D.A. Ball
August 05, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Pray that James Lee Burke’s 13th book is only brilliant fiction. He doesn’t seem to know that mysteries aren’t supposed to be worrisome to the soul. In 1990s America, where the old evils — cattle rustlers, bank robbers, Russians, nuclear bombs — are gone or passe, he pinpoints a terror closer to home and much more real: ethnic hatreds drunkenly ferreting in every direction. When detective Dave Robicheaux is hired to retrieve a sunken WWII Nazi submarine, he and his family are stalked by a villain so evil and slippery that he may be a satanic presence beyond the reach of law or civilization. Dixie City Jam is the apocalyptic vision of a writer scared to death of where we’re headed — and a thriller with more to say than most of us might want to hear. A+

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