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21. The Lost Get-Back Boogie
22. Circles : Fifty Roundtrips Through
23. Connections
24. Black Cherry Blues: A Dave Robicheaux
25. Jesus Out to Sea: Stories
26. A Morning for Flamingos
27. Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux
28. Dixie City Jam
29. 3 Great Novels: "The Neon Rain",
30. American Connections: The Founding
31. James Lee Burke And the Soul of
32. Heartwood (Billy Bob Boy Howdy)
33. Sunset Limited (Dave Robicheaux
34. To the Bright and Shining Sun
35. The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance
36. Three Great Novels 3: " A Morning
37. Delta Blues
38. Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux
39. Rain Gods: A Novel
40. Two for Texas

21. The Lost Get-Back Boogie
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 416 Pages (2006-02-28)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$3.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416517065
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Iry Paret's done his time -- two years for manslaughter in Louisiana's Angola State Penitentiary. Now the war vet and blues singer is headed to Montana, where he hopes to live clean working on a ranch owned by the father of his prison pal, Buddy Riordan. In prison, Iry tinkered with a song -- "The Lost Get-Back Boogie" -- that never came out quite right. Now, the Riordan family's problems hand him a new kind of trouble, with some tragic consequences. And Iry must get the tune right at last, or pay a fateful price. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars If You're Not Familiar with Burke, Don't Start Here
"The Lost Get-Back Boogie," (1986), was the fifth novel published by American author James Lee Burke, writer of The New York Times bestselling Dave Robicheaux series.It preceded The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries), first published novel in the Robicheaux series of southern noir mysteries/police procedurals."The Lost Get-Back Boogie," a crime drama, was, according to the author's website, rejected 111 times over a period of nine years; upon finally being published by the Louisiana State University press, it was nominated for a hugely prestigious Pulitzer Prize.

The protagonist of "Lost Get-Back," is Iry Paret, who, like the detective Robicheaux, is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his wartime service-- in Paret's case, in Korea. He too has a drinking problem, difficulty with authority figures, and a tendency to violence.There's no question but that he echoes J.P. Winfield, a country music guitarist, and Avery Broussard, an oil rig roustabout, both of whom have a weakness for drink, protagonists from Burke's earliest published work,Half of Paradise.There's even less question that he is more or less an early version of Robicheaux.Paret's arc within this book even encapsulates the Robicheaux series, which was initially set in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the American Gulf Coast; then moves to the mountainous state of Montana. In this novel, the protagonist's tale begins in Louisiana, Gulf Coast country; he then moves to Montana.Paret situates himself, in Montana, in the Bitterroot River valley, near the Swan Valley. (BothBitterrootand Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux, No. 17) will turn up as titles in the later Robicheaux series.)

We meet the young cajun Paret, a country music guitarist, as he is being released from Angola, the notorious Louisiana state prison.And, more than anything else, it sometimes 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.This area is more or less Burke's home turf: he was born in Houston, Texas in 1936, grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast, attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively.

However, a jailhouse friend of Iry's, the jazz musician Buddy Riordan, calls him to Montana, and there he goes.And I'd be the first to admit that Burke describes the flora, fauna, geography, and human occupants of Montana beautifully: his descriptions just lack the passion and power of his Gulf Coast work.At any rate, Buddy's father is the first of the old guy environmental nuts, pursuing their agendas without taking into account the jobs of their neighbors, whom we will meet in Burke's Montana work.Needless to say, it makes the Riordans locally unpopular, and from that bad things start to happen.

I found the lengthy descriptions of drinking and drugging a bit tedious after a while.The dated jazz hipster slang was even more so: endless descriptions of a person as a "cat," too much of "daddio;" and why oh why did Iry and Buddy call each other "Zeno?" Nevertheless, Burke gives us virile and vivid prose in this book, and unleashes a powerful sucker punch of an ending that I didn't see coming.

Over the years Burke 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 Robicheaux novels, including the more recent Jolie Blon's Bounce, Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries), and Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) have been New York Times bestsellers.Truly, he's worth reading, tho "Lost Get-Back," Pulitzer nominee or not, may not be the place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Get-Back Boogie
I was so happy to have found a James Lee Burke that I hadn't read yet and this is quite an early work of his.Absolutely excellent.A long-time fan, I cannot praise his work enough.None of the characters are ones who appear in later books, but those familiar with Burke will recognise traits and types. I was amazed to read that Burke had such difficulty in finding a publisher for this book originally.Those who have not read any of Burke's books yet, you will find this is a great start and I am certain this will not be your last!

5-0 out of 5 stars Burke's Mainstream Masterpiece
James Lee Burke began his career writing mainstream fiction.The Lost Get-Back Boogie is (with To the Bright and Shining Sun) his mainstream masterpiece.Short-listed for the Pulitzer, it tells the story of Iry Paret, a Korean War vet with a string of (mostly self-induced) bad luck.Paroled from Angola, he travels from Louisiana to Montana to work for the family of an old prison pal, Buddy Riordan.Essentially, he leaves his own dysfunctional family and dysfunctional situation for Buddy's.In the course of the novel he must make choices which bring him to personal independence, adulthood and some measurable degree of happiness.The constituent elements of nearly every Burke novel are here: lush description, violence, the temptations of drink, the need for personal redemption.This is not crime fiction per se, but there is a great deal of crime here.Fans of Dave Robicheaux will see elements of Dave in Iry (and a few elements of Clete in Buddy).The book is strong in its constituent elements, but very subtle in its influences.Iry struggles throughout the book to complete his song ('The Lost Get-Back Boogie'), a personal memoir of the good life in Louisiana.He must bring his imaginative life into synch with his day-to-day emotional life and he cannot complete the song until he completes his own (painful, quietist) redemptive process.This is a beautiful book.Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tone Poem
THE LOST GET-BACK BOOGIE by James Lee Burke was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for fiction. Fine literary prose writing in commercial fiction is a rare achievement that is Burke's forte.
Ex-convict Ivy Paret heads to Montana to find a new life for himself and his music. What he finds are complex relationships mixed with hatred, alcohol insanity, and betrayal.
New friends and old enemies keep pace with his efforts to regain his life and the music in his soul.
James Lee Burke is a fine read, who continues to deliver pleasure book after book.
Writing as a Small BusinessSins of the Fathers: A Brewster County NovelUnder the Liberty Oak

2-0 out of 5 stars It can stay lost
After pages and pages of descriptive phrases of the flora and fauna from Louisiana to Missoula, Montana we finally arrive.We arrive to endless cigarettes, Camels, Lucky Strikes, roll yer own and pot.This is mostly accompanied by many six packs of beer and booze of various brands.The stench of unwashed bodies and the nasty odors of jails prevails.Tiresome adjectives and adverbial phrases, which were interesting the first ten novels, are now old.You'd think an English professor could pick up some new ones from his students.Who cares about any of these shiftless characters.
I, for one, am putting down this book and taking a bath.
This not one of Burke's best.
... Read more

22. Circles : Fifty Roundtrips Through History Technology Science Culture
by James Burke
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-09-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743249763
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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From the bestselling author of The Knowledge Web come fifty mesmerizing journeys into the history of technology, each following a chain of consequential events that ends precisely where it began. Whether exploring electromagnetic fields, the origin of hot chocolate, or DNA fingerprinting, these essays all illustrate the surprisingly circular nature of change.

In "Room with (Half) a View," for instance, Burke muses about the partly obscured railway bridge outside his home on the Thames, a musing which sets off a chain of thought that leads from the bridge's engineer to Samuel Morse, to firearms inventor Sam Colt, and finally to a trombonist named Gustav Holst, who once lived in the very house that blocks Burke's view.

So it goes with Burke's entertaining and informative essays as each one highlights the interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated events and innovations. Romantic poetry leads to brandy distillation; tonic water connects through Leibniz to the first explorers to reach the North Pole. This unique collection is sure to stimulate and delight history buffs, technophiles, and anyone else with a healthy intellectual curiosity.Amazon.com Review
Unlike Perry Mason, James Burke does not try to assemble watertight (ifconvoluted) cases. His essays in the history of technology are more likerandom walks, paeans to serendipity. In The Knowledge Web Burkeattempted to duplicate on paper the feeling of inter- and cross-linkingtrends that you find in history and on the World Wide Web. The essays inCircles are more artificially restricted, topological circles thatwrap around. A typical trip goes from the Space Shuttle to Skylab to Werner von Braun to feedback to digestion to lab animals to the Humane Society to sea rescues to charting sea currents to Foucault to astronomical photography to the solar corona to Skylab. Whew!

"There are two reasons why I make such play of the unstructured nature ofhistory, but then, in this book, give it a formal shape," Burke says. "Onereason is that otherwise these essays would have mirrored the serendipity I described, just going from anywhere to anywhere.... Choosing to go round in circles, and to end each story where it begins, lets me illustrate perhaps the most intriguing aspect of serendipity at work, which shows itself in the way inwhich history generates the most extraordinary coincidences." He might have added that trying to guess how Burke proposes to connect all this up makesthese tales a game for reader as well as writer, a most educational amusement. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Hasty Effort
I am a James Burke fan from way back. I think his series "Connections" was a masterpiece. However, this book is a long way from a complete work. Other reviewers have dealt with the increasingly tenuous way he connects the dots and the masses of reworked Connections material, so I won't discuss that.

What I found most annoying was the hyper-chatty method of writing, as if he were just transcribing an oral presentation. The trouble with writing the same way you speak is that the written word doesn't preserve any of the rhythmic and tonal punctuation that allows listeners to parse it into a coherent message. I found many parts of the book garbled until I couldn't tell what he was trying to convey. If I had not seen Connections and not remembered his voice and style of speaking, I would have understood even less.

I know that professionally produced books have an editor between the author and the page, so I don't know whether to blame the editor for not being more forceful or blame the author for overriding the editor. But somebody messed up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dizzying Cotton Candy Journey
James Burke's works are always engaging, stimulating, exhilarating, fascinating and awe-inspiring.Genius, it is often said, is evidenced not by what the genius knows, but by the connections the genius sees.Burke is by any reasonable definition therefore a certifiable genius.

"Circles," unlike earlier works "Connections" or "The Day the Universe Changed," has no illustrations and touches on the myriad of intersecting lives in history in only the briefest mention.This is "Connections" on steroids or "The Day the Universe Changed" for the ADD set.Burke's breakneck pace in racing through history makes you wish for more detail, more context, more elaboration -- which of course is a good nudge in the proper direction.Reading his clever essays is pleasurable on several levels, but the panoply of characters whisks by so fast you're left with not much but intellectual whiplash at the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Round and round we go;where we stop,only Burke knows.

This book consists of 50 different trips through
Technology,Science,History,Culture,Personal Relationships and a few other things;but in the end they all end up where the trip started.
The trips in this book are reminiscent of the trips Burke used to take us on in his TV series Connections. I enjoyed the trips on Connections much more than the trips in this this book for a number of reasons. Since the connections that are detailed are interesting asides which are quite surprising and entertaining ;but not particularly earth shattering.These trips are little else than entertaining;and as such they are far better presented with video than simply by prose.

2-0 out of 5 stars Burke is trying too hard
After producing the marvelous and engaging series "Connections", Burke seems to have gone to the well one to many times with "Circles". Burke trys to take his 'Connections' approach to identify complete circles in the connections of history. But rather than taking the connections where they lead, this self-imposed, artificial constraint leads to a combination of wild leaps and tidy little packages that just doesn't ring true. Burke comes out looking like he's just trying too hard, and a reader who's really paying attention will just refuse to follow.

