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1. The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux
2. The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux)
3. Lay Down My Sword and Shield
4. Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux, No.
5. White Doves at Morning: A Novel
6. Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux
7. Rain Gods: A Novel
8. Bitterroot
9. Last Car to Elysian Fields: A
10. BURNING ANGEL (Dave Robicheaux
11. A Stained White Radiance (A Dave
12. In the Moon of Red Ponies: A Billy
13. Crusader's Cross: A Dave Robicheaux
14. The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux
15. The Day the Universe Changed:
16. In The Electric Mist With Confederate
17. Jolie Blon's Bounce
18. The Convict and Other Stories
19. Heaven's Prisoners (Dave Robicheaux
20. Half of Paradise

1. The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
by James Lee Burke
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2010-07-13)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$11.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439128294
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
James Lee Burke’s eagerly awaited new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, Louisiana, and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered. While the crimes have all the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of Bernadette Latiolais, a high school honor student, doesn’t fit: she is not the kind of hapless and marginalized victim psychopaths usually prey upon. Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, confront Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer whom both men despise. When Stanga turns up dead shortly after a fierce beating by Purcel, in front of numerous witnesses, the case takes a nasty turn, and Clete’s career and life are hanging by threads over the abyss.

Adding to Robicheaux’s troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, on leave from Stanford Law to put the finishing touches on her novel. Her literary pursuit has led her into the arms of Kermit Abelard, celebrated novelist and scion of a once prominent Louisiana family whose fortunes are slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana’s subculture. Abelard’s association with bestselling ex-convict author Robert Weingart, a man who uses and discards people like Kleenex, causes Robicheaux to fear that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. As his daughter seems to drift away from him, he wonders if he has become a victim of his own paranoia. But as usual, Robicheaux’s instincts are proven correct and he finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.

Set against the backdrop of an Edenic paradise threatened by pernicious forces, James Lee Burke’s The Glass Rainbow is already being hailed as perhaps the best novel in the Robicheaux series. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (118)

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Jimmy Lee book ever
Been a big fan of Jimmy Lee for a long time. This is his worst ever.

I cannot recommend this book to anyone, even to long-time followers of the author. Go back and read "Lay Down My Sword and Shield" or "The Lost Get-Back Boogie." Better yet, "Neon Rain". Anything but this.

Can only guess that there was a contract to meet with the publisher - because this just doesn't measure up to JLB's previous works.

2-0 out of 5 stars Cheated; that simple
The ending of The Glass Rainbow is callow nonsense. As you read the last pages, remember these are first-person narratives, and you will see that Burke cheats -- not one way but two. I'll leave the first for you to discover but the big cheat is that he uses the suddenly vogue scam of keeping back the conclusion, like a stripper carefully managing her fan, for the next volume. Well, I have firsts of all the Robicheauxes and even all the Hollands, and I won't be buying the next one new. When I buy a book, I expect a book, not half a book.

3-0 out of 5 stars JLB using the same template much too often!
I've read each one of James Lee Burke's books a minimum of three times. Enjoyed them all! They stand up to re-reading quite well.

However, JLB has gone to the "cut & paste" routine much to often now. This latest..."The Glass Rainbow", is predicable, repetitious and a far cry from the Burke of old. Frankly, it's not worth the price of a new book. It should properly be priced as a "used' book......

I hope it's not to late to read an "original" Burke again!

3-0 out of 5 stars Dave & Clete beat the bad guys
The story line was interesting enough and their was a lot of excitment.My complaint was that the author introduced too much superfluous information in various events.James Lee Burke obviously thought it enhanced the story. I disagree and I think the story could have been told in far less than 433 pages. I'll bet that this is not the best novel in the Robicheaux series.I must say that Clete Purcel is quite an interesting guy and he adds a lot to the story.Don't be surprised if he returns in the next novel as a reformed sobor slooth that has even given up his Luckies.Another reason credit should be given to Burke is that he challenges his readers with 50 cent words.Even a person who reads a lot has to refer to the dictionary upon reading to get the full meaning of the paragraph. I wouldn't say that Burke's novel was easy reading, but overall it wasn't bad; hense I gave 3 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue." Song Lyrics
What could possibly draw the attention of Dave Robicheaux and the New Iberia Police Department more than the death of seven young women?

Even more, Dave is concerned that one of the women killed doesn't fit the profile. Bernadette Latiolais was a high school student who was well thought of and had been offered a college scholarship.

When a body is dumped in the field of a cane farmer in New Iberia Parish, Dave Robicheaux and his boss, Helen Soileau, find something that connects with Bernadette and begin their investigation.

Dave hooks up with his old and loyal friend, Clete Purcel and they turn their attention to a former pimp named Herman Stagna. When Stagna and Clete get into a confrontation, Herman ends up severly beaten and hospitalized. He initiates the process of suing Clete. Later, when something happens to Herman, Clete becomes the central suspect.

As an interesting aside to the story, Dave Robicheaux's daughter, Alafair is attempting to get her first novel published. This reality mixed with the mystery gave me added enjoyment. I believe that it demonstrates how proud the author must be of his real life daughter, Alafair and her success as a novelist.

I also found the author's literary style of first person narrative, mixed in with Alafair's contributions to the story, to be well done.

The setting, as always with James Lee Burke, is described as if the reader was seeing a painting of the action drawn before them, "...a town square that opened onto lovely vistas of oak trees and flowers...planted along the bayou's edge." Very visual and pleasing.

The novel will keep the reader's attention as the story unfolds and once again, Dave Robicheaux shows that he is one of the finest characters in literature. ... Read more

2. The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 528 Pages (2008-06-17)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416548505
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the waning days of summer, 2005, a storm with greater impact than the bomb that struck Hiroshima peels the face off southern Louisiana.

This is the gruesome reality Iberia Parish Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux discovers as he is deployed to New Orleans. As James Lee Burke's new novel, The Tin Roof Blowdown, begins, Hurricane Katrina has left the commercial district and residential neighborhoods awash with looters and predators of every stripe. The power grid of the city has been destroyed, New Orleans reduced to the level of a medieval society. There is no law, no order, no sanctuary for the infirm, the helpless, and the innocent. Bodies float in the streets and lie impaled on the branches of flooded trees. In the midst of an apocalyptical nightmare, Robicheaux must find two serial rapists, a morphine-addicted priest, and a vigilante who may be more dangerous than the criminals looting the city.

In a singular style that defies genre, James Lee Burke has created a hauntingly bleak picture of life in New Orleans after Katrina. Filled with complex characters and depictions of people at both their best and worst, The Tin Roof Blowdown is not only an action-packed crime thriller, but a poignant story of courage and sacrifice that critics are already calling Burke's best work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (167)

5-0 out of 5 stars after Katrina
good thriller well set in the after days of Katrina, the pleasure of reading a thriller plus the possibily to think a little further........

5-0 out of 5 stars "Satan...may build a barrier about us, but he can never roof us in, so that we cannot look up." J. Hudson Taylor
Hurricane Katrina smashes into New Orleans with the "...explosive force several times that of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945."

The tidal surge undermines the levee system and devastates much of New Orleans. The hardest hit of all was the lower income, Ninth Ward.

People didn't know what to expect. They filled the roads in their automobiles and busses, attempting to escape the storm and authorities were telling those left behind to come to the Convention Center. However, there were no services there. Bodies were left outside, toilets didn't work and the suffering was extreme.

While some people were looting, others were organizing into vigilante groups to protect their homes.

This tremendous novel details the heartakes and devastation of New Orleans after the storm. The reader experiences the hunt for the remaining two thieves by those attempting to regain the lost valuables. The author follows the actions of various characters as the storm approaches, when it hits and in the aftermath.

When Dave Robicheaux becomes involved we see the sorrow he feels about his city. The action includes his daughter, Alafair and his friend Clete Purcell.

This is a can't put down novel where the story will enthrall and haunt the reader well into the future. I was captivated by the story, by the effect of the storm on the innocent as well as on the criminals.The author's description of how the storm damage made the law enforcement personnel feel compared to the loss of a loved one, a city that they grew up in, worked in and felt safe in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burke does a world class job
James Lee Burke writes with a gritty style, using characters, settings, and issues from the underbelly of southern Louisiana. In his latest book, Burke starts with the premise that Hurricane Katrina damaged New Orleans more than the bomb that struck Hiroshima. Burke manipulates the plot to include events before, during, and after Katrina. His words ring true.

Dave Robicheaux is a compassionate cop who is sucked into the vortex of a Katrina style "blowdown." Murders, drugs, in your face evil, graphic language, and down home characters - good and bad - confront readers with the historical, world class disaster we call Katrina. In this novel, Burke does a world class job.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Tin Roof Blowdown--Katrina
I am from Louisiana. I spent lots of time in New Iberia and Lafayette. My cousins lived in New Orleans as did their children.I have read many of James Lee Burke's novels. I really enjoy all of them. I was disappointed by this one.
Here is Dave Robichaux and Clete Purcell going at it again. Mr Burke really slams the authorities. Good for him.
I have despised these jackasses for a very long time. The entire world witnessed the biggest screwups on our planet. People and beloved pets died by the thousands.

Instead of describing the effects of Katrina on our state and our people, he keeps his characters in New Iberia. What???
I was not interested in criminals and what mischief they were doing. I was thinking to myself, let me have a big gun and I will
go down there and blow their behinds to Cuba. This novel was frustrating to me. I was waiting for Katrina to emerge from the

To me, it seemed that Mr. Burke didn't really know what to say. Some of the narration seemed awkward and I wasn't really sure what the point was. Well, anyway, I still like you and wish you well!

Sara Howard, Author of Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moonand
The Biggest Explosions in the Universe

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but why so violent?
I'm a long-time reader of Clete Purcell and Dave Robicheaux's adventures in enforcing the law, both that written in the law books and those of their own moral code. The major plot lines in this book center on Louisiana's lingering racial problems and its victims, particularly women; the devastating economical despair left in the wake of 2005's Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and the relentless hold of legalized gambling in the Mississipi Delta.

As gambling continues to prosper, the Mob becomes more and more involved, including sadistic enforcers whose only joy comes from inflicting pain. If that weren't bad enough, Dave's beloved daughter, Alafair, is hanging with the wrong crowd as she seeks "realism" for her attempt at a novel

While I will always love Burke's brilliant writing, so skillful that by now I feel I've been in Louisiana many times, I can't help but feel that this is just another familiar plot, dressed up with riverboat gambling and killers for hire. Dave goes to bat for Justice, crosses the line, gets in trouble with his boss, et cetera. Furthermore, my imagination was sufficient to conjure up images of what the sadist does; I didn't need such gruesome detail.

P.S. I, too, am a recovering alcoholic (14 yrs.) and he has the AA experience spot on. ... Read more

3. Lay Down My Sword and Shield
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 311 Pages (2010-02-16)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439165459
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
'As I stood there on my front porch that hot, breathless July day, leaning against the column with the six bullet holes, now worn and smooth, I could see Hack's whitewashed marker under the pin oaks in the Holland family cemetery... Four generations of my family were buried there.'

Hack Holland is a product of the South, both old and new. Hard-drinking ex-POW and wealthy, progressive Democrat, he stands in the long shadow cast by his ancestors. When Holland's candidacy for a congressional seat brings him increasingly into conflict with those around him, his almost unwitting involvement with a violent civil rights conflict forces him to reassess his future - and his past...Amazon.com Review


The hero of James Lee Burke's recent bestseller Rain Gods, cousin to lawman Billy Bob Holland, and a genuine product of the South, both old and new, Hackberry Holland makes his first appearance in this early gem from "America's best novelist" (The Denver Post). Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat -- and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers. And when Hack attempts to overturn an old army buddy's conviction, and crosses paths with a beautiful union organizer who speaks to his heart in a way no one else has, he finds both a new love and a new purpose as he breaks free from the shackles of wealth and expectation to bring justice to the underserved.

Read the first chapter for Lay Down My Sword and Shield. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

1-0 out of 5 stars Weak and tedious
As with all other books by James Lee Burke, this is beautifully written. However, the hero(?), Hack Holland, never seems believable to me. To the extent he is, I utterly dislike him - he's a two-dimensional character who is an alcoholic and a womanizer. That I can take, but what I don't understand is why such a nogood would have the slightest interest in Mexican laborers, other that to get drunk a lot and often have sex with a beautiful Spanish woman.

It's as if an untalented writer wrote most of a book and, then, paid James Lee Burke to write the descriptive parts. I'll admit that, according to my Kindle download, I've read only 85% of the book. However, I doubt I'll read the rest because I really just have no interest in finding out what happens to Hack Holland, his girlfriend, wife or brother.

I'm going back to Dave Robicheaux.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bobo
James Lee Burke's books are always well written, poignant. He is one of my favorite authors and never miss one of his if can help it.His writing I consider literature more than most best sellers.When reading his descriptions of locale, always seems to actually place one in the scene. One can feel the wind, feel the sun, hear the leaves in the trees; is actually like being there.

