Yep, this is about: “James Lee Burke … one of the best writers of crime fiction in America. His prose is an uncommon mixture of taut realism and poetic eloquence.”
Well, no. His prose is an all too common mixture of “tell don’t show” from a writer who’s got the awards/status/recognition to be able to churn out second-rate books without editors saying whoa!
There are even occasions in Pegasus Descending where Burke explains that anyone in law enforcement will say …
It seems Burke has asked for the “inside” on uniform wisdom and swallowed the hype, believing it is “expert” opinion. He just loads the book with whole slabs of this hokey wisdom.
Meanwhile, internal consistency is woeful. All through the book we’re told Lefty is cruel to women, obsessed with being cruel to women, and loves to beat them with his fists.
So at the end of this book-so-tedious-by-half-way, we have Lefty stripped down and torturing someone. Except, he’s torturing the guy friend of the woman he really hates, while the woman is sitting bound on the sidelines. This is rubbish. If there was consistency in the book, and if Lefty wanted information from the woman – or the guy – he’d be torturing the woman and making the guy look on.
This is not “hard-boiled” fiction at all. It’s just hard to read.