Okay, there are some curious and interesting historical connections identified here, but it's just too hard to follow Burke's route just to glean a few gems.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Classic
Does anyone write about technological history better than James Burke? In this volume, Burke literally takes the reader in circles as he connects ideas, inventions, and innovations that have changed our world. Whether by purpose or serendipity, some of the critical inventions and discoveries came about in highly entertaining ways. With its brief chapters, this is one of those books that it you can easily pick up and set down, and pick up again days later. ... Read more

23. Connections
by James Burke
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-07-03)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$8.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743299558
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • How did the popularity of underwear in the twelfth century lead to the invention of the printing press?

  • How did the waterwheel evolve into the computer?

  • How did the arrival of the cannon lead eventually to the development of movies?

In this highly acclaimed and bestselling book, James Burke brilliantly examines the ideas, inventions, and coincidences that have culminated in the major technological advances of today. With dazzling insight, he untangles the pattern of interconnecting events: the accidents of time, circumstance, and place that gave rise to the major inventions of the world.

Says Burke, "My purpose is to acquaint the reader with some of the forces that have caused change in the past, looking in particular at eight innovations -- the computer, the production line, telecommunications, the airplane, the atomic bomb, plastics, the guided rocket, and television -- which may be most influential in structuring our own futures....Each one of these is part of a family of similar devices, and is the result of a sequence of closely connected events extending from the ancient world until the present day. Each has enormous potential for humankind's benefit -- or destruction."

Based on a popular TV documentary series, Connections is a fascinating scientific detective story of the inventions that changed history -- and the surprising links that connect them.Amazon.com Review
You can make all the plans you will, plot to make a fortune inthe commodities market, speculate on developing trends: all willlikely come to naught, for "however carefully you plan for the future,someone else's actions will inevitably modify the way your plans turnout." So writes the English scholar and documentary producer JamesBurke in his sparkling book Connections, a favorite ofhistorically minded readers ever since its first publication in1978. Taking a hint from Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man, Burkecharts the course of technological innovation from ancient times tothe present, but always with a subversive eye for things happening inspite of, and not because of, their inventors' intentions. Burke givescareful attention to the role of accident in human history. In hisopening pages, for instance, he writes of the invention of uniformcoinage, an invention that hinged on some unknown Anatolianprospector's discovering that a fleck of gold rubbed against a pieceof schist--a "touchstone"--would leave a mark indicating itsquality. Just so, we owe the invention of modern printing to JohannGutenberg's training as a goldsmith, for his knowledge of theproperties of metals enabled him to develop a press whose letterformswould not easily wear down. With Gutenberg's invention, Burke notes,came a massive revolution in the European economy, for, as he writes,"the easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens."Burke'sbook is a splendid and educational entertainment for our fast-changingtime. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great one, easy to read, nice illustrations.
A enjoyable trip trough history, and its relations
Very nice way to learn!! I would loved that at school

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I don't usually care too much for books but this book was very well written and I wanted to read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
This is a great book, that follows more or less to the original Connections series. Although you don't have Burke's wonderful accent to lead you along as in the series, the information in this book is fantastic filled with a multitude of unknown connections.

5-0 out of 5 stars 6 Stars for this Series and Book...5 stars just isn't enough!
I saw James Burke's Connections Series when it came out years ago and it made a tremendous impact on me.I then read the book cover to cover!

It was a joy to watch Burke carefully take us (the viewers) with him on an amazing journey.He showed time and again how people throughout history used their critical thinking skills to create amazing human creations from seemingly unrelated discoveries and decisions that were made before them.

Burke showed that whatever we create today, we can't possibly imagine what type of morphing it will go through time and what incredible thing it may become tomorrow.

Connections (the series and book) also allow us to peek into the mind of the inventor.For example in his book Connections, Burke writes about Thomas Edison:"When Edison died he had over a thousand patents filed in his name, thanks to the work of the men in his laboratory.Each man was a specialist in his field, serving the needs of Edison's fertile imagination as well as his acute understanding of the seller's market in which he lived.Edison never developed an idea unless he knew in advance that it would be profitable."

Years after reading the book and watching the series I went to a James Burke lecture.He is as personable, passionate, interesting, animated and fun in person as he is on the series!At one point during the lecture I asked a question and he answered it and joked with me.When he signed my book later he asked if I was okay with his ribbing.I said I was pleased that he had such a great sense of humor and allowed me to be part of it!

The underlying theme in connections is how we as humans are connected to our species though our works and discoveries.We are in this thing called life together!.

6 Stars for this Series and Book...5 stars just isn't enough!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide to: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking

5-0 out of 5 stars Connections
James Burke takes the reader through history and the inventions that were made. He is very insightful as to the reasons for the inventions and he explains how events lead from one thing to the next. It follows his TV series very closely. It would be useful to any history teacher as a reference. ... Read more

24. Black Cherry Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (1990-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380712040
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ex-cop Dave Robicheaux: His wife had been murdered ... Now they're after his little girl...

From the Louisiana bayou to Montana's tribal lands,he's running front the bottle, a homicide rap, aprofessional killer ... and the demons of his past.

Amazon.com Review
In this winner of the 1990 Edgar Award for best mystery novel, DaveRobicheaux, a former New Orleans policeman, is pursued by a psychopath andflees his home on the Bayou Teche, in the heart of Louisiana, to find a newlife in Montana. After settling near the Blackfoot River Canyon, Robicheauxfinds himself smack dab in the middle of an illegal Mafia takeover of Indianlands. As he struggles to expose the truth, he must face some hard factsabout himself, especially after the appearance of an old Cajun friend, DixieLee Pughe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Exemplar of His Work
"Black Cherry Blues" (1989) was the third novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his New York Times bestselling detective Dave Robicheaux series.Like the earlier books of the series, and many 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.But it also takes Robicheaux on the first of his many excursions to Big Sky Country, Montana, where Burke now spends some time.

The plot is set in motion by Dixie Lee Pugh, supposedly Robicheaux's roommate freshman year at Southwestern Louisiana Institute - the school that Burke himself attended.It seems that Burke modeled Dixie Lee on Jerry Lee Lewis: he begins his career, Burke tells us, at that recording studio, unnamed by Burke, but known as Sam Phillips Sun Studio to us, where Burke tells us, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison began theirs'.And Dixie Lee played the Brooklyn Paramount, in those legendary shows of Alan Freed's, along with Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran. At any rate, Dixie Lee has had a successful career in the country music business, but, like many of Burke's musicians, he has lost that career to drink and drugs.However, Dixie Lee has found himself work doing odd jobs for another of Burke's many not-so wiseguys, all similarly named, in this case,Sally Dio, and has also picked up work in the Montana oil business.Dixie Lee comes to Robicheaux with a problem, and the way Robicheaux operates, we know it will soon be Robicheaux's problem. And it will call him and his adopted daughter Alafair to Montana.

"Black Cherry" finds Robicheaux still mourning the death of his second wife Annie, who was murdered by hit men looking for him; still mentioning occasionally his parents and half-brother Jimmie, and still being called "Streak," by those close to him, such as Clete Purcel, his former partner on the New Orleans Police Department, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood, who is still around to help Robicheaux: Clete's in Montana too. Robicheaux is of Cajun ancestry, and continues to relive the nightmare of his service in Vietnam. He has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence.This book finds him not working in law enforcement, but he still owns and operates the boat rental and bait business, while living in the house in which he was actually born.He is assisted in the operation of his business by a black man, Batist, whom we've met before, and will see again.And we again meet Alafair's pet. the three-legged raccoon Tripod, whom we've met before and will meet again.

Burke continues to write with energy, passion and power. His Montana work is very nicely done, but, to me, nothing touches his Gulf Coast work, 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 more recent Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) have been New York Times bestsellers."Black Cherry," aside from its regrettable--to me--dalliance in Montana, is a good exemplar of his work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Robicheaux is Rock Solid
Burke's third in the series packs a punch just as the first two Robicheaux novels.His writing style is perfect, drawing the reader in immediately and keeping our attention throughout.He builds weaving story lines and has created a great hero in Robicheaux.By the end of this one, we've been given a great tale, more of Dave's depth is revealed and Burke has created other lasting characters.Looking forward to reading all in this series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Burke Book, Black Cherry Blues
Within a few pages of reading this book, pages started falling out. The publisher needs to use better quality products.
However, I am enjoying the novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Edgar Award winner is about as good as it gets
This was one of the best mysteries I have ever read, hands down. It has everything - great dialogue, complex characters, interesting bit parts, occasional humor, great descriptive passages, tension, danger, darkness, and depth. It is just very well written all the way thru.The hero is Dave Robicheaux, a Cajun and former Big Easy cop. He is as interesting a paperback detective as I have ever seen. Like most of them, he is tough and cool when necessary, but unlike a lot of them, he is a fully rounded character with deep flaws and heartaches.Robicheaux is a former New Orleans cop who runs a bait and tackle shop in the Louisiana bayou.He is the guardian of a six year old Latina whom he rescued from some disastrous situation.He pines for his dead wife, who was murdered by enemies of his, and sees her ghost from time to time, along with that of his father.He is a recovering alcoholic, and dark moods can descend on him. The image that comes across is that of an intense brooding man, quiet and controlled, with a strong sense of right and wrong.

In this story, trouble stumbles onto him in the form of Dixie Lee Pugh, an old college buddy who is a washed up rockabilly star.Dixie is usually loaded up on beer, and his southern fried speech is hilarious.He hears about some nasty stuff that an oil company he has been working with is involved in - a possible double murder in Montana. Dixie is a brilliant mystery character - seedy, charming, basically decent despite his lunacy and alcoholism. Dave's instinct is to stay away from Dixie's garbage, but he can't help but do a little investigating, and when he does, some oil company goons take an interest in him.After they threaten his little girl's life, it gets personal, and Dave goes after them.He ends up in jail, and then out on bail, trying to solve the crime before his trial date.He goes up to Montana and tangles with a mobster named Sally Dio, and runs into his old partner, Cletus Purcell, now a freelance hooligan. Purcell is another fine Burke creation. A muscular, tough good ol boy, a former rogue cop for hire, he suffers from impotence and a lack of focus in his life.He also turns out to be a man Dave can count on.

I would gladly pass a few subway rides with Burke again someday.The company can be a little rough, but the quality of the writing is undeniable.

3-0 out of 5 stars This One Didn't Do it For Me
I am a big James Lee Burke fan. I can tell this was an early novel. The plot took a hard to believe turn when (plot spoiler) he decided to take Alafair with him to Montana. Why in the world would he decide to take a 6 year old with him on a trip to confront deadly gangsters, some of whom had already once threatened the child? Well, to me it was so she could be threatened or harmed in some manner later on in the book. I don't know if I am correct, I haven't finished the book, but I bet I am.

Also, there is an awful lot of "coincidence" in this eveyone knows someone who knew someone all tied together. Hard to swallow. The bad guys here seem pretty stereotypical. I'm just not diggin' this one like I have the other books with this character. 2 stars, might not finish it.

Ok, I finished it. I was wrong about the daughter, the only purpose it served was to waste page space having to add who he left the child with every time he went out.

