Robicheaux, the novel's narrator, describes Purcel: "An average day in the life of Clete Purcel was akin to an asteroid bouncing through Levittown. Child molesters, pimps, dope dealers, and men who abused women got no slack and feared him as they would the wrath of God. But Clete's role as the merry prankster and classical trickster of folklore had a price tag. A succubus lived in his breast and gave him no respite. He had carried it with him from the Irish Channel to New Orleans to Vietnam and to the brothels of Bangkok and Cherry Alley in Tokyo and back home to New Orleans. In Clete's mind, he was not worthy of a good woman's love; nor did he measure up in the eyes of his alcoholic father, a milkman who took out his anger and low self-esteem on his confused and suffering firstborn son."