1-0 out of 5 stars Different strokes for different folks
I appreciate that people have different tastes but this is the only suspense type book that I just could not bother finishing.I put it down three times and then a few days later decided to give it another try.Got about 2/3 through and decided I had much better things to do and books to read.The central figure is totally without virtue, as I'm sure the author intended.I'm also confident that if I finished the book, which I won't, I'd find some redeeming features shining through.So??I found it predictable and "hack-neyed".
Spend your time on some other book/author.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Transformation and Redemption

Lay Down My Sword And Shield by James Lee Burke

This book details the rebirth of Hackberry Holland. He returned from the Korean War, rebuilt his life and now he is recreating himself. The hard panned setting and historic family background contribute to his reassessment of his identity.

Describing the book doesn't really do justice to the story or it's fluidity. The author reminds me of Pat Conroy and his poetry like prose. The descriptions of the countryside and people are thorough and beautiful.Hack's experiences as a POW in Korea are horrific. His sublimation of both experience and emotions would fit quite well with PTSD victims in today's conflicts. His drinking appears to be fuel by displaced anger. Hack's reactions to his environment and his refusal to be what his family expects him to be as opposed to what he wants to be is a thumbnail of the book's plot.

We tend to forget how recent equal rights are. There are parts of the book that seem practically fantastic that are supported by facts and recollection of the times. I suspect younger readers may even find some of the incidents hard to believe. Burke's book was extraordinarily done.

I highly recommend the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Texas Two-Step
Bound: SunPost Weekly March 4, 2010
James Lee Burke Drinks Deep from the Heart of Texas
John Hood

Hackberry Holland pisses me off. As a matter of fact Hack pisses off a lot people, so I doubt seriously he's worried about some cat down in Miami. Hell, the Texas mouthpiece probably doesn't even notice just how pissed off he makes me. Why would he? He generally doesn't notice how pissed off he makes anybody else either. And that includes his close friends and his immediate family. Okay, so he does notice. But he sure doesn't seem to care a whit.

Then again, Hack's pretty pissed off his own damn self, so he probably figures he's got a right to piss off everybody else too. With his near dead drunkenness and his relentless disregard, the man almost reeks of entitlement.

Of course Hack being to the manor born and not wanting anything to do with it or its privileges has a lot to do with his foul disposition. And then there's that heavy haunting from his days as a North Korean P.O.W. But Hack's being groomed to inherit his rightful place among the powerful - in his case, as a U.S. Congressman representing the great state of Texas. And Hack's as excited about that as he about everything else in his guided life. In other words: he isn't.

But when a former fellow warrior gets in a jam and calls on his ol' pal, Hack Holland sees something to lash out against. When Hack gets lashed back - and good, he's got himself a cause.

If I write this implying Hack Holland is a real life anti-hero doing some strange and violent version of the Texas Two-Step, well, you'll have to blame James Lee Burke. See it was JLB who brought the brawling lone star to life in the best-selling Rain Gods. Little did many folks know though that Hack had appeared long beforehand, in a muddy and bloody book entitled Lay Down My Sword and Shield (Gallery Books $15). That was back in '71, and despite the good writer's hitlist status, it's been pretty much out of print since.

Now it's back on the racks. Anyone who's ever read anything by James Lee Burke will know his characters come fitted with torn flesh and broken bone so vivid you too often forget it's fiction. And if you know this, then you'll wanna know more, much more, about their origins - and their horrors.

The title to Hack's first showing is, I imagine, taken from the traditional spiritual "Down by the Riverside," a song that seems to be at once uplifting and soul crushing. If I get it straight, it's about the joy of surrender. And if I know anything about surrender; there is no joy in it whatsoever.

But that's another story, for scholars far more astute than I am. As for James Lee Burke's Sword and Shield, well, I can tell you this: those depths that you think you've descended to go a whole lot deeper than you thought. And down there, at the very bottom, where even a single breath has to be ripped from the earth; that's where redemption begins. To go there at all is a hell few can fathom. To come back though, kicking and screaming and clawing your way to a place where you can at last hold your head up and look yourself in the eye. That's heaven.

And here in this story the man who would become Grand Master showed the whole wild world he was already capable of going deep, real deep, and still reaching great heights. ... Read more

4. Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux, No. 17)
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 592 Pages (2009-05-26)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416548548
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Trouble follows Dave Robicheaux.

James Lee Burke's new novel, Swan Peak, finds Detective Robicheaux far from his New Iberia roots, attempting to relax in the untouched wilderness of rural Montana. He, his wife, and his buddy Clete Purcell have retreated to stay at an old friend's ranch, hoping to spend their days fishing and enjoying their distance from the harsh, gritty landscape of Louisiana post-Katrina.

But the serenity is soon shattered when two college students are found brutally murdered in the hills behind where the Robicheauxs and Purcell are staying. They quickly find themselves involved in a twisted and dangerous mystery involving a wealthy, vicious oil tycoon, his deformed brother and beautiful wife, a sexually deviant minister, an escaped con and former country music star, and a vigilante Texas gunbull out for blood. At the center of the storm is Clete, who cannot shake the feeling that he is being haunted by the ghosts from his past -- namely Sally Dio, the mob boss he'd sabotaged and killed years before.

In this expertly drawn, gripping story, Burke deftly weaves intricate, engaging plotlines and original, compelling characters with his uniquely graceful prose. He transcends genre yet again in the latest thrilling addition to his New York Times bestselling series. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (97)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Parallel Universe Bar & Grilled
I've just finished reading the entire series in order - from Neon Rain to Swan Peak.I had already read them as they came out, but decided that due to a dirth in reading material, I'd spend the late winter walking with Robicheaux into Spring.

WHEW!Man, I'm tired.Over the years, I've quoted Burke-via-Robicheaux at AA meetings, tacked up favorite Clete & Dave-isms in my office, and a friend of mine and I have discussed the books at length.I'm a fan - a very dedicated one - and have preordered The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel.When I lived in the middle of nowhere for several years, Burke's Robicheaux was my defacto AA Sponsor, whether he knew it or not.I read each new book with hunger, and many a long night was spent not drinking because Dave was showing me other ways to get through a day.He still does.Now, with all that in mind...

If you read them as I did, back to back non-stop, patterns begin to emerge that you (I) kind of glossed over when read the first time.To wit:

Dave hates Republicans, and distrusts any member of the clergy who isn't Catholic.He also assumes that everyone in an upper tax bracket either killed, owned, or abused people to get there.Several of them have crippled wives, cruel wives, or stupid ones.And don't get him started on the Federal Government, George Bush, prison gaurds, or prosecutors.In Dave's world, gangbangers have more morality and humanity.

I'm not suggesting that Burke Tivo's Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman, or spends his down time writing hate mail to Sarah Palin when he isn't throwing darts at pictures of the Bush family.However, as he marches his family of damaged humans through the putrid landfill of man's inhumanity to man, .45 at the ready, he does tilt hard against even social conservatives.For some reason, they are all either terribly misguided, morally bankrupt, or wantonly cruel to those who don't think as they do.Have a problem with Helen Soileau's bisexuality?You're a cretin, you express yourself as such, and you are in for an ass-whuppin'.

In short, Dave is guilty of everything he hates about his enemies.He's judgemental to the point of violence, and quick to stereotype your God-forsaken soul.If he doesn't have the stomach to take you down, he'll unleash Clete or one of your evil peers on you, and your undoing is as creative as it is crushing.His only real nod to acknowledging that even liberals can be - well - choking weeds in the otherwise beautiful human landscape - is when he dismantles the occasional pompous college professor or neighborhood do-gooder.

His attempts to rewrite history so that we can all better understand, say, the Confederacy, is depressing.It really was all about slavery, Dave.No one is saying there weren't good people otherwise on both sides of the North/South line, but being the apologist for those who felt they had the right to own slaves and would kill to keep it is a bit shallow, to be kind about it.

I love the stories and the characters overall, and always will.They kept a LOT of my own "snakes in their baskets" through the years.Burke's creations are head and shoulders above any mystery writer out there in many ways, and Dave is a good soul, if not a really harsh one.I'd have him and Clete for dinner with my family anytime, and if in the end Dave wanted to tell me that I was a disingenuos hypocrite, while Clete eyed me sadly because I voted against Obama, I'd apologize for not having fresh mint leaves for his Dr. Pepper, then I would tell him he was alright.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bring Dave and Clete HOME
I love and I've read all of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux mysteries...WHEN THEY ARE SET IN NEW IBERIA, LA.His descriptions of his surroundings are part of what I love about his books (even though, sometimes it IS hard to imagine these old guys fighting like young Steven Seagals).I just don't get it...Swan Peak was just like all the others except he's changed the scenery, but I just couldn't imagine Dave and Clete doing the things that they usually do, in Montana.If this book HAD been set in New Iberia, I suspect I would have given the book more of a chance, but I just can't get with this renegade Louisiana detective in Montana.I just want James Lee to bring Dave and Clete back HOME.

3-0 out of 5 stars Better than "Moon for Red Ponies", but far from best
I give this 3 stars because it is still a cut-and-paste like his last book I read, but this one is a *little* better. If you have not read JLB books before, do NOT get this one. The series has been going on a long time, it makes not a lot of sense if not read in order, and the earlier ones are so so much better.
Why not 5 stars?
- The characters are old now and timeline make no sense. They were kids in the 1940s and evidently STILL have not recovered from serving in 'Nam. This book is set in 2007. Can you imagine a 70 year old +/- psychotic Nam vet and semi-rogue cop going into a biker bar, kicking as5, and walking out with the girl?
- In an earlier review, I wondered why Clete always ends up in bed with a bad-guy wife or girlfriend and the evil rich guy's wife is always ill or crippled. This book hardly gets going when Clete is in bed with the bad guy's wife, bur this time the evil guy is the crippled one ROFLMAO!
- Speaking of evil rich guys, you cannot be rich and not be evil in JLB's world.
- All the vastly overdone descriptions of the landscape are as overdone as ever.
- Characters STILL smell like testoserone like every other book.
- Troyce Nix, Iraq veteran and torturer at Abu Ghraib, somehow becomes a "founding officer" of a contract prison and proceeds to rape and brutalize inmates. This guy ends up being a good guy??? Say what?!?
- The dialogue can get really really bad when he tries to deal with people NOT born in the late 1930s. Double Puke-O ..........????

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Read!
In this newest book the Louisiana crime fighters have moved to s new state.Clete Purcel and Dave Robicheaux now
call Montana home. They have plans to fish and relax in their new homw state. The state of Montana is shattered when two college students are found murdered. Clete and Dave become the target of a cunning and vicious oil tycoon. Ridley Wellstone and his goons keep coming into the picture and providing problems. They are always one step ahead of the law. Clete has always been a suspect in the plane crash that killed Sally Dio a hoodlum from Galveston. Mix into this story line Jimmy Dale Greenwood a former singer who has escaped from prison by cutting up Troyce Nix a part owner of the prison. Jimmy Dale's former singing partner is also in play. She was Jimmy Dale's love interest, Her name is Jamie Sue Wellstone who has married into the Welstone family. One question that sticks out is whether or not Sally Dio is dead or alive. All of this comes to a smashing conclusion. Be sure to read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER ONE TO RECOMMEND
Reading a J.L. Burke novel is like visiting old friends.The main characters are always solid and the author easily includes references to other books without becoming confusing.I am a true fan of Burke's writing even though the plots are similar - if not predictable.He incorporates poetry, philosophy, theology, and prison slang in a masterful way.These are books that I usually don't want to put down but also don't want to be over.After all the development, as is often the case in this genre, the climax and resolution occurs in a couple of paragraphs.Maybe life is like that.The epilogue was especially appreciated in weaving the loose ends. ... Read more

5. White Doves at Morning: A Novel
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (2004-04-27)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743466624
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

A riveting evocation of the Civil War, drawn from the true family history of "America's best novelist" (The Denver Post), JAMES LEE BURKE

1861. Two young Southerners, friends despite their differing political views and backgrounds, enlist in the 18th Louisiana regiment of the Confederate Army: Robert Perry, wealthy and privileged, and irreverent Willie Burke, the son of Irish immigrants, face the trials of battle and find redemption in the love of a passionate and committed abolitionist, Abigail Downing, and in the courageous struggle of Flower Jamison, a beautiful slave. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters, and penetrating a landscape of shattering Civil War bloodshed as few novels have, this epic from an American literary giant endows readers with the gift of experiencing the past through new eyes, while its timeless prose style -- at once luminous and brutal -- ensures the legacy of this bloodiest of conflicts will never be lost. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

3-0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction about the Civil War from James Lee Burke
"White Doves at Morning" (2002) is a standalone historical novel by James Lee Burke, critically-acclaimed and highly-popular author of the Dave Robicheaux series of Southern mystery novels, noir police procedurals set, at least initially, in what is more or less his home turf, about which we've recently been hearing so much, America's Gulf Coast, more particularly New Orleans and New Iberia, Louisiana.