Also, I personally think the author does not understand the term "dry drunk" at all. Additionally I grew weary of hearing about the alcoholic issues. Maybe I'm wrong...but I think an "alcohiolic" who has been sober a very long time doesn't have to go through the sweaty white knuckle moments and physical illness/symptoms anymore.

Maybe 3 stars. I found the ending to be sort of flat like a soda with no carbonation. Almost an as if the "climax" was an epilogue or something. I read it as a rough first effort and will likely continue to read the Robicheaux series. ... Read more

25. Jesus Out to Sea: Stories
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 256 Pages (2007-06-05)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$2.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0013L2DU0
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this moving collection of short stories, James Lee Burke elegantly marries his flair for gripping storytelling with his lyrical writing style and complex, fascinating character portraits. The backdrop of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast is a versatile setting for Burke's stories, which cover the scope of the human experience -- from love and sex to domestic abuse to war, death, and friendship. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars news from an alien world
In this collection of eleven short stories, two of them excerpted from the Robicheaux series, the characters are mostly miserable, in particular those who - survivors of the terrifying hurricane Katrina - found refuge on a roof in the hope to be eventually rescued. However not by president Bush, who merely waved to some of them from his helicopter, and this not sooner than some days after the flood.
The title of the collection alludes to a big wood carving of Jesus on his cross, teared away from a stucco church, drifting on his back, his arms stretched out, within a few yards of the narrator squatting a tin roof.
A plain vanilla James Lee Burke.

3-0 out of 5 stars Review
I have read almost everything James Lee Burke has written. All have been good. Some have have been better than good. This was not one of those. I gave it a three star review because some of the stories were equal to his novels. Others, I started, and then decided to skip.

Writing short stories is a skill and a gift. It is difficult to do well. My unhappiness with this book stems from the fact that even when the story was good; it still felt unfinished. They began like novels and finished as sketches.The stories of his youth were interesting but incomplete. They also, to me at least, read like dressed up interviews that had been reshaped to fit the short story format.

Mr. Burke, especially considering the body of his work, is entitled to a clunker once in awhile. God knows Stephen King has come up with a few. I would buy this book if it was at a used bookstore or yard sale. If I was going to pay full price it would be for any of his other books.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burk
James Lee Burke's books are top notch.I love ALL of them and would like to meet the author some day.He is an excellent writer and draws the reader right in from the first page.

2-0 out of 5 stars A gem or two, but mostly disappointing.
James Lee Burke has gathered a handful of his previously published short stories in a book called "Jesus Out to Sea".Having enjoyed several of Burke's novels, I picked the collection up thinking it would be a quick and enjoyable romp that could offset some of the laborious tomes on my reading list.Instead I spent hours trying to force myself through parts of the book, completely confused by my lack of enjoyment.Here is one of the few authors on the planet to win multiple Edgar Awards for best novel, and I am choking on some of his short stories.It was bewildering.

After digging into which stories I liked, because there were a few, and which ones I could barely read, a pattern emerged.When Burke writes in third person, he is brilliant.When he writes in first person, not so much.A little more analysis nailed down the rest of the mystery, explaining the wild swings in quality from a mere shift in perspective.

Burke is a master of local color.His gritty dialog, with accurate slang and job-specific terminology are absorbing and wonderful.He also possesses a flair for the descriptive that can create a majestic, broad stage on which to set his grungy players.Perhaps the miracle of Burke's writing is that he can do both of these things.An author famous for his violent descriptions of crime and a roughneck dialog also appeals to our senses with his ability to show us the marvelous planet that we scratch across.The dirty and the sublime are like two opposing palettes of colorful prose that he can weild simultaneously.

The problems occur when these vibrant hues bleed into one another on the canvas.A down-and-out R&B musician narrates one of Burke's stories with all the charm and slang expected of his profession and education.But outside of the dialog, the style blurs into Burke's voice, and his incredible skill as a wordsmith.It is a jarring experience, and like light through a ceiling fan it is disorientating and confusing until you determine the source.

When Burke writes in third person he is freed from this effect.He can allow the descriptions to dry before he applies the dialog.There is nothing wrong with an omniscient observer waxing eloquently on the affairs of men and the beauty of the bayou.There is no disruptive effect when the characters on this stage speak and act precisely as they should.In fact, it is such a welcoming blend that the few stories written from this perspective nearly made the purchase of the book worth it.Unfortunately, the majority of the pages are painted with his third-person brush.Slopped together, all those bright colors turning to a dull muck.

Overall I found the work to be disappointing.Especially since my favorite story was the very first one, setting me up to be let down even further.I recommend picking up one of his excellent novels instead, or checking out my other reviews for suggested reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Burke
I am an avid reader of Burke.For some reason these short stories did not have the impact for me as do his complete novels. ... Read more

26. A Morning for Flamingos
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (1991-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380713608
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Clutching the shards, of his shattered life, Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux has rejoined the New lberia police force.

His partner is dead -- slain during a condemned prisoner's bloodyflight to freedom that left Robicheaux critically wounded...and reawakened the ghost of his haunted, violent past.

Now he's trailing a killer into the sordid head of die Big Easy-caught up in the lethal undercurrents of a mob double-cross...confronting his most dangerous enemy: himself

... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fourth in the Robicheaux Series, Still Strong Stuff
"A Morning for Flamingos" (1990) was apparently the fourth 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.

Money problems have brought Robicheaux back to working as a detective in the Sheriff's Office of New Iberia, Louisiana, a smaller quieter town near New Orleans.He still lives in the house in which he was born, and owns and operates his boat rental and bait business, assisted by Batist, the black man whom we have met many times before and will again.The detective's second wife Annie was murdered a year ago by hit men looking for Robicheaux.We meet again his adopted daughter Alafair, and the three-legged raccoon, Tripod, her pet.

Robicheaux and another detective are taking two convicted felons to Angola, the notorious Louisiana state jail.One, the black, Creole Tee Beau Latiolais, is under sentence of death for the murder of redbone Hipolyte Broussard, pimp and drug dealer. Tee Beau'sGrandmama, Tante Lemon, is not shy about expressing to Robicheaux her conviction that the young man is innocent of the crime.The other felon, Jimmie Lee Boggs, is Burke's more or less usual funny-looking, white, psychotic, homicidal hit man.On the trip, Boggs makes a break for it, killing two men, seriously injuring Robicheaux, and incidentally freeing Tee Beau. Needless to say, the detective is intent on finding Boggs again.But his continuing financial problems cause him to accept a proposition from an old acquaintance, the fed Minos Dautrieve: that he go undercover for DEA to try to put a dent in New Orleans' thriving drug trade.As Robicheaux continues to look into Tee Beau's case, the detective will also meet Dorothea, the young man's girlfriend, and Gros Mama Goula, black gris-gris woman and brothel keeper, who just might know a thing or two about the death of the redbone (mixed black, white and Indian in the local parlance). The detective's return to New Orleans also results in his hearing from Bootsie Giacano, an old girlfriend of his, now twice widowed, who had married into New Orleans' premier mobster family. She goes back in his life to the summer of 1957, when Jimmie Clanton's "Just a Dream" was the most popular song on the jukebox.

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 Anthony Cardo, AKA Tony C or Tony the Cutter,and his assorted employees, Lionel Comeaux, Uncle Ray Fontenot, Kim Dollinger, and others.And, to be sure, Clete Purcel, 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 Burke's gangsters always are, is around to help the detective.Robicheaux is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his service in Vietnam, as, in fact, is the mobster Tony C. The detective has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence that is exaggerated by his friend and alter-ego Purcel.

Well, as a rule, I don't care for "undercover" plots, and the plot here is a little thin - for Burke - although it hums along and introduces quite a few characters.Several of the characters are grotesque, indeed, a sure attribute of Southern fiction.Still, "A Morning" is by no means my favorite in the mystery series. But 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 Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) have been New York Times bestsellers.Fourth book in the series: still pretty strong stuff.Worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dave Robicheaux....an "Every Man" Type of Hero
I'm reading these in order and am completely hooked on the Robicheaux series and the character himself.Admittedly flawed, always willing to put himself in harm's way for others, doggedly determined, and fighting the good fights....what's not to like?Throw in Burke's writing style, which is simply great and characters added or revisiting from other novels - all with depth and "realness" to them, and you have a winning series and one of our great mystery/thriller writers.

4-0 out of 5 stars HARD HITTING BURKE
Another fine novel by Burke. Again his characters, good and evil, leap off the page and into your mind. This one would make a great film with Tommy lee Jones as the protaganist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delta Dawn
James Lee Burke was recommended to me as an author along with David Fulmer, whose work I have also read and reviewed.I did enjoy this book, because for a brisk change of pace, there's nothing more exciting than a good crime and punishment novel - a walk on the wild side.Burke is another fine writer of this type of drama who is articulate, given to enchanting descriptive paragraphs of the Louisiana bayou country, the coastal lands and New Orleans, swamps and storms and elements, all of which appeal to me greatly while reading.In fact, I look for such things in writers - it amounts to chemistry between reader and writer - and it's what sets them apart for me.The plot is well laid out and the dialog between the characters is very good. In the comparison between the literary styles of Burke and Fulmer, if a comparison is needed, Burke comes off a little more as mass production in my eyes, but that is strictly an opinion and is not intended as a negative.

Dave Robicheaux, a career lawman who has had a lifetime of experience in police and private investigation, is approached by the DEA to go under cover in New Orleans, posing as a disgraced ex-cop on the rebound into another type of career - this time on the dirty side of the street.I liked the idea of the under cover approach, but it happened a mite too fast; he was accepted much too soon into the dealer's fold to be as believable as much of the story otherwise was, taking into consideration the kind of people being written about.During the first few days back in New Orleans, a lost love resurfaces in his life - from out of the magical long-ago Summer of '57 - and she is still beautiful but bored - and married into the mob to Bootsie. This too, seems a stretch to compliment an under cover cop's work, because in the words of his best friend, Clete Purcell, "you don't mess with their babes". But it makes good reading nonetheless, somehow, he gets away with it without even a confrontation, and their reunion does add the element of "first love rediscovered" romance that almost everyone can identify a little with.

The character of Dave also possesses human frailties that haunt him - some normal, some not so; he battles drink and depression, some of which is inherent to his nature, some of it inflicted or at least worsened by his stint in Viet Nam.He tries to use logic and critical thinking when coping with his devils, and this adds to the strength of character he obviously has - in fact, it's probably his salvation.And his observation of the emancipation the dawn provides him as he escapes from the night is truly remarkable, one of the best scenes.His thought process comes up with some other good "life experience" colloquialisms, and for me, this contributed to much of the design of the personality given him.

He also discovers in his target, the drug lord Tony Cardo, something he had not counted on, in fact didn't even believe existed in one so depraved - a tormented spirit, addicted to his own product, but possessed of a great love for his handicapped child, a little boy named Paul, who is the only rock left to him in his swaying, storm tossed world, most of it self-inflicted by his recurring death wish and his drug lord status.At the finale, this strange relationship between the hunter and the hunted plays out in a dramatic turn that's rather interesting, and I found myself wishing that the bad guy would get away after all, he deserved to get away, away with his little boy and his life while his wounded soul was given a chance to heal and become whole once more.

Sadly, I have big news regarding the toilet scene that resembled a scene out of the Godfather:A blue tick hound will not fit into a toilet bowl, not even if it were a puppy, or even if it had been through a meat grinder - it's anatomically impossible.I didn't completely understand it's significance with the rest of the plot - but I guess a dog in a toilet bowl is not supposed to be questioned - it's there for the shock value.

