There is no question about James Lee Burke's mastery of the literary art. THE NEW IBERIA RULES is yet another example of great storytelling, the unique backdrop of culture that pervades the New Iberia part of Louisiana, and characters good, bad, and pure evil. Another great read. That said, I have to say I think this may be the darkest Dave Robicheaux novel Burke had written. Darker crimes, darker characters, darker human failings - just darker all over. And with Dave and his personal sidekick, Purcell, we see them both experiencing more PTSD and visions that come out of their respective pasts. But in this book, the visions are more real (to the characters) than before, and some of them are downright "out there." So much so, that I wonder how Burke will craft the story in his next novel - if there is one. Great writing, great story, but don't expect to have a comfortable, fun read.