Like the Robicheaux novels, "White Doves" is set largely in the Gulf Coast, entirely in the South, during the American Civil War and the ensuing period, known as "Reconstruction," though there was precious little reconstruction getting done.At the center of the novel are, apparently, two of Burke's own ancestors, Robert Perry, from a slave-owning, wealthy family, and Willie Burke, from a family of Irish immigrants, both apparently decent and conscientious men, who, even so, join the Confederate Army.Both men rather fancy Abigail Dowling, a beautiful Massachusetts abolitionist who has taken up residence in New Iberia, the better to fight slavery.Burke has taught to read and write- against all local law and custom-- Flower Jamison, beautiful mulatto daughter of a slave and Irv Jamison, the ruthless owner of the immense Angola Plantation. Which Jamison will convert to the notorious Angola prisoner after war's end. (We'll be introduced to many rich and arrogant men in Burke's work).

As ever, Burke's descriptions of the country where he was born, and has set his most successful novels, are outstanding.His description of the Civil War, a horrendously long and bloody event, and its effects upon man, beast, and countryside are also outstanding, particularly the famous battles of Shiloh and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.I'd say he knew quite a lot about that war, must have researched it further, and successful absorbed his research findings.His depiction of his female protagonists is, I'd say, less successful: Burke may sympathize with women and their problems, but that doesn't mean he understands them, either one.

Louisiana is more or less home country for Burke, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, a pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

Some of Burke's more recent, best-selling novels in the Robicheaux series are Jolie Blon's Bounce, Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries), and Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries).Burke's work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant.His early novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.At least eight of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

"White Doves," is, to me, a perfectly acceptable, good job of work, but it's neither outstanding, nor particularly memorable.Seems like most, if not all, mystery authors, even the best of them, itch to try their hands at something else, and Burke is as free as anyone to try his hand at different genres.But he has a powerful creation in Robicheaux, one he is not likely to be able to duplicate elsewhere. Certainly not in "White Doves."

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
I have been reading James Lee Burke's books for the past year. Gone through them like a great meal.
In general they blow my mind. Burke combines fascinating characters that motivate interesting plots with prose that
whistles off the page. Often in Burke's books there is either references to the Civil War or actual
reminisces. Finally a full blown novel of the War. Every page feels like Burke must have relished finally writing his Civil War novel. I haven't dared writing a review of any of Burke's books because he is just too damn good to review. White Doves somehow has moved me to write. Usually I am not interested in historical novels. White Doves makes books like Gone With The Wind an embarrassment. Do yourself a favor read James Lee Burke. Take a trip back in our countries history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great scenes, poor dialogue
I received this book in a box lot on ebay and decided to give it a try. I found the author's ability to write vivid and dramatic scenes very impressive. There are enough reviews here to tell the plot of the book, so I won't go into that.
My main criticism of the book is the bland dialogue that took me right out of the historic mood that the author, otherwise, does such a great job of creating. As a historical fiction author, I have taken great pains to study 19th century language and speech, so maybe I am overly sensitive. But there were many modern words and usages that stopped me dead and were very disappointing.
That said, it appears the author is usually a mystery/crime writer, and judging from the pictures he paints with words, is a good one.
My other criticism is that the plot leans a little too far for me toward the often-taught myth that slavery was the cause of the War Between the States. I prefer seeing a little more balance - even in fiction.
Jessica James
Award-winning author
of Shades of Gray

3-0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
This is a very well written novel, with lots of good Civil War history worked in, although I agree with one other reviewer here that at times the characters became "preachy stereotypes," and another who said some characters' actions were unrealistic for the society, time period, etc.But, still, I greatly enjoyed it, and I found Willie Burke to be a very engaging character - I loved his smart remarks made almost always at the worst possible moments!I also like the complicated character of Flower's white father - I kept hoping he'd become a better person and was suprised more than once by his actions, good and bad.Flower is maybe a bit too good to be true, but I still felt myself hoping for her to get through all her ordeals and make a good life for herself.It's not a romantic look at the times, like Gone With The Wind, so don't expect that "vibe," but it's got content that will make you sometimes wince, shudder, laugh or cry.Definitely worth the reading!

4-0 out of 5 stars Burke - forever the master of words
I listed to this book on audio cassette.The narrator, Ed Sala is a master of many voices. His voice alone makes the book worth listening to. And of course, James Lee Burke is a master of words and a master of creating a plot and story line that is intriguing and suspenseful.

A wonderful and power book to listen to that brings many aspects of the Civil War and how it effecter ordinary people.

... Read more

6. Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (2007-08-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416513450
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When a nice young woman named Trish Klein blows into Louisiana passing hundred-dollar bills in local casinos, detective Dave Robicheaux senses a storm bearing down on his new life of contentment....Twenty-five years ago, lost in a drunken haze in Florida, Robicheaux was too far gone to save his friend and fellow 'Nam vet Dallas Klein, murdered in cold blood for gambling debts. Now, the arrival of Dallas's daughter opens a door locked long ago, and extracting her motives points Robicheaux to the suicide of a local "good girl" pulled into a vortex of power, sex, and death. It's Robicheaux's most personally painful case -- a roller coaster of passion, surprise, and regret -- and it may be his deadliest. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (117)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling
This is one of the better Dave Robicheaux novels.His characters are as compelling as ever and his descriptions of Louisiana almost make you feel as if you have lived there all of your life.This book is equal doses or mystery, procedural drama, and social commentary.The marks against it are for the fact the Bella Lujian seems to be a reqworking of the same old Robicheaux villains and for the over the top connection to Katrina.If Burke needed to make a statement about Katrina he could have done it through a story instead of a sermon.

5-0 out of 5 stars pegasus Descending
Another excellent Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke, a master storyteller. You'll feel you're actually down there in New Orleans and in New Iberia, LA .

Riveting murder mystery as are all of Burke's books. I'd recomment this to anyone who likes to read a book he hates to put down.I'm only sorry that I got to the end of the book. I keep wanting more!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pegasus Descending - A Dave Robicheaux novel
James Lee Burke is a brilliant storyteller who writes multilayered, gripping, thrilling mysteries that are profoundly honest as they capture the flavor of the Louisiana bayou atmosphere.His work is intelligent, thoughtful, satisfying, and beautifully atmospheric.Burke's prose is lyrical, his characters complex, sharply and richly drawn.Burke has won two Edgar Awards and many New York Times bestsellers. I have read all of his books and eagerly look forward to the next one.

5-0 out of 5 stars "...wish to rise? Begin by descending...plan a tower to reach the clouds? Lay ...the foundation in humility." St. Augustus
Dave Robicheaux is working on three cases that he comes to believe are connected.

The first is the case of a young co-ed who is found dead of apparent suicide but the facts don't add up.

Then there is a black vagrant whose body is found in a gulley by the road. He is so decomposed, he is given the nickname the Crustation man. Not many people would care for the apparent victim of a hit and run but to Dave, it is a matter of justice.

Besides the third case, Dave is asked to question a young woman who is passing money at a casino that looks like it has the markings of a former hold up. Dave finds that this woman is the daughter of a friend that Dave had seen killed during an armored car robbery.

The third death is that of a college student. There had been a racial incident and the black man involved was known to sell drugs. The ambitious district attorney views this man as the main suspect when the college student is killed. However, Dave thinks that the man is being set up.

James Lee Burke is a master and the reader is glued to the action as Dave attemps to sort these crimes out. All of this is happening as New Orleans is on the verge of Hurricane Katrina and the destruction that storm brought with it.

Dave Robicheaux, with his sense of justice, his faith and his unstable temper is one of the great characters in literature. Together with his loyal but flawed side-kick Clete Purcel, these two characters leave an imprint that is unmatched.

5-0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED
I have read a few books in this series and am always pleased.For me, they are interesting, paced well, and exciting.It is hard to put them down.While the plot might be a little predictable, I particularly enjoy the writing and the language.The author combines street slang with some really intelligent dialogue in a seamless flow.Dave, the main character, is especially eloquent in his very Southern choice of words as he waxes philosophical.The rough action is well balanced by laments of the treatment of people and the ills of society.Some passages are almost poetical as the book appeals to the intellect as well as more earthy passions. ... Read more

7. Rain Gods: A Novel
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 651 Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439128308
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“America’s best novelist” (The Denver Post ) brings back one of his most fascinating characters— Texas sheriff Hackberry Holland, cousin to lawman Billy Bob Holland—in this heart-pounding bestseller.

In a heat-cracked border town, the bodies of nine illegal aliens—women and girls, killed execution-style—are unearthed in a shallow grave. Haunted by a past he can’t shake and his own private demons, Hack attempts to untangle the grisly case, which may lead to more bloodshed. Damaged young Iraq vet Pete Flores, who saw too much before fleeing the crime scene, and his girlfriend, Vikki Gaddis, are running for their lives. Sorting through the lowlifes who are hunting down Pete, and with Preacher Jack Collins, a Godfearing serial killer for hire, in the mix, Hack is caught up in a terrifying race for survival—for Pete, Vikki, and himself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (111)

3-0 out of 5 stars Just too much
I am a big fan of James Lee Burke's writing - beautiful, descriptive, introspective - and always feel his books are too short, leaving me wanting more. That is not the case with Rain Gods. While the writing is as terrific as ever, it's like eating too much dessert - just too much of everything - too long, too descriptive, too introspective. The story is compelling and the characters fully developed, but the book has more meaningful looks and silences that "speak for themselves" than a spaghetti western. The book is a satisfying read and is wonderfully performed, as always, by the terrific Will Patton who always brings the characters to life, but I beleive this is a rare occasion when I would have preferred the abridged version.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rain Godsby James Lee Burke
Bought this book for my husband he loves James Lee Burke and his read all he can by him.

5-0 out of 5 stars A bit different, but very very good
I've been a fan of James Lee Burke ever since he'd written about 2-3 Dave Robichaux novels. I never went back and read the early stuff, mostly because I don't like general fiction, as a rule, and what early tries I've read by favorite detective novelists have been disappointing in the past. I guess I may have to change my mind, and go back and read some of Burke's early stuff.

What's been interesting as I read Burke is how he's evolved as a writer. The prose is eloquent and descriptive, almost poetic, while the author has a way of constructing dialog that makes it clear that the people conversing are actually talking past one another. The violence, when he brings it into the story, is usually sharp and short and obviously terrifying for the participants. Of course his characters are usually wounded beasts, upset with the course of events around them and dogged by a deep-seated guilt about their pasts. Usually, there's some sort of racial element to the guilt, and of course a social aspect also. One other evolution: as the author has gotten more accepted, and tastes have changed, the books have gotten longer. The first couple of Robichaux novels were 250-300 pages; the current book is 650 pages in length.

So with this book the plot is rather derivative of Cormac McCarthy. I didn't read "No Country for Old Men", but I did see the movie, and didn't think much of it. The protagonist seemed essentially powerless in the face of the evil of the main villain, and the violence was to my mind essentially pointless. "Rain Gods" is similar, but takes a different path to deliver its punch. Instead of an older sheriff wandering around cleaning up after the bad guy, in this instance the protagonist is a sheriff in his early '70s who has been everywhere and seen a lot. Now he's got a crazed serial killer in his county, rampaging around with a Thompson submachinegun, first killing a bunch of illegal immigrant prostitutes, and then killing (or sparing) other people who cross his path. As the book progresses, Preacher Jack Collins (the villain) becomes more and more eccentric and crazed, while the protagonist Hackberry Holland, becomes more weary and at the same time determined to track down his nemesis. There are other villains and Hack has a sidekick (a younger woman who's in love with him) but these two characters more or less dominate the novel.

I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of book or writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars GRITTY EXCITEMENT
Burke is one of my favorite authors and this book did not disappoint.In his excellent descriptive (and sometimes poetic) style, the reader is introduced to a hot, dusty part of Texas as the setting for an intriguing chase story.The initial scene fades into the background as the tale weaves together the lives of hero and villian.Read carefully as some of the important events that connect the characters are only briefly touched upon.Without them, it may be difficult to keep the reason for the plot straight.

As in other books, Burke adds a hefty dose of philosophy and morality.In this book, there is an underlying theme of redemption amongst sociopaths and pimps.The reader is confronted with the possibility of forgiveness of an escort service owner as he tries to rectify his life in order to save his family.The arch-villian is also treated with a peculiar mix of grace and hatred as he becomes the protector of the innocent - even if he uses twisted reasoning.The reader is challenged with the thought that the hero law-man and the hired killer are opposite sides of the same coin.This all makes for an exciting, interesting, and at times a book of complex conflict.It is worth the read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Rain Gods
My husband and I were both quite disappointed in this repetitively plotted, rather dull book. We love this author so were doubly disappointed in this book....wait for the paperback if you must read this. ... Read more

8. Bitterroot
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2002-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743411439
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Following his acclaimed bestseller Purple Cane Road, James Lee Burke returns with a triumphant tour de force.

