In A Private Cathedral, ex-cop Dave Robicheaux and his best friend Clete are trying to save teenager Isolde Balangie from abuse by Mark Shondell. But there is much more going on here.
The Balangie and Shondell families have hated each other for four hundred years. Hoping to finally end the feud, the Balangies have sent Isolde as a peace offering, and future sex slave, for the head of the Shondell family, Mark. Isolde, meanwhile, has fallen in love with young Johnny Shondell, who is Mark’s nephew.
While the plot setup has obvious ties to Romeo and Juliet, that is not why people read the Robicheaux books. The characters are definitely original and not politically correct at all. The plot meanders away from a typical thriller by including some paranormal elements. Everyone is violent—often for the most trivial reasons.
But the writing! The prose reads like poetry. The languid feeling of the bayou’s excess humidity combines with the anticipation of squeezing the best out of life before it’s too late. Fatalism oozes from A Private Cathedral’s every pore.
This is not a book to be read quickly, like most thrillers. It is meant to be savored. A single line may resonate in your thoughts for hours, even days. This is an author at the top of his form. 5 stars!
Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.