I liked the ambience of it; his settings along the Louisiana coast provide lots of backdrop for his story and he brings it to you.An enjoyable read if you like the genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars lojo
Just finished reading this book.I could not put it down.Another great one by the author. ... Read more

27. Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (1997-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786889187
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When a man imprisoned for killing a black civil rights leader protests his innocence before Dave Robicheaux, the Louisiana detective finds himself pressured by the state's new governor and his seductive wife to stay away from the case. Reprint."Amazon.com Review
One of Burke's series of crime stories set in the Louisiana bayoucountry, this story chronicles the difficult mission of Sheriff's DeputyDave Robicheaux to confirm the guilt of a redneck named Aaron Crown in thekilling of a civil rights leader back in the 1960s, and to find out whatCrown's recent arrest has to do with an upcoming gubernatorial election. Histask becomes mired in the history and inbred politics of New Iberia andthwarted by a ghoulish hit man who crawls out of the swamps to silence policeinformants. A wild story with enough oddball characters to make itinteresting and worthwhile. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Deja Vu All Over Again
"Cadillac Jukebox" (1996) was the ninth novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his massive New York Times bestselling 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.

Aaron Crown has spent decades in Louisiana's notorious Angola prison, sentenced for the murder of the state's most famous black civil rights leader.Nobody's too bent out of shape about that: Crown's family were emigrants from the northern part of the state, shiftless timber people, possibly members of the Ku Klux Klan.Then Crown starts protesting his innocence to Robicheaux, now a detective with the New Iberia Sheriff's office, and Robicheaux starts worrying that the filthy, smelly, uneducated redneck has perhaps been scapegoated for the greater society's sins.But as Robicheaux takes an interest in Crown, strange things start happening.Buford LaRose, scion of a wealthy old Southern family, an academic running -- successfully - for governor, and author of the book that sent Crown to prison, begins taking an interest in Robicheaux; he offers him the job of head of the state police.Buford's beautiful, hot-to-trot wife Karyn, a former flame of Robicheaux's, also is suddenly paying a lot of attention to the detective.Documentary filmmakers trying to prove Crown's innocence are murdered.And New Orleans wiseguys start coming out of the woodwork.Of course, Clete Purcel is around to help, his former partner on the New Orleans Police Department, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood. So is a female cop, Helen Soileau, whom, like Purcell, we will continue to see a lot of in later books in the series.

Dave 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.In addition to working for the sheriff, he still owns and operates a boat rental and bait business, while living in the house in which he was actually born.He is assisted in the operation of his business by a black man, Batist, whom we've met before, and will see again.Robicheaux is, by this point, on his third wife, Bootsie.His quietly, illegally adopted daughter, an ethnic Hispanic, whom he's named Alafair, apparently the better to confuse his readers, as Burke's real life daughter, Alafair Burke, is also writing mysteries these days, has morphed into a fairly ordinary American teenager, and she's got her pet, the three-legged raccoon Tripod, whom we've met before and will meet again.

Burke is still writing with energy, passion and power.He's still giving us the odd grotesque character, a sure hallmark of Southern fiction. However, there's little discussion of Robicheaux's father and mother by now, no World War II German sub in the Gulf, and the detective's half-brother Jimmie, who associated with gangsters, is mentioned only briefly, in one sentence, as having been ordered shot by a New Orleans gangster.But people who've known the detective long time still call him by the nickname "Streak," for a supposed skunk white streak in his black hair - that Jimmie also had-- that's meant to reflect childhood malnutrion.Some of Burke's characters are now beginning to resemble each other in the many Robicheaux books: the New Orleans gangster Robicheaux has known since childhood.The handsome, arrogant, ruthless rich man of good family who doesn't care whom he hurts in acquiring his great wealth.The beautiful hot-to-trot wife of the rich man, with whom Robicheaux has a romantic history.The dangerous Southerner.The hit man from Brooklyn. Burke tells us that, as both the New Orleans and Brooklyn accents grow out of the Irish accent, the accents of these two cities resemble each other.And the outcomes some of these characters meet are also beginning to resemble each other.Obviously, at this point, eight books into the successful Robicheaux series, Burke is beginning to allow his work to reflect his inner needs, as best-selling writers often do.

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 more recent Jolie Blon's Bounce, andPurple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)have been New York Times bestsellers."Cadillac Jukebox" has its moments, but many readers may find it deja vu all over again.

3-0 out of 5 stars Southern Crime
The regular characters of the bayou are back in this Dave Robicheaux novel as well as the usual pyscho killer.
Thecharacters are colorful . The plot is okay.I'm not sure why the pyscho killer was hired to kill but, I never lost interest in the story. This novel is really 31/2 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lousiana Mobsters!
I really enjoyed this book. The mobsters are so well discribed and play into the plot. The mix of the southern artistocrats and the dirty underworld makes this a fun read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burke does it again
James Lee Burke in Cadillac Jukebox does an excellent job of describing the corruption in Louisiana politics that has been around for years. This book kept me on the edge of my seat wondering where it was going next. This was my second Burke book and I will be reading many more. Recommended to all. Keep them coming Mr Burke.

4-0 out of 5 stars Story is good but becoming predictable
This is the third time that JLB has tackled the same type of story: a old murder, an old acquaintance, an old girlfriend and a boyhood friend (who is on the wrong side of the law).

The old murder involves the killing of a NAACP civil rights activist forty years ago by a KKK racist.The old acquaintance is an ex-vietnam marine (sound familiar) who became successful (came from the right side of the tracks) and is now running for Governor.The ex-girlfriend is now the politicians wife who has never forgiven Dave for dumping her.The old boyhood friend is a 'made-man' who has been playing both sides for a while and is now in trouble with everyone.

Needless to say the bad-guys get their cumuppence and the good guys win, but as always there is some collateral damage to someone near Dave.His old friend and bait shop buddy, Batist, gets stuck between a rock and a hard place, but thankfully survives. ... Read more

28. Dixie City Jam
by James Lee Burke
 Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (1995-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786889004
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux matches wits with neo-Nazi psychopath Will Buchalter to find a sunken German submarine, while a Mafia war explodes in New Orleans. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars He Gives Himself a Larger Canvas, and He Uses It
"Dixie City Jam" (1994) was the eighth novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his 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.

In his previous work in this series, Burke has frequently mentioned a German submarine, sunk with all hands aboard during World War II, underwater in the Gulf of Mexico.So is the twisted wreckage of an oil rig that exploded while Robicheaux's father was working aboard: his father's body, too, is under the salt of the Gulf of Mexico, now so much in the news due to another recent oil rig explosion.In "Dixie City Jam," the buried Nazi submarine assumes central importance when Hippo Bimstone, a powerful Jewish activist from New Orleans, requests that Robicheaux, formerly of the New Orleans Police Department, now of the New Iberia Sheriff's Office, locate the sunken vessel.The beginning of Robicheaux's search is enough to draw a neo-Nazi psychopath, Will Buchalter, who insists that the Holocaust was a hoax, to town, and it seems Buchalter will stop at nothing to find the sub first. Buchalter is pretty much Burke's usual hit man/bad guy, funny-looking, homicidal, psychotic.Of course, this being a book by Burke, New Orleans wise guys soon start coming out of the woodwork too, for reasons of their own: we have here Tommie (Bobalouba) Lonighan, and the Calucci brothers, Max and Bobo. And, to be sure, Clete Purcel, 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 meet the Reverend Oswald Flat and his wife; and a mysterious nun, Sister Marie Guilbeaux, who may have more to do with Buchalter than is helpful for the detective.Then there are some good cops, such as Lucinda Bergeron, and some dirty cops, such as Nate Baxter.

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.In addition to working for the sheriff, he still owns and operates a boat rental and bait business, while living in the house in which he was actually born.He is assisted in the operation of his business by a black man, Batist, whom we've met before, and will see again.Robicheaux is, by this point, on his third wife, Bootsie, who has developed the generally fatal disease lupus.The detective's quietly, illegally adopted daughter, an ethnic Hispanic, whom he's named Alafair, has morphed into a fairly ordinary American teenager, and she's got her pet, the three-legged raccoon Tripod, whom we've met before and will meet again.

The novel at hand is rather longer than Burke's usual, and is shot through with discussion of New Orleans' music: 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 year, 1957.And the locally- beloved Fat Man, Fats Domino. Burke also gives us a couple of pretty grotesque characters, a hallmark of Southern literature.He continues to write with energy, passion and power, and the longer length seems, if anything, to have given him a bigger canvas than usual to work upon.In fact, like Michael Connelly, the creator of a detective whom he named Hieronymus Bosch, after the great 16th century Dutch artist that used all his canvas to the corners, jamming it full of grotesque characters, Burke in this book seems to have used every inch of his larger canvas, and has himself given us some memorable grotesques.
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 more recent Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) have been New York Times bestsellers.But "Dixie City Jam" is certainly one of the more outstanding books in this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dixie City Jam
James Lee Burke again excels in a great book. I am reading each of the Dave Robicheaux books in order and I look forward to the next in sequence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great find
My husband and I are voracious readers--both fiction and nonfiction. James Lee Burke was a great find. Not only are his plots clever and intelligent, his characters have those oh-so-human foibles we all can relate to, and his settings solid enough to put me right in the bayous, he's written a slew of books I never heard about before. It'll keep me in stories for, oh, a few weeks anyway.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dumbest cop alive
Warning: spoilers---
This is my first Burke novel. It won't be my last, but I sure hope that Robicheaux wises up in the other books. Let me count the ways in which he demonstrates he's not smart enough to dress and feed himself, let alone be a cop:

1. Twisted bad guy attacks and terrorizes wife. What does hero cop husband do? Does he tell his tough-as-nails fearless hired man, who works all day a hundred feet away from the house about it, and to keep an eye on her? No. Does Bootsie the wife go "yo, husband, I'm taking a little vacation until you catch this lunatic."? No. Does Robicheaux stay home himself? No, he gallivants all over the landscape and when he comes home gets ambushed by the exact same bad guy, who has an accomplice and Bootsie tied and gagged.

2. All kinds of people, both cops and colorful bad guys, warn him that he's up against something seriously bad and scary. He goes "huh" and leaves it at that.

3. Twisted bad guy breaks into the house a couple nights later, while Bootsie and hero cop are sleeping, and watches them sleep. Then writes a message on the mirror and leaves other obvious signs he was there. Meanwhile, Robicheaux doesn't have nightmares about twisted bad guy like a normal person, oh no, he has nightmares about something a creepy little preacher told him, and sleeps right through this guy breaking through a deadbolt and sneaking around his house. No alarm system, no dog, none of his tough but colorful cop friends helping out.

4. Three times the twisted bad guy invades their home and does horrible things. But Bootsie still stays put, and Robicheaus gets dumber, which hardly seem possible. Every strange car that creeps down their driveway he dismisses as nothing important. Then he gets caught by the twisted bad guy in the absolute stupidest ambush of all time- a truck supposedly broken down just down his street, with a suspicious vehicle lurking behind it. He walks right into it, not a care in the world.

Burke creates a nice sense of atmosphere and locale, and he draws a colorful cast of characters. Men characters, that is, the women might as well be cardboard cutouts. Bootsie gets terrorized, and she's worried about husband? Yeah, whatever! Still, it's a lively, engrossing read. I just wish the hero cop wasn't such a dunce.