Set in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, home to celebrities seeking to escape the pressures of public life, as well as to xenophobes dedicated to establishing a bulkhead of patriotic paranoia, Burke's novel features Billy Bob Holland, former Texas Ranger and now a Texas-based lawyer, who has come to Big Sky Country for some fishing and ends up helping out an old friend in trouble.

And big trouble it is, not just for his friend but for Billy Bob himself -- in the form of Wyatt Dixon, a recent prison parolee sworn to kill Billy Bob as revenge for both his imprisonment and his sister's death, both of which he blames on the former Texas lawman. As the mysteries multiply and the body count mounts, the reader is drawn deeper into the tortured mind of Billy Bob Holland, a complex hero tormented by the mistakes of his past and driven to make things -- all things -- right. But beneath the guise of justice for the weak and downtrodden lies a tendency for violence that at times becomes more terrifying than the danger he is trying to eradicate.

As USA Today noted in discussing the parallels between Billy Bob Holland and Burke's other popular series hero, David Robicheaux, "Robicheaux and Holland are two of a kind, white-hat heroes whose essential goodness doesn't keep them from fighting back. The two series describe different landscapes, but one theme remains constant: the inner conflict when upright men are provoked into violence in defense of hearth, home, women, and children. There are plenty of parallels. Billy Bob is an ex-Texas Ranger; Dave is an ex-New Orleans cop. Dave battles alcoholism and the ghosts of Vietnam; Billy Bob actually sees ghosts, including the Ranger he accidentally gunned down....But most of all, both protagonists hold a vision of a pure and simple life."

In Bitterroot, with its rugged and vivid setting, its intricate plot, and a set of remarkable, unforgettable characters, and crafted with the lyrical prose and the elegiac tone that have inspired many critics to compare him to William Faulkner, James Lee Burke has written a thriller destined to surpass the success of his previous novels.Amazon.com Review
Ex-Texas Rangers are suckers for old friends in distress, so when Vietnam vet and recent widower Doc Voss calls lawyer Billy Bob Holland from Montana with an apparently innocent invitation to visit, Billy Bob packs up and"head[s] north with creel and fly rod in the foolish hope that somehow myown ghosts did not cross state lines."

Doc has managed to alienate everyone in town, including mining interests onthe Blackfoot River; a drug-running biker gang; an enclave of whitesupremacists, led by slimy Carl Hinkel; the local mob connection, in theperson of an even slimier Nicki Molinari; and the feds, who don't wantanything interfering with their pursuit of both Hinkel and Molinari. After Doc's daughter is brutally raped by three of the bikers, and those three are murdered in a particularly nasty fashion, Holland must try to clear hisfriend of suspicion. As he ferrets through a tangled web of coincidenceand connection, Holland risks losing everything and everyone dear to him.

The wild card in the pack is Wyatt Dixon, a psychopathic ex-con who holdsHolland responsible for his sister's death, and who has followed him toMontana: "[Wyatt] recycled pain, stored its memory, footnoted everyinstance of it in his life and the manner in which it had been visited upon him,then paid back his enemies and tormentors in ways they never foresaw."

James Lee Burke's prose alternately sparkles with a perverse insouciance ("Lamar had gotten his. Big time. Soaked in paint thinner and flame-roasted from headto foot like a burned burrito.") and glows with a muted intensity ("Iclosed the door and slipped the bolt and went back to sleep and hoped that the sun would rise on a better world for all of us."). The author's capacity toadd depth to his characters with a few well-chosen phrases remains striking:the town sheriff walks "heavily, like a man who knew his knowledge of the worldwould never have an influence upon it"; a group of college boys is"suntanned and hard-muscled, innocently secure in the knowledge thatmembership in a group of people such as themselves meant that age andmortality would never hold sway in their lives."

Is the Billy Bob Holland series (three novels and counting) justRobicheaux Redux? The ex-Texas Ranger is, as either man mightadmit, the spittin' image of Dave Robicheaux, Burke's Louisiana PI: simultaneously rugged and rage-filled, chivalrous and callow, debonair and disturbing. And like the Robicheaux series, the Holland novels drift effortlessly among genres: regional writing, gritty noir, classic PI. You can cavil that Burke is repeating himself--or you can rejoice that Burke is continuing to enlarge his pool of intense, lyrical crime novels. Personally, I plump for the latter. --Kelly Flynn ... Read more

Customer Reviews (55)

1-0 out of 5 stars Unpleasant.
This book contains the author's typically beautiful if repetitive descriptions of landscape,weather and people. However the majority of the characters are unpleasant and detract from the prose.
They all speak to one another in the same contrived, oblique and aggressive fashion,nearly every conversation in the book consists of thinly veild accusations.
I find it incredulous that virtually everyone in a story would have the same voice(you could swap most conversations in the book between characters without noticing any difference).Surely one of the hallmarks of good writing is to give each character a distinctive voice? But here Billy Bob, Doc, Cleo,Xavier and the FBI agents,among others, all speak with the same patterns of speech.

Furthermore the character of Doc(supposedly the pivot for the story) is poorly drawn(does he actually do any work?Why do people follow his lead on issues when he seems a taciturn isolated loner with little charisma even from the opening scenes before the attack on his daughter?).Again from the opening scenes all he and Billy Bob seem to do is irritate one another.There is no evidence of a great friendship on show.

Indeed the complete absence of humour in this book is one of it's many weaknesses. Then again who would want to be friends with Billy Bob? He has nothing to recommend him as a character.
A cliched plot featuring far too many characters who are simply shadows of one another and painfully unlikely coincidences doen't help much either.Are there any normal people in Montana?

I think the book needed judicious editing, a better plot and more varied dialogue and tone. Nice descriptions alone are not enough.Each time I put it down I was ready to argue with someone and only finished it out of habit.
Given that Mr Burke has in some fashion been writing the same story for several years(psycho on the loose,amoral rich folks,rage filled sullen, humourless and frankly unhappy protagonist(Dave or Billy Bob) in beautifully described surroundings..etc) one would think he should be better at it by now.

5-0 out of 5 stars A REAL PAGE TURNER
This book is great entertaining reading.The author is a master of concise yet poetic description.Words flow like silk from the page.There is a caution contained in that praise.Read this book when you have plenty of time.I could not put is down and continually wanted to learn more.The characterization, pacing, roughness, and violence (just enough) were riviting.There were lots of people intertwined in a complex plot that gradually crystallized.I would have liked to have seen a little more development of the ending, however.Without giving away the climax, everyone seemed to get their just desserts in one short scene.A more creative demise would have been juicier.We don't know how the characters recovered after the events of the book were concluded.Did the mining company get off unscathed?And of course, the arch-villian lives to see another day.The Montana setting was beautiful in its description.Is the fishing really that good?I wonder how the state tourism board views this book as it does perpetuate the stereotype that the isolated parts of Montana are havens for all sorts of crazies.Best quote of the book:"Children of Calvin...." - - read it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read
James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors. His work is good and easy read. However, this book was not easy for me to relate to as I am not from the south,nor do I have experience with some of the lingua that was used. This did not detract me from the story which was excellent!

5-0 out of 5 stars Burke gets it
James Lee Burke, who is almost a neighbour (I live across the state line of the Bitterroots, in Wallace, Idaho) just gets it. He writes sentences you want to shout aloud, and draws a description you can just step right in to. This is a man who loves words and does not use them unnecessarily. Bitterroot puts the Neo-Nazi (Neocon?) cancer in a clear perspective, but the battle is not about guns. It's about souls. One minor technical point: in Wallace, we had 4 whorehouses, not just the one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Delivery
I keep buying these books written by James Lee Burke.His writing is the very best and this one in particular was good.I love the delivery process.
... Read more

9. Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 496 Pages (2004-08-31)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743466632
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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For Dave Robicheaux, there is no easy passage home. New Orleans, and the memories of his life in the Big Easy, will always haunt him. So to return there -- as he does in Last Car to Elysian Fields -- means visiting old ghosts, exposing old wounds, opening himself up to new, yet familiar, dangers.

When Robicheaux, now a police officer based in the somewhat quieter Louisiana town of New Iberia, learns that an old friend, Father Jimmie Dolan, a Catholic priest always at the center of controversy, has been the victim of a particularly brutal assault, he knows he has to return to New Orleans to investigate, if only unofficially. What he doesn't realize is that in doing so he is inviting into his life -- and into the lives of those around him -- an ancestral evil that could destroy them all.

The investigation begins innocently enough. Assisted by good friend and P.I. Clete Purcel, Robicheaux confronts the man they believe to be responsible for Dolan's beating, a drug dealer and porno star named Gunner Ardoin. The confrontation, however, turns into a standoff as Clete ends up in jail and Robicheaux receives an ominous warning to keep out of New Orleans' affairs.

Meanwhile, back in New Iberia, more trouble is brewing: Three local teenage girls are killed in a drunk-driving accident, the driver being the seventeen-year-old daughter of a prominent physician. Robicheaux traces the source of the liquor to one of New Iberia's "daiquiri windows," places that sell mixed drinks from drive-by windows. When the owner of the drive-through operation is brutally murdered, Robicheaux immediately suspects the grief-crazed father of the dead teen driver. But his assumption is challenged when the murder weapon turns up belonging to someone else.

The trouble continues when Father Jimmie asks Robicheaux to help investigate the presence of a toxic landfill near St. James Parish in New Orleans, which in turn leads to a search for the truth behind the disappearance many years before of a legendary blues musician and composer. Tying together all these seemingly disparate threads of crime is a maniacal killer named Max Coll, a brutal, brilliant, and deeply haunted hit man sent to New Orleans to finish the job on Father Dolan. Once Coll shows up, it becomes clear that Dave Robicheaux will be forced to ignore the warning to stay out of New Orleans, and he soon finds himself drawn deeper into a viper's nest of sordid secrets and escalating violence that sets him up for a confrontation that echoes down the lonely corridors of his own unresolved past.

A masterful exploration of the troubled side of human nature and the darkest corners of the heart, and filled with the kinds of unforgettable characters that are the hallmarks of his novels, Last Car to Elysian Fields is James Lee Burke in top form in the kind of lush, atmospheric thriller that his fans have come to expect from the master of crime fiction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (70)

4-0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old from Burke - but that's not necessarily a bad thing
If you like James Lee Burke, you'll like Last Car to Elysian Fields.My only complaint about this novel is that it's `more of the same'.You know what to expect in a James Lee Burke novel and that's what you get in Last Car.I like Burke so I wasn't disappointed.If you're not a fan, don't expect to be converted with this novel.I've a read a number of Burke's novels and enjoyed them but I have to admit that I would be hard pressed to tell you much specific about any of their plots.They tend to blur together over time because they are so similar.

Dave once again has his sights set on a corrupt and wealthy family.The story, as always, is filled with multiple seemingly unrelated plot lines that will inevitably trace back to the aforementioned corrupt wealthy family. Burke doesn't shy away from his left leaning political point of view which may aggravate more conservative readers.I'm a tree-hugging Canadian so this isn't an issue for me, but it may be for others.There is no shortage of moral ambiguity in a Burke novel except when it comes to the issue of rich people.In a Burke novel, rich people are always the epitome of evil - rotten to the core.

True, Burke sticks close to the tried and true formula in Last Car - but that doesn't mean there isn't still so much to like.I love Burke's lyrical prose and Last Car is no exception.This novel, as in other Burke novels, is filled with colorful characters. I think Clete Purcell may be one of the best fictional characters ever created.Burke's dialogue is top notch - almost as good as the great Elmore Leonard. His novels, including this one, are dark and brooding and complex, filled with flawed characters and moral ambiguity.I appreciate the multi-layered plots to these novels (even if they are contrived).

One element of Last Car that isn't standard fair is the character of Jimmie Dolan, the Irish hit man who comes to Iberia County.I loved the character and the strange relationship he develops with the priest he was hired to kill and the cat and mouse game he plays with Dave.

Deciding whether or not to read this novel is pretty straightforward.If you like Burke, you'll like this novel.If you don't, you won't.If you're new to Burke and you want to start at the beginning, you could read Neon Rain (although it isn't a standout novel in the series).Or you could start with the best in the series, which is probably Purple Cane Road.I don't think it matters much though.This is as good a place as any to start.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as Fresh as It Might Be, Still Worthwhile for Fans
"Last Car to Elysian Fields" (1994) was apparently the thirteenth novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his mighty New York Times bestselling detective Dave Robicheaux series.Like the earlier books of the series, and most of the series' works to follow, the book, a Southern noir, police procedural/mystery, is set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, more or less home country for Burke, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast.

