robicheaux series, and it is an excellent read. Burke's style is unique -- he likes to make the reader think. Nothing is ever spoonfed to us. For example, there is this dark passage about a very bad man, the antagonist, dying from cancer, alone: "Somewhere down inside him, he knew that his fear of death by water had always been a foolish one. Death was a rodent that ate its way inch by inch through your entrails, chewed at your liver and stomach, severed tendon from organ, until finally, when you were alone in the dark, it sat gorged and sleek next to your head, its eyes resting, its wet muzzle like a kiss, a promise whispered in the ear." With no other description of the scene -- like the sterile hospital room, the nurses who lack compassion, the long nights, or the brutal pain -- the hopelessness of the character's situation is absolutely clear, encapsulated in this one metaphor. Death was a rodent. We have a taste of fear in our mouths that won't leave us when we put a marker in place and close the book. We know this wicked man's death was justice delivered, but we feel vulnerable to the rat ourselves. So there is some small element of conflict there as we sympathize with the dying man. Burke played on our fears, kept us intrigued to the very end, and then left us with just enough discomfort that the story will stay with us for a long time. Burke's characters are complex, flawed, interesting. Life is messy and doesn't always treat them fairly, so my heart aches for these characters as they experience tragedies, abuses, mistakes, and bad choices. But it's not just the characters that are intriguing. He knows how to make the scene come alive - literally. I highly recommend any of James Lee Burke's novels. Neon Rain is top-notch.