1-0 out of 5 stars Overwritten and Ridiculous
James Lee Burke is a good writer, but this isn't a good book.The paperback edition is more than 500 pages long.The book would have benefited greatly from an editor who could wield a red pen and delete about 250 pages of excess fat.

The story makes the protagonist, Dave Robicheaux,look like a dunce.He knows someone is out to intimidate him and his family but he takes no precautions.So time after time, the bad guys get into his house and physically abuse his wife and then him.It is hard to believe a former New Orleans' homicide detective who now works for the sheriff's office could be so stupid and cavalier.

The story is written in the first person.Rather than explain some of the local New Orleans lingo, the author has Dave's friend Clete Purcel explain it to him.Pretty tedious.

I recommend trying one of Burke's other books. ... Read more

29. 3 Great Novels: "The Neon Rain", "Heaven's Prisoners", "Black Cherry Blues": Robicheaux - The Early Years
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 640 Pages (2004-12-20)
list price: US$26.85
Isbn: 0752868306
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THE NEON RAIN: When Johnny Massina, a convicted murderer bound for the electric chair, warns Dave Robicheaux he's on somebody's hit list, the Cajun detective is rocketed into a situation with chilling consequences. THE NEON RAIN is the first highly acclaimed novel in the Dave Robicheaux series. HEAVEN'S PRISONERS: Dave Robicheaux is trying to put a life of violence and crime behind him, leaving homicide to run a boat-rental business in Louisiana's bayou country. But one day a small two-engine plane suddenly crashes into the sea and Robicheaux dives down to the wreckage to find four bodies and one survivor: a little girl miraculously trapped in a pocket of air. When the authorities insist only three bodies were recovered from the plane, Robicheaux decides to investigate the mystery of the missing man. BLACK CHERRY BLUES: Personal tragedy has left Dave Robicheaux close to the edge. Battling against his old addiction to alcohol, Dave finds his only tranquillity at home with his young ward Alafair. But even this fragile peace is shattered by the arrival of Dixie Lee Pugh who brings with him a brutal trail of murder and violence. ... Read more

30. American Connections: The Founding Fathers. Networked.
by James Burke
Paperback: 368 Pages (2007-07-03)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$0.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743282264
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Using the unique approach that he has employed in his previous books, author, columnist, and television commentator James Burke shows us our connections to the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Over the two hundred-plus years that separate us, these connections are often surprising and always fascinating. Burke turns the signers from historical icons into flesh-and-blood people: Some were shady financial manipulators, most were masterful political operators, a few were good human beings, and some were great men. The network that links them to us is also peopled by all sorts, from spies and assassins to lovers and adulterers, inventors and artists. The ties may be more direct for some of us than others, but we are all linked in some way to these founders of our nation.

If you enjoyed Martin Sheen as the president on television's The West Wing, then you're connected to founder Josiah Bartlett. The connection from signer Bartlett to Sheen includes John Paul Jones; Judge William Cooper, father of James Fenimore; Sir Thomas Brisbane, governor of New South Wales; an incestuous astronomer; an itinerant math teacher; early inventors of television; and pioneering TV personality Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the inspiration for Ramon Estevez's screen name, Martin Sheen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars Drivel and Silly but full of historic trivia
Other reviewers have correctly judged this book as "silly" and "drivel".However, because Burke is so knowledgeable about so many subjects, I found the book entertaining (in a silly sort of way).Great book to take the edge off of a long day.Occasionally, there is a gem of a sentence or a fact that creates that"ah hah moment".This is one of those books you should "never pay retail".I found mine in the discount bin.

5-0 out of 5 stars History surprises.
Love the little know history and the subtle connections that helped form our history.
Great trivia for parties!
Really enjoyed it.

2-0 out of 5 stars A silly exercise
Having greatly enjoyed Mr. Burkes books in the past, I was looking forward to one of his based on my soil.But proving that a name reappears (unrelated) later in history on some nameless board or committee sounds like an exercise best left to the student.The thought that the progeny of significant men in American history would have an effect later was a good idea, but not realized in this book.

Disappointing, but I still look forward to his next novel.

1-0 out of 5 stars Burke's Drivel
I have read nearly all of James Burke's work, and his Connections started my fascination with History of all kinds; nowadays, that's all I read.I also became a research historian and have co-authored a book; for that, I offer my unending thanks to Mr. Burke.Unfortunately, this book is nothing more than a collection of parlor tricks, one that wears thin after 2 or 3 chapters.There's no history here nor story telling nor insights; only a compendium of extremely poorly documented linkages connecting the signers of the Declaration of Independence to a current person of the same name.Within each chapter is a set of linkages or connections that typically number above 20, not the six degrees of networking that Burke alludes to.With that many degrees of networking, I could even play this game.All this book does is showcase Burke's knowledge of fairly inconsequential people over the past 200+ years and does nothing to stimulate interest in the reader.This is one book I couldn't bear to read or finish.Mr. Burke should be ashamed to have written it; it simply is not up to his previous standards.There is nothing here...nothing at all; how unfortunate.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Burke Does It Again
James Burke, well known for pursuing the stranger paths of history, has done just that once more.This time, he follows the signers of the Declaration of Independence, following paths leading away from each one to something within the last fifty years sharing that name.If what you want is a straight history book, try a different author.This is Burke's area of expertise, and he has done a wonderful job.Again. ... Read more

31. James Lee Burke And the Soul of Dave Robicheaux: A Critical Study of the Crime Fiction Series (Critical Study of the Crime Fiction)
by Barbara Bogue
Paperback: 219 Pages (2006-08-22)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786426225
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When he created the character Dave Robicheaux, author James Lee Burke lent the New Orleans homicide detective a few of his own characteristics: a daughter named Alafair, a lifetime struggle with alcohol, his Roman Catholic faith, and his love for fishing and the outdoors. On the other hand, Robicheaux is portrayed as a veteran of the Vietnam war, something Burke never experienced firsthand. Yet the demons Burke has known allow him to write convincingly about demons he never knew. Thus Burke has created a realistic, complex and compelling protagonist for his crime fiction series. That depth is one element that elevates Burke’s writing above the status of genre fiction. This book explores how James Lee Burke, through the first person narrative of detective Dave Robicheaux, probes the world of law and order, crime and disorder, and one man’s internal conflicts with modern moral issues. The first chapter reveals the similarities and differences between real life creator and fictional protagonist. Next, chapters arranged by theme explore the roles of women, Robicheaux’s paternal side as revealed through his adopted daughter, the paternal influences in the detective’s own life, and the contrasting personality of his half-brother, Jimmie. The next chapters probe the roots of the detective’s moral dilemmas: his battle with alcohol, the Vietnam war’s lingering trauma, and religion. Next the author explores Burke’s use of the supernatural, sense of place, and music to deepen his stories. Final chapters delve into Robicheaux’s moral quandaries as a law enforcement officer, the character’s contrast to his reckless and funny partner, Clete, and how Burke reveals truths about life through Robicheaux. An interview with Burke is included. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burke and the Soul of Dave Robicheaux
I have not read this book, it was a gift.But my friend and I have read all of the Robicheaux books so this book will give insight to the making of such an interesting character as Dave Robicheaux.I like everything that James Lee Burke has written so this book should not be any different.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny!
Whether you're a long-time Dave Robicheaux fan or new to the series, this book will re-invigorate your already high opinion of the author and his character. Taken from the scenes and settings of several of the books, JLB and the Soul of Dave Robicheaux gives a glimpse behind the curtain where the wizard works his magic and answers many questions, including those for which I didn't realize I'd needed answers.

A wonderful companion to one of the best series' in all of literature, this book really opened my eyes in a lot of ways. While there is ample room for much more critical analyses of one of the most gifted American writers of the last thirty years, Barbara Bogue does a terrific job of getting the ball rolling! ... Read more

32. Heartwood (Billy Bob Boy Howdy)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 400 Pages (2000-07-11)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440224012
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A brilliantly layered novel of crime, character, and place from the two-time Edgar Award winner, Gold Dagger Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author of  Sunset Limited.

Few writers in America today combine James Lee Burke's lush prose, crackling story lines, and tremendous sense of history and landscape.  In Cimmaron Rose, longtime fans of the Dave Robicheaux series found that the struggles of Texas defense attorney Billy Bob Holland show Burke at his best in exploring classic American themes--the sometimes subtle, often violent strains between the haves and the have-nots; the collision of past and present; the inequities in the criminal justice system.

Heartwood is a kind of tree that grows in layers. And as Billy Bob's grandfather once told him, you do well in life by keeping the roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Holland's dusty little hometown of Deaf Smith, in the hill country north of Austin, local kingpin Earl Deitrich has made a fortune running roughshod and tainting anyone who stands in his way. Billy Bob has problems with Deitrich and his shamelessly callous demeanor, but can't shake the legacy of his passion for Deitrich's "heartbreak-beautiful" wife, Peggy Jean.

When Holland takes on the defense of Wilbur Pickett--a man accused of stealing an heirloom and three hundred thousand dollars in bonds from Deitrich's office--he finds himself up against not only Earl's power and influence, but also a past Billy Bob can't will away.  A wonderfully realized novel, rich in Texas atmosphere and lore, and a dazzling portrait of the deadly consequences of self-delusion, Heartwood could only have been written by James Lee Burke, a writer in expert command of his craft.

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
Whether he's writing about the Louisiana Bayou Country (in hisDaveRobicheaux books) or the Texas hill towns around Austin (in hisseries about former Texas ranger Billy Bob Holland), James Lee Burkehas deep roots in the American soil that link him to some of the greatadventure writers of the past such as Jack London and Mark Twain. Likethem, Burke writes novels illustrating how failure shapes a man muchmore than success does.

Central to Burke's second Billy Bob novel(Cimarron Rosewas his first) is Wilbur Pickett. Wilbur had a brief moment of gloryas a rodeo cowboy before sliding into a downward cycle of lucklessenterprises. He ends up laboring for a wealthy family, the Dietrichs,in the Texas town of Deaf Smith. The Dietrichs accuse Wilbur ofstealing some bearer bonds, and Billy Bob--now a defenseattorney--reluctantly take his case. He is hesitant (because heidolizes Peggy Jean Dietrich), and for good reason: Billy Bobdiscovers that her husband Earl may be involved in shady, evenviolent, business practices.

Other ghosts from the past also hauntBilly Bob: he accidentally killed his former partner on a drug raid inMexico and still hears his voice. And then there's Holland'sillegitimate son Lucas, who is growing up with problems of hisown. The weight of all this back-story might overwhelm a lesserwriter, but Burke manages to make it seem as natural as the soft windthat stirs the tumbleweed in the town of Deaf Smith. --DickAdler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

2-0 out of 5 stars Heartwood
One can sometimes become so familiar with characters from earlier novels that it becomes difficult to seperate one from the other.One is not too sure what novel is currently being read.Adding to this dilemma is the plot, which seems to have a bit of a problem of seeming to parallel already used situations and experiences.

I wondered if Billy Bob Holland is more believable a character than Dave Robicheaux.Are the legal and personal involvements of Billy Bob realistic? Can any one character have so many challanges to face and survive them all? Does he have enough belief in his client's innocence that he would expose the railroading attempt by the husband of a woman he still loves? Can he overcome the grief he still experiences when he thinks of the friend he accidently killed? The plot thickens as he becomes more involved in betrayal, greed, love, and then murder.Billy Bob has more on his full plate than one can imagine.All in all I was left a little short of breath as I waded through all these machinations. Sorry to say, but a little tiring in the long run.