Robicheauxhears that an old friend, Father Jimmie Dolan, a controversial Catholic priest, has been assaulted in a particularly brutal manner: this draws the detective back to New Orleans.He also starts investigating the decades-old disappearance of Junior Crudup, noted black blues player, who apparently never made it alive out of Angola, Lousiana's notorious, brutal state prison.Needless to say, he's going to step on some toes in opening this long-ignored mystery.Then, back in New Iberia, three local teenage girls are killed in a drunken driving accident; the driver is the seventeen year old daughter of a prominent local doctor.And the girls had just been illegally served liquor by one of the state's many "daiquiri windows," places that serve mixed drinks from drive-by windows.The operator of the window is brutally murdered; Robicheaux suspects the driver's father, the doctor.And Robicheaux takes up, with Father Jimmie, the cause of a nearby poverty-stricken black community being slowly poisoned by a toxic landfill.

Robicheaux is still employed by the Sheriff's Office of New Iberia, Louisiana, a smaller quieter town near New Orleans.Helen Soileau, a former partner whom we have met before and will meet again, is now sheriff.The house in which Robicheaux was born, and used to live, has been burnt down as a result of careless electrical work by a mob-connected electrical subcontractor, and the detective is living in rental housing. He has sold his boat rental and bait business to Batist, the black man who worked there with him, whom we have met many times before and will again.The three-legged raccoon, Tripod, pet of the detective's adopted daughter Alafair, who is studying at Reed College, Oregon, has been given to Batist.Bootsie, the third wife of Robicheaux, died a year ago, of lupus.So Robicheaux is living alone, at least until he takes in a stray cat, and calls it Snuggs.

Of course, this being a book by Burke, New Orleans wise guys soon start coming out of the woodwork for reasons of their own: we have here Fat Sammy Figorelli and his assorted employees.And, to be sure, Clete Purcell, Robicheaux's former partner on the New Orleans Police Department, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood, as are the gangsters, is around to help the detective.We'll also meetJumpin' Merchie Flannigan, a New Orleans-bred semi-underworld player, whom Robicheaux has known since childhood: a frequent attribute of Burke's mobsters; Theodosha Flannigan, Merchie's hot-to-trot beautiful wife, with whom the detective had a relationship in the past, another frequent attribute of bad guys' wives in Burke's work; and Castille LeJeune, Theodosha's father, a wealthy and powerful local blue blood, ruthless and greedy, who doesn't care whom he hurts - also frequent attributes of Burke's similarly situated rich men.And then there's Max Coll, the odd-looking, psychotic Celtic killing machine, arrived from Ireland to execute a hit on somebody; and, to be sure, Max strongly resembles many of Burke's hitmen/ bad guys. And Burke continues to give us the odd grotesque character, a sure hallmark of Southern literature.

Robicheaux is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his service in Vietnam. He has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence that is exaggerated by his friend and alter-ego Purcel. The book is also shot through with discussion of New Orleans' music: the 1951 prominence of Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell; Sam Philips' Memphis Sun Studios, where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis got their starts.Jimmie Clanton's "Just a Dream" the most popular song on the jukebox in Robicheaux's salad years.And the locally- beloved Fat Man, Fats Domino.

Well, you can see, there's a lot of familiar material in this series' entry; and the plot, while it hums along and introduces quite a few characters, is a little thin--for Burke.
You'd have to consider "Last Car" one of the weaker entries in the series.Still, Burke continues to write with noticeable energy, passion and power.More than anything else, seems to me, in Burke's work, we'll enjoy some of the most beautiful, knowledgeable writing ever committed to paper about the flora, fauna, geography, and human occupants of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, now so much in the news.Burke attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, a pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps. His work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. At least eight of his novels, including the recent Joli Blon's Bounce, andPurple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)have been New York Times bestsellers.This isn't the place to start reading Burke; but it's worthwhile if you're following the series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Terrible, turgid book
I had never read any of Burke's Robicheaux books before, and obviously it was a mistake getting this one. As others have noted, the plot plods along like a crippled mule, the characters are almost comic book types, and there are all sorts of preposterous acts throughout. Evidently, his early books with these characters were much better, had I only known to try one.

He does have a nice flair for descriptive prose, and early on I enjoyed his descriptions of the countryside, but he beat it to death. Every page or so, between languid movement of the plot, another long description of the scenery or the weather appears, for no appreciable reason. By half way through this turgid prose, when I came across still another mention of the live oaks or the pecan trees, I was ready to tear my hair.

Robicheaux seems to be one of the more inept detectives I've come across in fiction, blundering on through three quarters of the book without ever solving a case or apprehending a felon. In once scene, he is lured to a run-down, seedy part of town to a ratty bar to meet a woman, and soon leaves after realizing there was no business for him to be there. He comes outside, finds one the tires on his pickup is flat, and without being at all suspicious, proceeds to change it. Without paying any attention to his surroundings, he gets cold cocked and dragged away to a couple days of torture. Now, even I as a civilian know enough constantly to be aware of my surroundings, yet this so-called experienced cop lets himself get caught unaware.

Later, he has chased down astone cold killer in a church he has been after throughout the book. He sits down next to him in a pew and the killer tells him he has a gun under his jacket. Apparently this so terrifies the armed, longtime cop that he does not know what to do, even outweighing him by 100 pounds or so. He lets him wheel an old lady in a wheelchair down the aisle, and make his escape. Now even a rookie cop probably knows a dozen ways to subdue a perp, but not our hero. This sort of ineptitude seems to be the modus operandi of this detective all through this silly book.

I had to skip through whole sections of the book, time and time again, just to get to some place where something of note was happening.

This turgid book left such a bad taste in my mouth that I am loath to try one of his early books, but maybe after a few months I will try one.

I could not recommend this book to anybody.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another great Robicheaux story
No author I've read has the ability to paint such vivid pictures as James Lee Burke.Perhaps it helped that I read the entire book while in the midst of a Detroit heat wave, but Burke makes you feel the heat, humidity, rain and thunder that is Iberia parish in Louisiana.

Robicheaux remains an imperfect man, which is a big part of his appeal.His world is still dominated by his friend Clete Purcell and people with French and Creole names.Good story and gripping as always.

4-0 out of 5 stars Missing Chapter??
I started reading James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series earlier this year and have come to love both the characters and Mr Burke's deliciously descriptive prose (I live in Australia but one can almost taste the essence of Louisiana in his writing!). After having been carried along in Dave Robicheaux's life in the previous 12 novels, sharing his darkest and brightest episodes, it was a great disappointment to find so much has changed in his life in the beginning of 'Last Car to Elysian Fields'!Okay, so maybe we didn't need to share his darkest moments - the loss of his wife; the destruction of his father's house; and giving up his boat and bait shop - or perhaps Mr Burke is still writing about this part of Dave's life in a yet-to-be-released flash-back novel?Whatever the reason, I believe fans of Dave Robicheaux deserve to told this missing chapter in his life. ... Read more

10. BURNING ANGEL (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (1996-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786889047
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Helping the Fontenot family of sharecroppers from being forced away from their longtime home, detective Dave Robicheaux discovers a link between the eviction and the murder of a New Orleans fixer's girlfriend. Reprint. Tour. PW. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Clete scratched his cheek with four fingers."
A friend is currently working his way through the whole of the Burke body of work. I'm not nearly that dedicated, but I do like his books quite a bit. I believe that I've said before that the best thing about mysteries is the way that an author can use the plot to unroll a place or a time (or both!) for the reader. Burke does that very very well in the way that he makes New Iberia come to life in his novels through the eyes of his detective, Dave Robicheaux.

Burning Angel is the third book that I have read by Burke, and it stands up well to the other two. It has its flaws-- notably an overly complicated plot that falls apart just a little bit towards the end. But the flaws are well made up for by the strength of the characters and the feel for place-- both elements that are amped up here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great author
I love the descriptions in this authors writing. He has a way with words, both feelings and surroundings. One of the best books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Dave Robicheaux Winner
This series is SOOOOOOO good!Remember to read the titles in order, however.It is definitely a progressive series.See my review of Crusader's Cross for a general view of the series.

3-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, a lot of this sounds like the same old story
Once again JLB has Dave dealing with people he knew back in New Orleans and Vietnam.Again it's some one who grew up around the Mafia in NO and he dealt with when he was in NOPD.Again it's a member of the local mafia and gentry that is behind a problem that doesn't ever seem to go away (a bad upbringing and abuse of them or their mother or both).

What makes this one different is the inclusion of drugs for guns in south america and the american government involvement with both.An old friend from 'Nam shows up and gives a 'diary' to Dave which is purported to have info that will tie people in souteastern Louisiana to war crimes committed in Nicaragua.At the same time, one of the local gentry who has fallen onto hardtimes because of his involvement with a 'woman of color' is looking for a way out and big score.The big score is over use of his ancestral land for environmentally damaging industry which is nothing new in the polluted swamp-lands and marshes of the area around New Iberia.

There is also the touch of the 'supernatural' when after his friend Sonny is killed; he seems to turn up all over the area, and is seen by Alafair, Clete and Batiste.A nudge from Sonny, saves Dave's life and determines that one of the bad guys will take his own life.

There's a nice piece about Dave and Alafair, and dealing with your baby girl becoming a teenager and all that that implies to a parent.I thought he handled it very forthrightly and with honesty.Dave's as confused as to what to do as the rest of us mortals.

For me, at least, it seemed that he walzed through this one, getting ready for something big in the next.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burke's Trip to the Dark Side
The Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee Burke have always had a spiritual component--see IN THE ELECTRIC MIST WITH CONFEDERATE DEAD--but in BURNING ANGEL the supernatural darn near takes center stage with the presence of a real, honest-to-gosh no-doubt-about-it ghost.I loved the series before...now I'm really hooked. ... Read more

11. A Stained White Radiance (A Dave Robicheaux Novel)
by James Lee Burke
Hardcover: 305 Pages (1992-04-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1562829807
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Caught up in the family drama involving his childhood friends, the Sonniers, Cajun sleuth Dave Robicheaux discovers that the family may be involved with the powerful Bobby Earl, a Klansman-turned-politician. 50,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. $100,000 ad/promo. Tour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Strong Outing for Burke
I've read the first five of the Dave Robicheaux series in order and have not yet been disappointed at all. Burke has quickly become one of my favorites authors; too bad it took me so long to start reading his work. Dave Robicheaux is simply a good, tough guy. He's fair, flawed yet balanced, determined, strong and justice-minded. This book has several interweaving stories within one overall deep plot. Robicheaux faces off against organized crime, white supremacists, and a family with ties to both and several family secrets. All the while he is a great dad and husband, and true friend to Clete and Batiste. I'm stunned more of the Robicheaux novels haven't made their way to television movies or the big screen - the main character and the story-telling are that good and that engrossing.

3-0 out of 5 stars A staind white radiance
The book was as described.It was a library book from Orange County.It has usual wear and tear.I got it quickly.

5-0 out of 5 stars beautifully written
A Stained White Radiance is a beautifully written book.An absorbing suspenseful story woven into the culture of the south.Burke gives us a sheriff who is complicated, masculine and sensitive to others and his environment.I read every word, not for the storyline but for the writing itself.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not much good
This product was very late being delivered and then when I opened it there were no tapes in the box.I got ripped off on this one.Will never order from this seller again.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best
I'm reading his books in order and this is number 5. It's not as boring as Black Cherry Blues but certainly falls far short of the other 3. This one can be skipped as like Black Cherry it contains no "significant" changes in Dave's life. ... Read more

12. In the Moon of Red Ponies: A Billy Bob Holland Novel (Billy Bob Boy Howdy)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2005-01-25)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743466640
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"James Lee Burke tells a story in a style all his own, in language that's alive, electric. He's a master at setting mood, laying in atmosphere, all with quirky dialogue that's a delight." -- Elmore Leonard

In James Lee Burke's last novel featuring Billy Bob Holland, Bitterroot, the former Texas Ranger left his home state to help a friend threatened by the most dangerous sociopath Billy Bob had ever faced. After vanquishing a truly iniquitous collection of violent individuals, Billy moved his family to west Montana and hung out a shingle for his law practice. But in In the Moon of Red Ponies, he discovers that jail cells have revolving doors and that the government he had sworn to serve may have become his enemy.

His first client in Missoula is Johnny American Horse, a young activist for land preservation and the rights of Native Americans. Johnny is charged with the murder of two mysterious men -- who seem to have recently tried to kill Johnny themselves, or at least scare him off his political causes. As Billy Bob investigates, he discovers a web of intrigue surrounding the case and its players: Johnny's girlfriend, Amber Finley, as reckless as she is defiant -- and the daughter of one of Montana's U.S. senators; Darrel McComb, a Missoula police detective who is obsessed with Amber; and Seth Masterson, an enigmatic government agent whose presence in town makes Billy Bob wonder why Washington has become so concerned with an obscure murder case on the fringes of the Bitterroot Mountains.

