CREOLE BELL, by James Lee Burke

19/series. The unique team of Dave Robichaux and Clete Purcel are at it again, this time on the track of Tee Jolie Melton, a young woman who appears to Dave in a morphine-addled dream. He later learns she was kidnapped; her sister, Blue, subsequently vanishes. As with all Burke’s novels, the violence and gore is copious, the one-liners bitingly funny, the plot subtle and the characters unique and fascinating. But the pontificating is starting to get to me. No author, regardless of chops, ought to pause at the beginning of a fight scene to muse for paragraphs, for Pete’s sake, upon the state of the world, no matter how dire and depressing it is. And Clete’s big theatre piece is too bizarre and improbable for words, to say nthing of the vilian's lair. A Hail Mary 4, and just barely.