E.J. Walden, author of "Operation Snow Owl"

5-0 out of 5 stars Intellectual Book Noir
If there is a better storyteller out there alive today other than JAMES LEE BURKE then he or she hasn't yet surfaced with enough buoyant validation to lay claim to the title.
BURKE shows us the dark side of life with everyday smiling monsters and offers up redemption and salvation through the efforts of struggling self-scarred saints. His evil characters are so gut-twisting frightening that you don't just lock your doors at night before you go to bed- you nail them shut! More than that BURKE is the poet as writer offering up short, brief descriptions that leave you reeling with thought long after the page has been turned. Amazingly he does it with good ol' boy characters whose perception and depth exceed any of our own surface level skimming into the faux intellectualism wading pools we sometimes wallow in.
I liked HEARTWOOD but then I like all of his books( including the westerns and the short story collections) which is why I give him a five star review. There is writing for entertainment and then there is writing as an art. BURKE somehow manages to accomplish both. Good for him but better for us.
So what's next, Jimmy L.?

4-0 out of 5 stars I See A Movie Franchise Coming...
...Billy Bob Holland reminds me of the southern Sheriff played by Bill Paxton in "One False Move" or Chris Cooper as the Texas Ranger in "Lone Star". Or Gary Cooper in those 40's/50's westerns.

'Course, in Lee Burke's Texas, murders and the overall evil men do take on quite a different flavor. *Quite* a different flavor. A Latin gang member is murdered by a lethal drug which has been punched in his face during a so called friendly boxing spar. A wildcatter initally accused of taking bearer bonds--Billy Bob's client--finds his mother's body exhumed and in his pick-up truck out in a dark and dreary field; this is a threat from Big Earl Dietrich to comply with some kind of land development deal with a promise of big resources...he wants IN, but Deitrich would rather just muscle his way in. The wildcatter is married to a blind Indian spiritlifter, who murders an intruder to her home so efficiently and thoroughly it seems like it was done in a mode other thanself defense. The Big guy's son seems to have some scandalous problems with his sexuality and Billy Bob has somehow gotten a dose of a rare Asian jungle poison. Add to the mix some insane prison escapees, an able assistant, his son Lucas, and a lil fishing buddy and you have quite an intriging stage for mystery.

Billy Bob Holland himself keeps hearing voices, seeing visions inspired by his dead Rangers partner, LQ Navarro. Whoooo-boy! Would this be a wild movie for a director to take on!

My take on why Lee Burke goes to extremes on describing Deaf Smith and parts surrounding is that it makes his mystery more realistic and if he describes every iota of this countryside-- how it is hot on certain days, rainy on others, what kind of vegetation clings around, if there's a quicksandy, mildewy swamp around---maybe that can help rationalise why each character has his own strange way. An environment that varied and extreme is likely to harbor varied and extreme individuals.

Anyway, this is a great mystery with superb setting and mood. And its so intense and real you can feel the horseflies whizzing at the back of your neck.

3-0 out of 5 stars San Antonio heat
Billy Bob Holland, attorney, is pitted against an apparently materialistic and immoral "entrepreneur," Earl,who happens to be married to the beautiful woman who deflowered Billy Bob, years prior.Earl's son by a previous liaison, Jeff, is a chip off the old block.Tagging alongside are two Chicano "gang bangers," actually more low riders than gang bangers, Ronnie Cruise (note how he anglicized his name, maybe that's a fad in San Antonio?) and a loco guy named Ramirez who gets boxed to death later in the book.In fact, of these four, only Ronnie remains standing, with Billy Bob, when the final bell rings.There are other women, including Esmeralda Ramirez, who is variously a college student, Jeff's wife, Ronnie's girlfriend, and the girlfriend of Billy Bob's son, not in that order, however.Then there's a corrupt, racist, fat sheriff (what would a Southern town be without one?), and various "white trash" figures who cross back and forth over the criminal line as forces carry them.Well, the result of all this, in my humble opinion, is a three-star book.As others on this website have pointed out, there's a lot to wade through for the action that's delivered, maybe a little too much attention to minor detail.But does this really differ much from Robert Parker describing what his private dick had for breakfast, lunch and dinner?Or from Robert Crais telling us what the sunset in Santa Clarita looked like as the police and FBI surround an upscale single family residence housing three kidnappers?Not really.So, there's something here, but you might have to wade through some of the slower parts, skim it or skip it.Billy Bob's encounter with his deceased crime partner, his ghost, that is, is actually rather interesting, because how often do you get anything even bordering on the metaphysical in this type of fiction?Diximus.

2-0 out of 5 stars Come on James Lee, This is ridiculous!
I have never written a negative review about a book purchased in Amazon but I am now going to make an exception. The "Billy Bob" series is unbearably overwritten, cliched, and filled with gratitious violence, endless racist references, and chapters that seem always to end with a pompous striving for fine writing. I know Burke can write but these stories are just ridiculous. The female characters are impossibly remote, almost as if they were trapped in a Western novel, the characters speak to each other with mock formality ('sir' is used even when someone is being threatened with emasculation), and about every third chapter one finds a "food" interval: tubs of chicken are devoured, buffalo steaks with blueberry ice cream are washed down with iced tea on the front porch, and for lunch tacos with an iced mug of Lone Star are slopped up at the Mexican cafe on the square.These people must weigh 400 lbs.

It's almost as if Burke said to himself: this is the way to make me 'sum' real money: testosterone threat chapters, followed by by inconclusive encounters with the athletic female private investigator and former corrections officer or with a former high school conquest now married to a rich and corrupt oil man, and then the food feasts followed by riding around the Texas Hill Country on a horse, all three mixed in with random encounters with escaped convicts, cretins borne with severe birth defects, and failed evangelists, all of whom seem to be 'river baptized.'Oh, I forgot the bottomless corruption by knuckle-dragging law enforcement officers. Sprinkled throughout, just for effect,are interludes where Billy Bob, a convert to Catholicism and former Texas Ranger who executed drug mules in Mexico and boasts of it, every now and then drops into church with his youthful sidekick. As most drug mules in real life are poor women with heroin stuffed up their privates, Billy Bob must have been steely hard as a Ranger. Now he is a lawyer who is a graduate from a night law school, perhaps St. Mary's in 'San Antone.' Oh by the way: Who says San Antone but in novels like this or in bad songs?

I grew up in San Antonio and spent a lot of time in the Hill Country and I live in the southwest today; I am sure something like these people can be scrounged up here and there and indeed anywhere, but putting "nigger" or "porch monkeys" in the mouths of the bad guys so many times or clubbings with ballpeen hammers down in the basement seems calculated to draw readers in who secretly enjoy the guilty pleasure of reading this kind of stuff. This kind of fiction is to remind us that the South won the Civil War, especially the redneck, racist, and endlessly ignorant American South. And boy hidy, does it sell!

In Heartwood, you could actually take out a good deal of this ridiculous filler: tone down the racists references because the reader gets the point, take out the food chapters, let Billy Bob actually have a regular and steady sex life like most of the adult world, cut the 'Texas Chainsaw' style violence down to a minimum, quit trying to put Southernisms into everyone's mouth every third sentence, and edit out the dud literary flights, and the upshot would be a fairly decent and interesting plot and story about a failed rodeo rider and his lawyer. But then who would buy it, I suppose Burke would say.But I would ask Burke: is making scads of money so important that you write down to people like this? You are a far, far better writer than this. How about writing a serious novel about Texas today, capturing what is happening to San Antonio and Fredericksburg and the like, given the California (or Hollywood) invasion? Even then you can throw in some clubbings, and some scenes where people are burned to death by tires filled with gasoline dropped on their heads, while their relatives watch. ... Read more

33. Sunset Limited (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (1999-07-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440223989
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In a land soaked with sin, Dave Robicheaux is dueling with killers, ghosts, and a woman's revenge....

The townspeople of New Iberia, Louisiana, didn't crucify Megan Flynn's father. They just didn't catch whoever pinned him to a barn wall with sixteen-Amazon.com Review
Imagine Philip Marlowe sans the cigarettes and in AA. Put him in Louisianaand jump forward 50 years or so and you've got David Robicheaux, a tough-talking detective with the same soft spot as his prototype for troublesomewomen and for delving into places into which he probably has no business.New Iberia, Louisiana, perfectly rivals Marlowe's L.A. for its grit andcorruption and dames who'll turn a good guy bad.

James Lee Burke's 11th Robicheaux book, Sunset Limited, is atwisted mystery that at times becomes almost byzantine in its attempt tokeep disparate characters and narratives wound in a cohesive story line.But Burke's writing is so stunning that all is forgiven as you becomeimmersed in the tale, which meshes past and present to uncover the secretof a decades-old murder.

Forty years ago, a local labor leader was crucified in a crime that remainsunsolved. Now, his daughter--Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer MeganFlynn--returns to New Iberia. With a seemingly insignificant remark toRobicheaux, she begins a chain of events that lead right back to herfather's death. New Iberia, in some sense, is frozen in time as the age-oldproblems of race and class weave their way into the mystery, complicatingRobicheaux's discovery of not only the original crime, but the wealth ofmurders that spring up along the way. Add in the Chinese mob, corruptpolicemen, and a Hollywood film shoot, and the stage is set.

Burke's forte is his ability to create characters so evil they're liable toget you up in the night to check in your closet and under your bed. Theplayers--both good and bad--are characterized more by their flaws thantheir attributes, giving everyone a wicked sheen. The book isn't overlygory (although short descriptions can be rather graphic), buteveryone has a dark side, emphasizing the noir-ish tones ofthe novel. His writing is powerful, mixing tender landscapes ("[W]edropped through clouds that were pooled with fire in the sunrise and camein over biscuit-colored hills dotted with juniper and pine and pinyontrees...") with dead-on, cutting descriptions ("His face was tentacled with ahuge purple-and-strawberry birthmark, so that his eyes looked squeezedinside a mask") and the camp dialogue of Chandler ("Evil doesn't have a zipcode"). Oddly, these sundry elements blend seamlessly, allowing you tooverlook tenuous connections and occasionally confusing turns.

Don't pick this up expecting a happy ending. But for those who long for a modern-day Chandler, you'll find Sunset Limited a gripping and satisfying read. --Jenny Brown ... Read more

Customer Reviews (51)

2-0 out of 5 stars Sunset Limited
I wonder if the title of this work should be "James Lee Burke Limited"?I feel he has overdone, overreached, and over worked Robicheaux...possibly a new protagonist would be a welcome relief from what I feel has become the commonplace.

Although his characterizations are fine and varied they are not necessarily Burke's best.Maybe now, about twenty books later, he should spend some time developing a story line featuring Helen Soileau....I think he has worked Robicheaus to death!"Sunset Limited" was a complex read, not a riveting read, but moreso an unsatisfying read.

E.J. Walden, author of "Operation Snow Owl"

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring, boring, boring
Having tried to read a few of Burke's trashy books, this one was really lousy and boring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Delivery
I was anxious to listen to this story and it was delivered in no time at all.I love James Lee Burke and this is one of my favorites.

2-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't hold my interest
I read quite a bit and my tastes vary.You can confirm that by clicking the little link to see all my reviews.