As complications mount and the dead bodies multiply, Billy Bob is drawn closer to the truth behind Johnny American Horse's arrest -- and discovers a greater danger to himself and to his whole family. How Billy Bob strikes back at evil and protects his kin is the masterful triumph of In the Moon of Red Ponies.

Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot and characters whose conflicts seem as real as life itself, this novel shows James Lee Burke again in the top form that has made him a critical favorite and a national bestseller. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (52)

4-0 out of 5 stars Whoa, Podna! Read It!
Being new to this author's work and indeed to the genre of crime fiction, I was impressed with this book. I found it on the sale rack at Barnes & Noble and was intrigued by the title and the cover art (it was imported from the UK and has different cover from the US version). I picked it up for a look-see and saw that Burke, who has been recommended to me by more than one person, is the author, so...I bought it. Having visited Missoula in the mid-nineties, I was delighted to re-visit it in this book.

No need for me to rehash the storyline. I liked the character development and Wyatt Dixon in particular captured my interest with his blustering and outrageous soliloquies on the nature of, well, everything. I laughed out loud several times. Brilliant. I first disliked then came to have sympathy and finally respect for Darrell McCombs, the bumbling, racist lonely cop. You'll have to read the book to understand that. (No, I myself am not racist). And I loved, LOVED the supernatural/spiritual aspects of this book and have actually heard of the spectre of the sad Indian woman in doeskin dress appearing at the missile silo.

I have two small complaints: I'd have liked to have known more about Johnny American Horse and his cause. And I never warmed to the character of Amber, his girlfriend-turned-wife. She just did not seem quite like a real person to me and the story would have worked out just fine without her.

I also appreciated the descriptions of the landscape which has created in me a fierce desire to take my next vacation in Montana. All in all, the writing is great, the dialogue cracklin', and in my opinion you can't go wrong reading this one, podna!

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid Suspense/Mystery
I can understand why some reviewers were not entirely pleased with this Burke book, as it is less stark in its depiction of the good guys vs. the bad guys. If you like your hero to be entirely noble and your bad guys to be all evil than you might wonder why that is not the case here. Billy Bob Holland (the protagonist) while a very good person, in this book, does some things which he is ashamed of, even condemning himself as a coward at one point. And the evil Dixon is also now more human than an embodiment of a pure devil on earth. What results, in my opinion, is a novel of more realistic human beings than the usual "good vs. evil" novel. And Burke's excellent, even poetic prose is still a wonder. A very good book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Can he see the future?
Basically the bad guys have it in for an indian war-hero, shaman, mystic, drunk, sometime reservation rabble-rouser and a whole bunch of other people get pulled into the action.Motivations are never clear, if they had ignored the indian nothing would have happened, maybe they just didn't like indians.This might be a study in post-traumatic stress disorder in its various forms.Hostility, irrationality, paranoia prevail.All these characters bounce off each other, some get killed, and eventually the book is over.Just about everybody is real tough but nobody seems capable of any type of rational thinking.God forbid they should communicate with any clarity.Lots of bs philosophizing by the hero who gets to lovingly relate his violent past while feeling guilty about it(his only violent action is laughable but presented in heroic terms).Mysticism galore of the indian, Christian, and other varieties.Dreams abound and ghosts appear.The future is foretold.

Never read Burke before, maybe I will in future.My problem is that he introduces potentially interesting characters (the indian, the circus clown, the cop) but cannot seem to handle them thereafter.

1-0 out of 5 stars junk - cut and paste job - makes no sense
This book is just a cut and paste job to get some cash. JLB has done SO MUCH better.
OK - we have "moral imbeciles" and "moral cretins" just like all his other books.
We have a bunch of people scarred by their service in Central American civil wars, even though the actual number of Americans that actually fought in them has to be very small at best.
It is the same stuff as every other book he writes, but this one makes no sense.
Wyatt the super-evil psycho killer actually turns out to be a good guy more or less, saves Billy Bob's wife from drowning, and has more courage and integrity than ANYONE else in the book.
The bad guys have the "mark of the beast" that appears and disappears at times. Seriously.
Billy Bob gets in the middle of all the evil plots and spends half the book trying to get the one real bad guy to go after all the other bit players and leave him out of it. Way to be a stand-up guy - NOT. Billy Bob gets frustrated with this approach, so he takes his rifle and plugs the bad guy and two guards. His aim is off, so he doesn't kill anyone, but seems fine with severely injuring two hapless guards. And this is a lawyer?
In the end the evil guy gets away with everything and no one cares anyway. WTF?

4-0 out of 5 stars Brooding in the Bitterroots
A contemporary fictional read taking place in the geography between Lolo Pass and Seeley Lake, Montana. Former Texas Ranger turned lawyer Billy Bob has been married a year to private investigator Temple, who does terrific if unsanctioned intelligence work for him. Is billionaire Karsten Mabus the face of unconquered evil in the book, or is it Wyatt Dixon, a sociopath who tried to bury Temple alive in yet another story?Somehow Wyatt was released early from prison, and here he is in Missoula looking for Billy Bob's assistance to gain the attention of the President.Wyatt is a compelling character: a lean and mean cowboy who found the Lord in prison yet retains the raw machismo needed to defend himself in the legal frontier.Some insiders' insights into Native American thinking, some themes of eco-terrorism, and macho nobility all come together in this great read. Take it along on vacation. ... Read more

13. Crusader's Cross: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (2006-07-25)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743277201
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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For detective Dave Robicheaux, memories -- including those of a strange and violent summer from his youth -- are best left alone. But a dying man's confession forces Robicheaux to resurrect a decades-old mystery with a missing woman at its heart. Her name may or may not have been Ida Durbin, and Robicheaux's half brother, Jimmie, paid a brutal price for entering her world. Now the truth will plunge Robicheaux into the manipulations of New Orleans' wealthiest family, into a complex love affair of his own, and into hot pursuit of a killer expanding his territory beyond the Big Easy at a frightening pace. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (116)

5-0 out of 5 stars Robicheaux Winner
Another great Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke. Not only are Burke's stories very detailed and surprising mysteries, but even the detailed descriptions of the New Iberia area gives you that hot, steamy feeling of South Louisiana.

The characters are very interesting, whether friend or foe, and Burke makes you see them in your mind.

I have all of James Lee Burke's books and have never been disappointed in any of them. Burke is right up there with Hemingway and Faulkner.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and boring audio book.
I found this audio version of Crusader's Cross to be boring and did not hold my interest at all.It could be the reader, Will Pattons' tone put me to sleep but I found this book hard to follow, uneventful and not worth the effort. I have other James Lee Burke novels to listen to and hope these are better.The rating on Amazon does not reflect well with how I did not enjoy this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Writing 5 stars; story 2 stars
I am seriously out of step with the majority of people here. Like some others, I find the writing skill to be just ducky but the story made utterly no sense to me. Worse, the finale was utter and complete gibberish.

Mild Spoiler Ahead

The ending was so confused and senseless that even in retrospect I can't understand it. Was the killer acting alone or not? The killer, when identified, had no obvious connection to the crimes when looking backward at the rest of the story. It just had nothing at all linking the killer to the story. This book, therefore, fails utterly as a mystery novel.

End of spoiler

The protagonist is one of those standard ones warped from a Chandler novel. By warped, I mean he's not a Chandler character but rather one from Chandler wannabees. Have you heard this one before - the main character is a drunk who barges around pushing people this way and that, not listening to reasonable advice, making trouble wherever he goes and generally is a dangerous annoyance. Yet everybody loves him and the main girl goes for him big time.

He is supposed to be a detective but he detects nothing. Instead, he wastes public money following his own personal silly concerns and yet is kept on the public payroll. In the end, no one solves the mystery. Instead the killer just comes out.

The protagonist's nemesis, for no reason obvious, self destructs. The quest the protagonist claims to be on is banal beyond belief. The area the novel takes place in has only a few types: burned out civil servants; crazy violent hillbillies, prostitutes and their pimps, rich but corrupt gentry; shuffling blacks doing the yowza routine and do gooders from outside the area. Nobody just gets up, goes to work and then comes home to his family like a human would do.

I cannot recommend this mess.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dirty language, low-brow plot = TRASH
Yet another piece of garbage from Burke that I had could not finish but toss into the trash where it belongs.Glad I only paid a dollar for it at a lib book sale!

Burke's Dave R. in this one is a useless bumbling idiot, or lower--two steps lower, anyway.Dirty nasty language throughout, f*** this and f*** that, sexual episodes and sexual descriptions, all unnecessary to any decent detective story but used over and over as filler for Burke's inability to create a cohesive and interesting plot that goes somewhere besides visiting someone's crotch.I have no idea what Burke's regular readers see in this trash, or why they buy such garbage, unless...hmmm, well, maybe....

Here, a weak-kneed bumbler, laughingly called a detective, detects virtually nothing, doesn't have the sense to lock a door, pull a shade down, or get in out of the rain.This is the lowest of Burke's low-brow offerings...it seems Burke is unable to create a story so he just strings boring sexual encounters together with various boring idiot characters that add little to the tale.All the overdone descriptions of who wears what, from shoes to hats and hair is just plain silly, at best, but then there's the real need for yet more filler material.

Don't buy this one, folks, or any other of Burke's stuff from his private vomitorium; save your money, buy a gallon or two of gas while it's still affordable.You'll feel better and it will get you somewhere.

Oh, yes, thanks to Burke, my view of Louisiana has dropped lower than the collective IQ of ALL of Burke's idiot characters, which, collectively, I emphasize, struggles to reach 50.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burke Fan
In trying to read EVERY possible novel by my newest, most fav author, Amazon has been a treasure chest!!!I have found books on cd through Amazon(PLUS a couple of movies made from a few of the books) that even our libraries don't have!!! Thank you!!!! ... Read more

14. The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 275 Pages (2002-10-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743449207
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux's haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans' French Quarter -- the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, flawed
A deeply flawed protagonist, some really bad bad guys and the rich setting of New Orleans -- what could go wrong? A couple of things like a weak love story and a not very mysterious mystery, but overall still a very good read. Looking forward to further books in the series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Violent and stupid
The story is unrelentingly violent, and the protagonist is unrelentingly stupid.Other reviewers say the series gets better, but this was bad enough that I'm not going to give it the chance.Sorry about that.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Strong Start to the Dave Robicheaux Series
"The Neon Rain," (1987), the American author James Lee Burke's seventh published novel, was to be the first in his immensely popular, New York Times bestselling Dave Robicheaux series.Like most of the series to follow, the book, a Southern noir, police procedural/mystery, was set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, more or less home country for Burke, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, a pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

We meet Robicheaux, previously briefly mentioned in Burke's first book,Half of Paradise, as a detective on the New Orleans police force.He is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his service in Vietnam. He has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence.His first wife has already left him for a Houston oilman; in this book he will meet Annie, a social worker, whom we will meet again in Burke's later work.On the job, Robicheaux is partnered with Clete Purcell, whom we will meet many times again, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood.In this first book, Robicheaux will be drawn into the case of a young black prostitute whose body is found in a bayou near, but not in, the city of New Orleans, a location where he actually has no jurisdiction.But he feels a compulsion to investigate the young woman's death.And, in doing so, Robicheaux will find himself drawn into some of the darkest alleys and byways of New Orleans' famous French Quarter, thrown into a world of drug lord, pimps, gangsters, and arms smugglers.

We will meet some other characters we'll see over and over again in the early Robicheaux books: his half-brother Jimmie, who, like Dave himself, has a skunk-like white streak (said to be a product of childhood malnutrition) in his black hair: Dave is known, in these early books, as "Streak," to some.We learn a lot about his mother and father, who will also rather disappear from the later books. We see some characters who we'll meet again in many later books, under different names: Starkweather, a Southern, cornpone sadist who appears to suffer from some sexual confusion.General Abshire, rich, and arrogant, who pays no mind to the harm his profitable enterprises cause to others.We also learn about some things we'll continue to hear about in later, but still early, entries in the series: the World War II German submarine,whole families, and Robicheaux's own father, killed in an unfortunately only too resonant in current days, oil drilling rig explosion, all supposedly buried beneath the Gulf of Mexico.More than anything else, seems to me, we'll enjoy some of the most beautiful, knowledgeable writing ever committed to paper about the flora, fauna, geography, and human occupants of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, now so much in the news.To my mind, nobody has ever done it better.

