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“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” – Mark Twain

New York Times best seller, "Neon Rain"

Travels With Maggie

Last night, after Maggie and I had crawled into bed in the childhood bedroom of my grown granddaughter, Shanna, where I sleep at my oldest daughter’s home because I can’t plug into an electrical outlet, I turned on my Kindle.

My neck started getting uncomfortable after I had read for about a half hour. But since I still wasn’t ready for the sandman, I switched to one of the audible books I had downloaded.

I had put off getting a Kindle for a long time because I loved the magic of holding a real book in my hand. It took all of about 10 minutes, however, before I decided the Kindle had just as much magic, perhaps even more so because if I decided I wanted a certain book, I could be reading it in less than a minute.

But back to last night. My choice of listening pleasure was “The Neon Rain,” a Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke. The book had

New Orleans' Bourbon Street in 2003 -- Wikipedia photo

been on sale through Amazon’s Audible.com and on a whim I had bought it since I had already used my two monthly credits.

While I’m a big fan of murder mysteries, I quickly realized this one, whose hero is a New Orleans homicide detective with a Vietnam past, is darker than the cozy mysteries I favor. Burke puts into words what the authors I usually read keep hidden behind closed doors.

His descriptive phrases are gritty and complete, and Will Patton, the book’s narrator, captures Robicheaux’s dark character completely.

New Orleans French Quarter -- Wikipedia photo

What kept me reading, however, was that Burke had created Robicheaux in both black and white, and made him likeable. Underneath the toughness was a gentleman with depth, and Burke’s descriptive writing captured both sides.

I recently watched the movie “Salt’ with my daughter and her husband. At the end, the three of us sort of shook our heads.

“Not really a great movie,” my son-in-law, Neal, said.

“That’s because there was never any one to root for,” I replied.

The fact that I can root for Robicheaux, and that Burke is a writer’s writer, will keep me reading/listening  to the end of “The Neon Rain.”

I will, however, continue to favor my more cozy mysteries, where the object is to simply to figure out who-done-it. But I also recognize that it’s good to once in a while be jolted back to reality and the knowledge that there is a dark side to the world – and as Twain says, a dark side within each of us’

Thankfully, most of us keep that side hidden behind closed doors.

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