I must say, however, that I'm having a difficult time with Mr. Burke because he is actually *too* descriptive as an author.His use of the language is uncommonly good for someone writing in the crime/mystery genre.Trouble is, I'm finding that the richness of detail gets in the way of the story.I know the minutiae of the smells and sights and sounds in the Bayou, and the thread count in the clothes the characters are wearing, and the chemical composition of their perfumes and the thickness of their hair follicles.

But there's one small problem: I can't quite figure out what is going on with the story.It is difficult to separate the significant from the insignificant.

Too many characters are being introduced and the scenes jump around such that I have to reread passages numerous times.

Admittedly, I haven't finished this book yet.I'm only on page 70, but I'm not sure I'll be able to perservere to the end.

As I said, Burke's use of language is rich and highly descriptive, reminding me somewhat of Faulkner's description of the deep south in "Light in August."But whereas I had no trouble staying with Faulkner nor with his writing style keeping my interest level high, I just cannot say the same about Mr. Burke.Now that I think about it, I actually started another novel by Burke once, and couldn't finish it.So, this doesn't appear to be an anomaly, but rather a distinct part of Burke's style that simply doesn't work well for my tastes.

I'm not criticizing it as much as simply stating that perhaps it just isn't my style.

I would be curious to know if any other readers here have similar impressions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book
James Lee Burke is a joy to read.He knows a great deal about a lot of things and builds them into his stories.The Robicheaux series is really based in large measure on mythology, although this is not readily obvious, and, when it becomes so, sends you scurrying to your mythology books!Burke is also very thoughtful about humanity and the world he lives in, and this becomes quite apparent as you read this series.You can read a general review in my review of Crusader's Cross.I do recommend that you read the series in sequence and take in the UNabridged audiobooks when you can for a really in-depth enjoyment of this series. ... Read more

34. To the Bright and Shining Sun
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 207 Pages (1989)
-- used & new: US$175.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0016G186W
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
**OWN THIS RARE, IMPOSSIBLE-TO-FIND, 19-YEAR-OLD, MINT-CONDITION, FIRST-EDITION, PAPERBACK COLLECTIBLE: "To The Bright And Shining Sun," By James Lee Burke (c.1989). In This Book, Burke Brings His Brilliant Feel For Time And Place To A Stunning Story Of Appalachia In The Early 1960s. Here Perry Woodson Hatfield James, A Young Man Torn Between Family Honor And The Lure Of Seedy Watering Holes, Must Somehow Survive The Tempestuous Journey From Boyhood To Manhood And Escape The Dark And Atavistic Heritage Of The Cumberland Mountains. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Unrelenting
Very good story, but definitely early James Lee Burke. The main character is strongly done, but some of the secondary characters could use more depth. It is interesting to see the development of the young James. Toward the end of the novel the humanity of the central characters is displayed amidst a brutal conflict, with vicious acts by both sides of the conflict. In the end it is vintage James Lee Burke with his clear view of a flawed, moral man attempting to walk his own path through the craters of his families and communities circumstances. Well worth the read.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Ingredients are Present, But Not the Full Flavor
James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series and his Billy Bob Holland series have provided consistent entertainment through the years.I bought "To the Bright and Shining Sun" because I was interested in reading a novel from early in Burke's career.

"To the Bright and Shining Sun" is set in the Kentucky hills of the 1960s where a raging battle is going on between the union coal miners and the mine operators.The story focuses on the life of a teen-aged boy named Perry who wants to be a staunch union man like his relatives.He is both attracted to and repulsed by the violence associated with the mines.

Perry would rather leave the hills and move to the big city, but he must provide for his mother and younger siblings.

All the conventions of the Burke novels are present:the violence, the music of the region, the descriptions of the mountains, but for me this book just doesn't quite come together.

Though I felt sorry for Perry, I really didn't like him or connect with him or anyone else in the story.

I generally like coming of age stories, but this one is for diehard James Lee Burke fans only.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Problem
I'm always happy with Amazon, but I had one problem with this order system.
If you accidentally order/submit two of the same books, I had no way (within minutes) to cancel one of them, as it notified me that it was already being shipped. If you do have a way to cancel an order, its not an easy one to find or navigate. I live on a fixed income, so my budget for spending is real critical. Please make a easy way to correct an oversight/mistake like this, as it could be a very expensive one for me if I overdraw my checking account for a $2 book. Thanks, Lonnie

2-0 out of 5 stars Too unrelenting or not enough
I normally enjoy books by James Lee Burke but I must admit that I did not find this very enjoyable.It dragged a bit and it just didn't feel very satisfying in the end.A bit too unrelenting for me . . . .

4-0 out of 5 stars Gritty tale of a young Kentucky miner
One of Burke's earlier novels, is stark and unrelenting in it's honest depiction of the plight of a young Kentucky miner.I did not feel the story quite as fully realized as the later Dave Robicheaux detective novels, but it was haunting and evocative all the same.

The young miner, age 17, has been reared in the Cumberland Gap area of Kentucky.Raised in stark beauty and crushing poverty, he yearns for something more.I won't ruin the story by giving away too much, but there is alot of heartache then ultimate triumph.

Nothing candy-coated with Burke.We are made to feel the loss of loved ones, the terrible violence of the mines, the hard-scrabble existance and the brief, happy moments in an otherwise dark tale. Not light reading, this slim volume will make you pause and reflect. ... Read more

35. The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made the Carburetor Possible - and Other Journeys
by James Burke
Paperback: 336 Pages (1997-08-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$4.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316116106
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The host of television's Connections2--the author of The Day the Universe Changed--explores the unlikely links and serendipitous coincidences that have shaped historical change and scientific progress. of photos.Amazon.com Review
Follow the bouncing ball, James Burke-style: spice tradingin the Middle Ages leads to the European tea-drinking craze, which helpsinstigate the development of the science of natural history, which inturns inspires the creation of the coal miner's safety lamp, which issomehow related to the battle between the Monitor and theMerrimack. From there we go to North Carolina cotton industry, ThomasEdison's very first electric power station, air conditioning,glass manufacturing, and laser beams. The end result? The smart bombsused during the Gulf War. Burke, who wrote Connections (the book andthe television show), revels--or better, wallows--in the accidentalnature of the march of discovery. Despite a penchant for playing itloose and free with scientific and historical accuracy, Burke hascompiled a fascinating look at the great matrix of change andtransformation that humans have created for themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars The book is an easy fun read, and if nothing else, it entertains and offers a glimpse of how the world fits together and broaden
The book, according to the author, has two aims.

First, it tries some detective story of the pinball way the author claims things happen--trying to make readers aware of the ways, they themselves interact with the world and the ways they are affected by the actions of others.

Second, it tries to create a new way of thinking about knowledge and how it should be used in the 21st century multimedia, interactive networking, personal communicators, virtual reality, and unlimited bandwidth that are everyday matters.

The author claims that these technologies will not enhance our lives unless we are not prepared for them.He affirms that the book shows that it is the interaction between data that causes change. The fundamental mechanisms of innovation may consider a new way of defining intelligence: we may measure it by the ability to pinball around through knowledge and make imaginative patterns on the knowledge web.

The book is an easy fun read, and if nothing else, it entertains and offers a glimpse of how the world fits together and broaden the mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Much better than his connections program.
Of course, everyone knows before we start this book that everything is connected in several ways to everything else.The Real skill is in finding these connections and telling about them in an interesting way.Well James Burke as editor, does this with great skill.I first read the book straight through.Then I came back and read with the hyper-links.Sure enough, you get different perspectives.Then you add the links that he did not think of.I am ready for the next book.

By the way, James Burke was not the first to think this way.You should really read "The Ascent of Man" by Jacob Bronowski.It was used as a Humanities course in a local joiner collage.

The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharpens the mind
Even if you are not a history buff nor care anything for science, I would still recommend this book to you. Whenever I feel my mind getting dull, I pick up this book, sit down for a few hours, and read right on through. This book, for me (and I bet it would for you), really helps me to see 'connections' in the world around me -- at work, home, etc. And, that helps me to be sharp of mind and bring together resources and diverse elements to the benefit of my job, life, and for the benefit of others. This book is a fun exercise in thought as well as a fun jaunt through history.

5-0 out of 5 stars How everything came from something entirely else
Readers or viewers familiar with James Burke's work in CONNECTIONS or THE DAY THE UNIVERSE CHANGED know the delight he takes in tracing the pathways of invention and change. THE PINBALL EFFECT is more material in the same vein with a new twist. This volume is a hyper-book. It can be read front to back like any other text, or in any of four hundred and fourty-seven (?) other directions by following links annotated in the margins. That means you can burrow through the book popping up for air in chapters three, seven and twenty and then back to one again, read sequentially for a while and then dive once more. Amazingly, it works, and illustrates the meta-message lurking in Burke's work. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) Everything is connected, and by much shorter links than most of us imagine. Five star brain candy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book!
James Burke has done it again. This is a delightful read! For anyone who thinks history is boring, they need to read The Pinball Effect. James Burke has a wonderful irreverant sense of humor throughout this book, and shows how history happens because of all of us, not just great men of genius.
... Read more

36. Three Great Novels 3: " A Morning for Flamingos " , " A Stained White Radiance " , " In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead " (Great Novels)
by James Lee Burke
Paperback: 736 Pages (2005-12-01)

Isbn: 0752872761
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37. Delta Blues
Paperback: 392 Pages (2010-05-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1935562061
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

A dollar donation for every book sold will be given to the Rock River Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping the arts and literacy in the Delta.

Contributing to the volume are Ace Atkins, Lynne Barrett, James Lee Burke, Suzann Ellingsworth, Beth Ann Fennelly, Bill Fitzhugh, Tom Franklin, John Grisham, Carolyn Haines, Charlaine Harris, Suzanne Hudson, Alice Jackson, Dean James, Toni L.P. Kelner, Michael Lister, Daniel Martine, Mary Saums, David Sheffield, Nathan Singer, and Les Standiford.

From the introduction by Morgan Freeman:

This collection of short fiction captures both the art of the tale and the power of the blues, and is a nod at the human condition that often inspires musicians to write and sing the blues. These stories tell about bad men and bad women who sometimes do good—or sometimes follow their true nature. Some of these characters know all about the dangers of making a bargain with the devil. And some know the power of redemption. These are characters who would not be out of place in a Honeyboy Edwards tune, and would be right at home alongside the desolate wail of Clarksdale, Mississippi, native Son House.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good collection of short stories
I am surprised by the reviewer who expected good endings.These stories are mainly about blues musicians and the people around them, and historically many of them came to bad ends.You have stories about musicians making pacts with the devil, musicians living out lives they wrote about, people reinventing themselves, and people dying.The stories are mainly set in the Mississippi Delta area, with some moving into adjoining states.The stories cover a span of time from the 1920s to the present, from the Jim Crow era to modern times.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery Meets the Blues
Turn on your Lead Belly, sip at that lemonade and have a set down on the porch with some Delta Blues. Carolyn Haines has collected nineteen stories that "...tell about bad men and bad women who sometimes do good..." or so says Morgan Freeman who wrote the foreword. This is a solid collection where the big names slip it in good and hard and the same goes for the lesser knowns.

Ace Atkins deserves a pile of eyes (and if you haven't read his historical mysteries or Nick Travers series, you should). James Lee Burke's "Big Midnight Special" puts an inmate at Parchment Farm between a bastard big daddy inmate and an equally awful prison administration. Sticking with Parchment Farm, John Grisham gives us a sight of a dysfunctional family where prison time is a common theme for the three sons of an aging mother...death row in particular. It wouldn't be the blues if Robert Johnson wasn't mentioned and the most well known name to cover his supposed Devil-dealings is Charlaine Harris with "Crossroads Bargain."