Burke's work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant.His early novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.At least eight of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers.If you are not familiar with his work, this is as good a place as any to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars First Time Reading Robicheaux
Started at the beginning of this series and I'm glad I did. This book is simply outstanding. Burke introduces a strong, deep and complex character and surrounds him with a great story and a load of other folks that draw the reader's interest. I finished this one pretty quick and will jump right into the next in the series. This will have you hooked within the first couple of pages and it never slows down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dave Robicheaux Steps on Stage
THE NEON RAIN is James Lee Burke's introduction to the Dave Robicheaux hard boiled detective novels. Burke creates a fascinating character with a lyrical prose style of a literary novel.
This is crime fiction at its best and stories not to be missed in the world of south Louisiana as seen through the eyes of a master.
I'm a long time fan who will not miss a novel in any series by this fine author.
Nash Black, author of SINS OF THE FATHERS. ... Read more

15. The Day the Universe Changed: How Galileo's Telescope Changed The Truth and Other Events in History That Dramatically Altered Our Understanding of the World (Back Bay Books)
by James Burke
Paperback: 352 Pages (1995-09-01)
list price: US$24.95
Isbn: 0316117048
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Revision of Burke's highly successful original of 1985. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent <Mr. Burns Voice>
I have been watching the TV shows for over 20 years and finally read the book. It just fills in the gaps in the TV series and makes everything come alive. I loved the DTUC when I was in High School, I love it now that I teach High School.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful review of how the development of science and technology changed everything!
Watch the TV series as well.Burke's ability to connect the people, the times and driving motivations behind the ascendancy of Western science and how it then changed all areas of human life is beautifully presented.The one major flaw in the Kindle edition (not applicable to other higher rez devices like the iPod) is that all of the wonderful illustrations and photos are almost unviewable on the Kindle- zooming makes them even worse.

2-0 out of 5 stars Worst abridgement ever
I listened to the 3-disk audio CD of this work and was irritated from beginning to end. Burke dashes from one discovery to another at breakneck speed with hardly an interesting detail to pepper the narrative. In the chapter on electricity, we leap from Faraday to Coulombe to Watt to Ampere with hardly a breath in between. Unlike in Connections, in which one discovery lead almost inevitably to the next, Universe, Burke leaps from one advance o the next on the lightest gossamer thread of a connection. Even Burke's wonderful narrative voice can't rescue this mess. The order of cuts on the last disk is scrambled, as another reviewer noted. But worse, Burke's last chapter, on understanding the way our thinking bumps against prevailing paradigms, was near gibberish.

Not having read the full version, I can't recommend it. But by all means stay away from this butchery!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good service
This book was mailed directly to a friend as a gift. He reports that it arrived safely and was in good condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars AP World History Review: An Excellent Read For The Persistent Reader
In The Day The Universe Changed's introduction, James Burke states that "Ever since Bacon and Descartes, we live with the expectation that knowledge will continue to change and with it the beliefs and values by which we live.This book examines eight moments in history when that happened in order to show that when the moment of change came, new institutions and modes of thought were generated and would persist to become part of our modern view (Burke 9)."This quote sets the expectations for the book and Burke subsequently delivers on all of them in the course of 352 pages.James Burke's clear and often ironic writing style raises deep philosophical questions that leave the reader thinking of all the `knowledge' that has changed and will change as time goes on.A little over two hundred years ago, the biblical version of creation was accepted as fact - the earth was, of course, made in six days.The earth was also, according to the Bible, about six thousand years old.Although some people still believe this now, most accept that the earth is billions of years old, and ascribe to one of the many secular theories regarding the creation of the world.In just a few centuries, our scientific `knowledge' has changed so much.What will people know two hundred years from now?What will they believe?This book raises questions such as these, and more.

Although some reviewers have said that the author overloads the reader with irrelevant details, this criticism misses the point.Although Burke does tend to be wordy and writes about seemingly unrelated details, he uses these details to illustrate his overriding theme- change as the only constant in history.Burke avoids the dry tone of the typical history text by drawing the reader into the minds of those living during a specific time period.The reader can seemingly witness the changes in history unfolding before him or her.This book is a good purchase for those interested in general history over a long period of time.I would honestly recommend this book to anyone wanting an interesting, humorous, and thought-provoking read.James Burke is clearly a master of history.
... Read more

16. In The Electric Mist With Confederate Dead
by James Lee Burke
Hardcover: 344 Pages (1993-04-15)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1562828827
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Haunted by the reemergence of a forty-year-old unsolved murder, detective Dave Robicheaux must also contend with a spate of serial killings of prostitutes and local dissension about the movie company that is shooting in town. 75,000 first printing. Tour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie.
I bought this for my wife, who is an avid reader of Burke's work.She praises particularly his lyrical style, where he excels in painting a vivid picture of his world and the people in it.I love Tommy Lee Jones' work and was intrigued by the cast of the movie, with a number of really good actors playing important and less important parts.We watched it together on HD TV with a blu ray player.It was very close to a movie theater experience.Although I am not into detective stories, I REALLY enjoyed the story and the portrayal of the novel.As a southerner, I am usually critical of Hollywood's portrayal of us, but the players and the film managed to give a feel for Louisiana and the South without the usual cornpone crap.Mr. Jones portrayal of Robicheaux was very true to my wife's descriptions and his performance was riveting.The vision of Gen. John Bell Hood of the Confederate Army was also great and seemingly true to Southern Heritage.I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who likes movies and especially to those who really love portrayals of sectional cultures.Mr Burke does for Louisiana and the South what Stephen King at his best does for Maine and New England.He makes you see the good and bad of a people and like them for themselves.There are few literate people who could buy this DvD and regret the purchase.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Movie is very close, except for a twist at the end
I bought this book because I really liked the movie (see my review there).All the good things I said about the movie apply to the book.You should know that if you have seen the movie then you will realize that the script was taken right from the book, often verbatim.There's not much more in the book other than a bit closer insights into some of the characters, especially "feet", he's a lot more despicable here.Also too, the Confederate General is a bit more involved in this story and that added a different tone to several of the conversations, enough so that I thought the movie could have been improved if it had conformed in that area also.

I will not reveal the differences in the ending, but that is the most significant variation.If you are so inclined, it would be good to read the book, notice the effect of the variation and then decide for yourself which is better.The book ending adds some subtleties that make you say... "hey, I didn't expect that...", the movie is more concise and, to my mind, consistent.

But, all that said, the book and the movie are so close that the pleasure of the book is simply the added descriptions and character depth.I suppose that actually means that the movie is more faithful than most.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fact checking is a lost art
I like Burke's work but something steamed me in this book. His title is steeped in the mystique of "confederate dead," and a poignant character is the ghost of General John Bell Hood. Then later, another character, who is showing Dave a book talks about Hood saying (and I paraphrase) "It says here in this book that Hood was the leader of the Texas Brigade, a famous *cavalry* unit..." when in no way was the Texas Brigade ever a cavalry unit. It makes one wonder then what effort Burke made in research on this character, and the publisher's fact checking (if such facts are checked). Can't wait to see the flick to see if this erroneous line is in the dialogue. I realize that some historical facts are changed at times, but there was no reason for it here and seems to be just a sloppy, and uncaring disregard for historical facts.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Early James Lee Burke
James Lee Burke writes novels that are very atmospheric and rich in dialogue and characters. This is one of the early Dave Robicheaux crime novels.A movie ( financed by the mob) is being made around New Iberia. At the same time Dave is investigating a serial killerand the murder of a black man (over 30 years old). He is also having encounters with the spirit ofa conferate general. Dave is investigating the serial killings with a female FBI agent who has her own demons.Somehow everything comes together at the end. This is a dark tale . James Lee Burke makes Louisanna a very interesting place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robicheaux, the Imperfect Hero
I no longer believe James Lee Burke ever set out to write mystery novels, as his Dave Robicheaux series is characterized.Or if he did, that purpose was usurped some years ago.

James Lee Burke is a precious, national treasure.He writes to me of sights and sounds and smells.His character invokes a longing and a quest for purpose and redemption midst the imperfections of the human spirit.James Lee Burke is a poet.

In this book, Mr. Robicheaux is reconciling his past and present, and his spirit challenges his mind with what it already knows.Sometimes the spirit must intrude to teach the mind its lessons.

I found "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" to be one of Burke's most lyrical and self-possessed novels.If there is hope for Robicheaux, there is hope for me.I feel blessed to read James Lee Burke and heartily recommend all his books. ... Read more

17. Jolie Blon's Bounce
by James Lee Burke, James Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743411447
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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New Iberia, Louisiana, is reeling from a one-two punch of brutal rape-homicides, and drug-addicted blues singer Tee Bobby Hulin has been tagged as the prime suspect. No stranger to bucking popular opinion, police detective Dave Robicheaux senses it's not Hulin behind the atrocities. But while placating a town on fire for swift revenge, Robicheaux must face his own demons -- an ultimate reckoning with Legion Guidry, a diabolical figure whose hardcore brand of violence left Robicheaux humiliated and addicted to painkillers. With his longtime friend, the boozing and womanizing Clete Purcel, Robicheaux treads among land mines of injustice, mob payoffs, and deadly secrets, all the while guessing: whom can he trust -- and whom should he fear?

James Lee Burke brings back his acclaimed hero Dave Robicheaux in this powerful New York Times bestseller packed with suspense and menace.Amazon.com Review
Dave Robicheaux, the Louisiana cop who's easily one of the most complex and compelling protagonists in mystery fiction, confronts his own demons as well as a brutal adversary who might be the devil himself in this dark thriller. This is classic James Lee Burke, the master stylist, writing at the top of his game:

"I wanted to drive deep into the Atchafalaya Swamp, past the confines of reason, into the past... on the tree-flooded alluvial rim of the world, where the tides and the course of the sun were the only measures of time (and) all you had to do was release yourself from the prison of restraint, just snip loose the stitches that sewed your skin to the hairshirt of normalcy."
The plot hinges on a pair of murders that don't seem to be connected--a mobbed-up prostitute and a pretty young teenage girl--and the Cajun blues singer accused of both crimes. Robicheaux believes that Tee Bobby Hulin, the gifted musician whose original composition provides the title for this brilliantly realized Gothic crime novel, is innocent. Proving it puts him in the sights of a vicious old overseer named Legion, whose almost supernatural powers nearly drown Robicheaux in the swamp of his own addictions. The narrative proceeds slowly, but Burke's dedicated fans won't begrudge him one beautifully turned phrase, gloriously limned description, or insightful characterization: they just don't get any better than this one. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Customer Reviews (86)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good idea pretentiously written and ultimately unbelievable...
The book started off with an interesting premise but the deus ex machina ending was almost laughable. I don't know if Burke likes to screw with his readers or not, but I don't see how he could have written the last part of the book with a straight face. If you liked how 'Twin Peaks' introduced aliens into the mix, then you probably will like the plot, but for me that was the end. How can you take a plot seriously when the author has to resort to divine intervention?

I also wish he'd give up on the Vietnam vet PTSD angle; it's unrealistic for the character and Burke's moralizing is discordant with the book.

The Dave Robichaux books are starting to become a bit formulaic; Robichaux has a run-in with a bad guy which leads to him taking his lumps, doubting himself, then coming back to kick ass. It works well in some books, and not so well in others. It didn't work that well in this book. Burke's description of south Louisiana is pretty accurate but his excesses on the culture are also a little too formulaic and play too much to stereotypes.

If you can handle a plot where God has to intervene in order to wrap things up neatly, then this is your book. If you'd like more gritty realism, then Burke's just a little too far down the bayou. Cheaper than $9.99, and the first part will tide you over a transcontinental flight, but expect to feel somewhat disappointed by the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dark, gothic, brilliant and also funny...
Last night I finished re-reading Jolie Blon's Bounce and I think I loved it better this time than I did when I first read it five years ago. It is part of Burke's terrific Dave Robicheaux series set in New Iberia, Louisiana and it seethes with atmosphere from alligators peering through Spanish moss hung trees to the ominous dark clouds laced with lightning hovering over the Gulf of Mexico but not coming ashore to relieve the relentless drought and heat. Dave Robicheaux may be one of the most interesting characters in American literature, a tormented cop with a history of addiction and bad luck with women. James Lee Burke may be one of the best writers in American literature with a gift for description, of both characters and settings, that is so finely-tuned you are rarely aware of the writing you get so lost in the story.

So the last few evenings I've been deep into New Iberia amid a cast of zydeco musicians, gangsters, Cajun fishermen, corrupt cops, good cops battling personal demons, and the offspring of plantation slaves. Two of the characters in particular, the relentlessly evil Cajun plantation overseer Legion Guidry and the mysterious Vietnam vet Sal Angelo, may not even be of this world. The ending is a little unsettling because we still aren't quite sure what happened but for me, that's good stuff. I've never been a fan of too-neat endings.

I am a reader who is very particular about the writing technique of the author. If an author's style is so noticeable that it distracts from the story I have a hard time sticking with the story. When I read fiction I want to get lost, totally lost with no distracting reminder that this is a story written by someone who has some stylistic quirks. I never have to worry with James Lee Burke.