Here's a collection of Southern-based stories that hand out redemption, rot, a bit of hellfire and a nod to the blues.

1-0 out of 5 stars Delta Blues
My husband and I were looking forward to this book but was very disappointed! None of the stories had good endings!It seemed like the authors just did their duty and turned in a story! We do not recommend this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars High quality short stories.
I love the story collections that I have read in the past that are supernatural themed (Charlaine Harris fan).However, those tend to be written in a different style.This collection of short stories really reminds me of high quality literature that you were required to read in college lit class.I really like the caliber of the writers, and they did not disappoint.This collection lives up to its name, and it really is all about the blues and blues fans/singers/musicians.There is a mystic element to it, which satisfies my need to buy it for the Charlaine Harris short story inside, which was great.It's a great book to curl up with and read from cover to cover if you can take the intensity in one sitting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delta Blues- short stories
Delta Blues
Edited by Carolyn Haines
(Tyrus Books, 2010)

James Lee Burke, John Grisham, Les Standiford, Beth Ann Fennelly, and more--a total of twenty of the best Southern writers--link music, crime, passion, the Blues and the Mississippi Delta in this remarkable new collection of short stories.

Whether playing out in modern-day Tunica's gambling casinos or traveling back in time to forge an unexpected connection to the assassination of President Kennedy, each story has been carefully chosen by the editor, Carolyn Haines, herself one of the contributors.

In Suzanne Hudson's"All the Way to Memphis," two unlikely characters set out on a road trip, stopping at Buck's Diner, a place where time has stopped. A lone waitress saunters to the table offering more tea, calling them honey and sugar and baby, her "blood red fingernails clicking against heavy glass."

The characters in Lynne Barrett's "Blues for Veneece" uncover, quite literally, a crime scene one family had hoped was buried forever. In another story, the wife of a captain of the Parchman State Penitentiary dreams of any life but the one she has.

In fact, most of the characters in these stories seem to dream of elsewhere, singing their own Blues tunes to the beat of an ordinary life.

Often played out against a backdrop of murder and misappropriation, the stories tell of second chances and new beginnings, lives wasted and more than a few rescued. Moonlit nights, shape shifting, concealed and un-concealed weapons make appearances, leaving readers with chills running up spines or hearts beating faster.

As if reading this collection for the pure enjoyment of the writing isn't enough, a portion of the sales will be donated to literacy efforts in the Delta. Well done, on many counts.

Augusta Scattergood ... Read more

38. Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
by James Lee Burke
Mass Market Paperback: 400 Pages (2001-05-08)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440224047
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From Edgar Award-winner James Lee Burke comes this emotional powerhouse of a novel ... in which everyman hero Dave Robicheaux confronts the secrets of his long-forgotten past in a shattering tale of revenge, murder, and a mother's haunting legacy....

Robicheaux first hears it from a pimp eager to trade information for his life: Mae Guillory was murdered outside a New Orleans nightclub by two cops. Dave Robicheaux was just a boy when his mother ran out on him and his whiskey-driven father.

Now Robicheaux is a man, still haunted by her desertion and her death. More than thirty-five years after Mae Guillory died, her son will go to any length to bring her killers to justice. And as he moves closer to what happened that long-ago night, the Louisiana cop crosses lines of color and class to find the place where secrets of his past lie buried ... and where all roads lead to revenge -- but only one road leads to the truth....
Amazon.com Review
In New Iberia, Louisiana, memories are long and dangerous, and the past and present are seldom easy to untangle. Homicide investigator Dave Robicheaux is trying to help Letty Labiche, a New Iberia girl on death row for killing the man who molested her and her sister as children, when chance brings him to Zipper Clum, a pimp and pornographer who recognizes Robicheaux secondhand through a 30-year haze:

"Robicheaux, your mama's name was Mae.... Wait, it was Guillory before she married. That was the name she went by ... Mae Guillory. But she was your mama," he said.

"What?" I said.

He wet his lips uncertainly.

"She dealt cards and still hooked a little bit. Behind a club in Lafourche Parish. This was maybe 1966 or '67," he said.

Clete's eyes were fixed on my face. "You're in a dangerous area, sperm breath," he said to Zipper.

"They held her down in a mud puddle. They drowned her," Zipper said.

To Robicheaux, whose memories of the fun-loving Mae are few and bittersweet, the news comes like a bolt of lightning. Though she abandoned him to the uncertain mercies of a violent, alcoholic father, he loved her, and his desire to find her killers--cops in the pay of the Giacano crime family, according to Clum--is instantaneous and deeply felt. Unfortunately, Zipper Clum meets the wrong end of a .25 automatic soon after his electrifying announcement, but his conversation with his killer is recorded--and Mae Guillory's name comes up again.

The winding trail of evidence connected to both Letty Labiche and Mae Guillory leads Robicheaux almost immediately to Jim Gable, the New Orleans Police Department's liaison with city hall, whose position has afforded him a number of less-than-legal advantages. Gable also happens to be an ex-lover of Robicheaux's wife, Bootsie--formerly the widow of Ralph Giacano. From there the web of connections grows ever wider, and (not surprisingly) incriminates those in high places. These include the state attorney general, a woman who, if photographic evidence is to be trusted, was once friendly with the Labiches' parents, who were known procurers.

But if Purple Cane Road has its share of corrupt powermongers, it's also filled with beautifully rounded characters, like piano-playing governor Belmont Pugh and hit man Johnny Remeta, whose personality slowly begins to unravel as he gets closer to Robicheaux's daughter. The plot converges seamlessly to its climax--the true story of what happened to Mae Robicheaux--as James Lee Burke's trademark of uncompromising justice is brought to fruition. Like Burke's other Robicheaux novels, Purple Cane Road offers a solidly satisfying piece in the picture of a complex hero. --Barrie Trinkle ... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Faulkner of Crime Fiction
I notice one of the blurbs on the book's jacket calls James Lee Burke "the Faulkner of crime fiction" and I couldn't agree more. With description as spare and terse as the notes in a police blotter, Burke brings to life the aching, haunting beauty of southern Louisiana and the complex, morally compromised lives of the people who inhabit the borderlands between polite society and lawlessness, making a convincing argument that most of us wander closer to the edge than we probably care to acknowledge. In the meantime, the plot races from one terse, heartbreaking setpiece to the next, making the story almost impossible to put down.

I love how the author assumes his readers are clever enough to infer what is happening; I love how he never uses 10 ordinary words when 2 brilliant words (or a gorgeous simile, or a devastatingly quick flashback, often to the Vietnam War) will suffice; and I love how he challenges the reader to reflect upon what constitutes morality; but, most of all, I love becoming so vested in characters that they have the power to break my heart. By almost any definition, this is a work of literature disguised as crime fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Purple Cane Road
James Lee Burke has really outdone himself in this writing.Although I am probably one of his newest fans I really enjoyed reading "Purple Cane Road".His characters are so well developed and realistic and are truly believable.The plot is scintillating and engrossing.Those two attributes make this novel a must read and a best seller in my book.

Detective Dave Robicheaux finds himself involved in a double investigation, one to clear Letty Labiche, a death row murderer, and one to determine if the New Orleans Police Department is actually responsible for the death of his mother, Mae, some thirty years earlier, as confessed to him by a local snitch.There is the expected violence, even murder, but it all falls neatly into place as part of the story telling.This is a story well told and I look forward to reading more of Burke's mysteries.

E.J. Walden, author of "Operation Snow Owl"

5-0 out of 5 stars Burkke Meets Expectations
This is a typical Dave Robicheaux novel with all of his wonderful, colorful characters.Any James Lee Burke fan should not be disappointed.His plot and settings are exciting.His desriptions of Louisiana are so real, you can smell the smells and feel the air.Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Love James Lee Burke
I LOVE James Lee Burke, especially the Thorn series, being from Key West...His descriptions of settings are amazing and accurate.
I also LOVE all of his other writing, and recommend him to everyone I know who is into other authors of his style or locations...
Further, I would like to recommend Alifair Burke to anyone who is a fan of James Lee Burke or his style.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Robicheaux
This is the 11th entry in the Dave Robicheaux series. Dave is a recovering alcoholic, a deputy sheriff of New Iberia, Louisiana, a widower now remarried and father to an adopted teenage daughter. He fights the good fight, against huge odds, where the ends justify the means and is usually paired with his friend and old partner, ex-cop Clete Purcell. Both are capable of incredible violence. To put it mildly Dave, (and Clete for that matter), has a past - which rears its ugly head in this book specifically concerning Dave's mother's life and death.

I was a little late coming to this series and I'm still meandering my way through it. These books are very well written, poetic at times and very dark with a slew of smarmy characters - crooked politicians, two bit thugs, underworld kingpins and assorted losers on the wrong side of the law. The latter is what keeps bringing me back to this author. I'm not sure if these folks are an accurate description of the dark side of Louisiana humanity or a tribute to Burke's imagination - probably a combination of both.

Regardless, they and Dave make for some highly entertaining reading.
... Read more

39. Rain Gods: A Novel
by James Lee Burke
Audio CD: Pages (2011-07-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$10.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1442340754
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
“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

40. Two for Texas
by James Lee Burke
 Paperback: Pages (1989)

Asin: B002G9RW0O
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of the best
I've read most all of Mr. Burke's books, don't know how I had missed Two for Texas but glad I found it. (Thanks Amazon!) Although short compared to his other novels I think it is by far the best of them all.Perhaps because I'm a native of the area, but as I read I truly felt like I was there!Great read!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great story, a harbinger of more great Texas tales
I read Two For Texas after having read another Billy Bob Holland novel, and the strengths of Billy Bob are evident when you read this tale of his great-grandfather. The setting in Western Louisianna and East Texas is right in the center of James Lee Burke's other works, and he doesn't stray too far from the areas his readers have become familiar with. This is a lively and entertaining story that leads into the territory and psyche of Burke's later character, Billy Bob Holland.

5-0 out of 5 stars I got it for someone else, but he liked the mystery.
This was a gift so I can not review the book.The person I got it for, did like the mystery and is a fan of the author.

4-0 out of 5 stars Two for Texas
I found this to be a good historical read.As a story written at the beginning of his career as a writer, James Lee Burke establishes himself and a line of characters who will run through his other following writings."Two for Texas" has much to commend it, as it follows the adventures of two Louisiana convicts who escape prison and make their way to Texas where they meet Sam Huston shortly before the battle for the Alamo.

I particulary enjoyed how Burke wrapped his novel in and around Texas history, which makes the reading all the more enjoyable particularly if you are a history buff who likes a fast read that really holds your interest.Particlarly interesting is the development of characters in this novel whose relationships arise in future writings.The plot is understandable, and acceptable.The characters are well developed and the historical impact is handled in an realistic and acceptable manner.

E.J. Walden, author of "Operation Snow Owl"

4-0 out of 5 stars Two for Texas
This is another great James Lee Burke novel.There is alot of Texas history in the story. And as always James Lee Burkes writing style makes the story very realistic. In this book a story is told of two guys who are running from the law in Louisiana and head for Texas. They are looking for and find Sam Houston just before the battle for Texas independence.The story is told as only James Lee Burke can tell it.Fast reading and holds your interest.If you like James Lee Burke, you like Two for Texas. ... Read more

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