While I have a lot of respect for writers of contemporary gothic novels with lots of creepy creatures, like Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris and Stephanie Meyer, I can't get enough of writers like Burke who can weave a spell that sucks me into a dark and mysterious world, dazzles my imagination, and leaves me a little unsure of what just happened.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extreme hard-boiled noir that does not go by the rule book
Those who love this book do so for, I believe, the same reason that others hate it.You don't see what's coming up at any point.Rationality is not a quality you'll find in any of the characters.Each has his or her personal demon. Then there's Legion who appears to be a demon in his own right possessing a supernatural aura.I'm not going into the plot here.Lots of other folks have done that.Reading this book is to enter a murky, tangled world where truth and justice are abstracts that don't really exist.There are no heroes here.Dave Rubicheaux is a character you can be admiring at one moment and dispising the next.He is strong and towering at times, and at others, he's weak and a victim of forces beyond his ken. I give this five stars because that's how it struck me.You might agree with this rating.You might not. Regardless, this is a book I highly recommend that you read.If you follow that recommendation, you may thank me afterwards.Then again, you might curse me.Who knows?

1-0 out of 5 stars Jolie Blon's Bounce Flat
This is the only book by James Lee Burke that I did not enjoy and I have read them all.He seems to have lost all of his ability to hold a story together. Boring too!

5-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burke Fan
In trying to read EVERY possible novel by my newest, most fav author, Amazon has been a treasure chest!!!I have found books on cd through Amazon(PLUS a couple of movies made from a few of the books) that even our libraries don't have!!! Thank you!!!! ... Read more

18. The Convict and Other Stories
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 240 Pages (2009-03-17)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416599258
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"America's best novelist" (The Denver Post ), two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke is renowned for his lush, suspense-charged portrayals of the Deep South -- the people, the crime, the hope and despair infused in the bayou landscape. This stunning anthology takes us back to where Burke's heart and soul beat -- the steamy, seamy Gulf Coast -- in complex and fascinating tales that crackle with violence and menace, meshing his flair for gripping storytelling with his urbane writing style. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A lost treasure from an American Icon
After having read all of James Lee Burke's books I ordered this re-issue of his book of short stories.Little did I know how much enjoyment awaited me.Mr. Burke is truly an American treasure...reading his books, or in this case his short stories, transports one into the world he creates.In this collection one gets a preview of some of his future characters like Hackberry Holland...in any event I can recommend this collection of short stories to anyone who enjoys truly creative and imagination filled writing...if you haven't read any of Mr. Burke's novels...this is a great way to start.The only problem with this book and his other novels is once you've finished you are left wanting more.Thank goodness he has a new full length novel coming out this summer...I can't wait!

5-0 out of 5 stars the convict and other stories
i read everything that james lee burke writes and this did not disappoint me,, i am not one for short stories but i did enjoy these,,the way mr. burke writes i feel like i am right there,,his discription of the areas and the people just make me wish he wrote more,,

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good collection of short stories
As usual James Lee Burke scores big. I really enjoyed reading shorts. I own a copy of all his books. Not a bad one in the whole bunch.
Pete Alford

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading - everywhere!
But trust me on this, you start reading these stories and they won't FEEL like the "required" reading that too often turns out to be dull, pretentious tripe foisted off on us by brittle critics and coked-out marketing agents. Nope, these are terrific stories that happen to be beautifully written by a man I am becoming convinced (I'm less than half way through his existing oeuvre) is one of the greatest American writers of all time. The title story, 'The Convict,' easily, EASILY holds it own with Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Sometimes the characters in these stories aren't entirely likeable (though they are always charismatic) but Burke makes no bows to political correctness; but to justice and to age and to reason and to living life to its fullest, here he surely exceeds any human expectations of capturing the same within the confines of a short story.

5-0 out of 5 stars MOVING AND BRILLIANT
Wether James Lee Burke is writing the Dave Robicheux novels or stories about other topis he always makes the characters very real and very human. The stories in the Convict are perfect examples of what a great writer of poeple Burke really is. Each one we get to know and learn things from through the course of their story. Some classify Burke as mystery writer, others as a southern writer, I dont care what you call him he darn good at what he does. No one who call themselves a fan of Burke`s should pass on the Convict. ... Read more

19. Heaven's Prisoners (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-11-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743449193
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Vietnam vet Dave Robicheaux has turned in his detective's badge, is winning his battle against booze, and has left New Orleans with his wife for the tranquil beauty of Louisiana's bayous. But a plane crash on the Gulf brings a young girl into his life -- and with her comes a netherworld of murder, deception, and homegrown crime. Suddenly Robicheaux is confronting Bubba Rocque, a brutal hood he's known since childhood; Rocque's hungry Cajun wife; and a federal agent with more guts than sense. In a backwater world where a swagger and a gun go further than the law, Robicheaux and those he loves are caught on a tide of violence far bigger than them all.... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Second Installment of the Robicheaux Series
"Heaven's Prisoners," (1988), is the second installment in the American author James Lee Burke's New York Times bestselling Dave Robicheaux series.Like the first of the series,The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries), and most of the works to follow, the book, a Southern noir, police procedural/mystery, is set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, more or less home country for Burke, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast.

We first met detective Dave Robicheaux, previously briefly mentioned in Burke's first book, Half of Paradise, as a detective on the New Orleans police force; he lived on a houseboat in nearby Lake Pontchartrain.The detective is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his service in Vietnam. He has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence.His first wife had already left him for a Houston oilman.

In "Heaven's Prisoners," Robicheaux will be married to his second, Annie, a social worker, whom he met in "Neon Rain."In this second installment of the series, Robicheaux has quit his job with the New Orleans P.D., and moved back to his birthplace, New Iberia, the actual house in which he was born, in fact, where he owns and operates a boat rental and bait business.He is assisted in this enterprise by a black man, Batist, whom we also briefly met in "Half of Paradise." We will also see quite a bit - as we will throughout the series-- of his former partner on the N.O.P.D., Clete Purcell, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood.

We will also again meet some other characters we'll continue to see in the early Robicheaux books: his half-brother Jimmie, who has drifted into underworld associations; like Dave himself, he has in his black hair a skunk-like white streak (said to be a product of childhood malnutrition): Dave is known to some, in these early books, as "Streak.".We learn a lot about Dave's mother and father - we are told about "the collapsed and twisted wreckage of the offshore oil rig on which [his] father drowned over twenty years ago," a reference only too current in light of the summer, 2010, explosion of an offshore oil rig, and undersea gas leak into the Gulf of Mexico.

In this outing, a plane crash on the Gulf brings a young Hispanic girl, whom he will quietly and illegally adopt, into Robicheaux's life.Robicheaux will name her Alafair and thereby confuse generations of mystery readers familiar with the fact that Alafair Burke, James Lee Burke's real life daughter, now also writes mysteries.We're told in the book that Alafair is a Cajun name that runs in Robicheaux's family: apparently it also runs in Burke's.However, the plane crash also throws Robicheaux into harm's way in regard to local rings that smuggle drugs, and illegal immigrants.The detective will find himself up against Bubba Rocque, a brutal gangster he's known since childhood, and his beautiful, hungry Cajun wife Claudette; Toot, a sadistic former TontonMacoute from Haiti, and Eddie Keels, a hitman from Brooklyn.

More than anything else, seems to me, we'll enjoy some of the most beautiful, knowledgeable writing ever committed to paper about the flora, fauna, geography, and human occupants of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, now so much in the news.Just read the opening page of this book: what a treat it is.

Burke attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, a pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps. His work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. At least eight of his novels, including the more recentJolie Blon's Bounce,Purple Cane Road and Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) have been New York Times bestsellers.The books of the Robicheaux series of course, stand independently, and you can happily begin it with this one, still, you might want to go back to the beginning with "Neon Rain."

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as Neon Rain, but Still Damn Good!!
I'm new to the Robicheaux series and plan to read them in order.This is #2 and it was another great read.I gave the first book 5 stars and this one 4, but this probably should be scored 4.5 stars. Burke is a damn fine writer and his main character is just about the perfect hero - he's human, clearly imperfect, is deep and absolutely likeable. You root for Robicheaux in all aspects of his life, his relationships and his investigations. Great story here, and a continuation of character development - Robicheaux as well as others.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite in the series
I am a pretty big fan of the Dave Robicheaux series but this was my least favorite book so far. I understand that Dave has a "cowboy" personality and always wants to rebel against any kind of authority figure but it was way overdone in this book.

Also, I got pretty tired of young, really attra active women begging to sleep with Dave (a not-so-young alcoholic who has tons of issues and isn't particularly attractive). Once the third girl came after him, I was really rolling my eyes...

All of that said, I really do like the series and have enjoyed many of the other books. I won't give up on Dave Robicheaux yet.

4-0 out of 5 stars Down on the Bayou
Wow!This turned out to be far better than I had expected.I had seen the movie and hadn't been terribly impressed but decided to pick this up after watching "In the Electric Mist".Tommy Lee Jones evoked such a great character that I wanted more.My only real qualm with this book was the sex scenes that always came across as awkward.What worked well for me was the speech patterns, the food, the descriptions of life in New Iberia, the descriptions of the bayou and the areas around Dave's house, the villains, and the very nature of Dave as a dried out alcoholic that still struggles to find what makes him tick.Well done!

5-0 out of 5 stars love james lee burke
this is another j l burke, and is a terrific read. it, like all his books, deals with a new orleans area that i've not seen.
great service, cant ask for better. ... Read more

20. Half of Paradise
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (1998-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786889462
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this intense, fascinating story, Burke follows the lives of three young Louisiana men, each of whom finds himself in desperate circumstances. There's Avery Broussard, the last survivor of a family of once prosperous land owners, who has a weakness for alcohol; J.P. Winfield, a poor singer and guitar player who rises to fame as a country music star, only to be destroyed by drug addiction; and Toussaint Boudreaux, a black longshoreman who moonlights as a heavyweight boxer. The destinies of these men are tragically intertwined in this debut novel that showcases Burke's masterful and now-familiar style. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Burke's First Published Novel Shoots Sparks
"Half of Paradise,"published in 1965, was James Lee Burke's first published fictional effort. Not surprisingly, it shoots off many sparks that illuminate where he's later going to go as a writer.He gives us powerful descriptions of his home territory, around New Orleans, Louisiana; both the natural and manmade environments; for his first time out, he's pretty good on character development and dialogue, and he renders strong descriptions of people's everyday lives, jobs, and family histories.

The novel reads as, probably is, three discrete novellas packaged together.It tells the story of JP Winfield, a penniless, orphaned sharecropper who discovers a talent for playing a 12-string guitar; it leads him into some prosperity and public notice, but his weaknesses are always with him.It also gives us Toussant Boudreaux, a black New Orleans dockworker who moonlights as a prizefighter, seems to have a promising career in that direction, but then takes a crippling injury.Finally it introduces Avery Broussard, descended of the area's French-Spanish landowning families: but the land's long gone, he's working as a oil company roustabout, and he's got a crippling alcohol dependency.If you see a pattern here, there is one.All three men are overwhelmed by their weaknesses; you'd have to call the book a downer.And without giving away too much of the plot, readers may learn more about Louisiana jails than many might care to.

Burke's first novel introduces,in the Broussard segments, the character of black Ba'tiste, storied family servant, who will reappear in his later works.It further givesBroussard a wealthy high school girlfriend (a character that will also often reappear in his later works) the family name of Robichaux: that, of course, will later be the surname of his famous detective Dave Robichaux.It's pretty clear that Burke was going to write his way into an outstanding future once his world view got a little less depressing. How much you want to read this first effort probably depends on how much you like the later work.

1-0 out of 5 stars What paradise?
I got this at a garage sale, and there is no mystery why it ended up there. I held out hope that something -- anything -- would happen to either connect all the separate storylines or make me care about the characters, but I finally had to skim the last 100 pages when it became painfully obvious that the whole book would be a litany of sordid, horrible things happening to characters I didn't really care about. No one comes close to paradise in this book -- everyone starts miserable and goes downhill from there. Its only redeeming benefits are that it offers a window to race relations in the 60's and lets us see that James Lee Burke went through a Hemingway phase early in his career, either accidentally or on purpose.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, not his usual great writing
The book lacks his eloquent language describing sense of place. There are a few great lines, but more simple sentence structure.
Interesting theme and plot. Gets more interesting after the first 25%.
Worth a read, just not his superb use of the English language evident in his later books.Good themes of poverty, choices made and effects, race, etc.

1-0 out of 5 stars Mind Numbing
I am a fan of James Lee Burke and even I thought this was horrible.It was so utterly boring it is hard to describe.Though some of his books are long winded, the plot and character development makes up for it.This story, however, was completely devoid of any suspense, the characters are silly and the whole thing was a total disappointment!

3-0 out of 5 stars When we were young.
This is one of Burke's earlier books and Burke gets better with each effort.In my estimation, that makes all of Burke's vintage work wonderful reading while allowing me to lust for another new tale. ... Read more

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