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In 1987 Burke introduced us to Dave Robicheaux in the novel *Neon Rain.* A haunted Viet-Nam vet and Detective in the French Quarter. Det. Robicheaux had lost his wife, was struggling with his own addictions and demons while battling the worst of the crime lords inhabiting the underbelly of New Orleans. I didn't think he'd survive that one, and here we are, more than 30 years and 21 novels [?] later and Robicheaux is every bit the ballbuster he was...a little more dented and bruised (which has only added character). I can't think of any characters, at least in this category, that are as richly developed or as entertaining and complex as Burke's, especially with his Robicheaux series.
Burke's plots are complex and greatly layered. You could read this as a stand-alone book, but you are going to miss the history. This latest adventure has Robicheaux dealing with some ugly new business as well as reliving the automobile crash that killed his wife. He also teams up with his old buddy (and former homicide partner and fellow Vietnam vet) Cletus Purcel, the two just barely keep each other's heads from going completely under as they slide under that thin line dividing Good from all injustice.
James Lee Burke is an American treasure; this prolific author amazes me with his talent for writing, imagination, and dedication to his art and his fans. He consistently turns in novels that feel like a passionate (and successful) attempt at a masterpiece, never a half-hearted called-in addition to a series. In my opinion, no one does it better or has kept this level of devotion stirring in me. As a reader, I feel lucky to have a writer of such genius, writing so beautifully, creative mysteries that keep me absorbed and still wanting more. I am often so mesmerized by the beauty of his sentences that I have to remember to follow the storyline -- and that is not hyperbole. Kirkus said it perfectly: *another 15 rounds of high-fatality crime, alcohol-soaked ruminations, and heaven-storming prose.* It's like reading a modern day Faulkner writing the character of this Cajun super-hero.
And Will Patton! I have to repeat myself -- this is perfect synergy. Will is phenomenal as Robicheaux; an over-used cliche, but it is what it is. I agree with the great reviews already here and suggest that if you aren't yet familiar with this author, you have some of the best reading you can do still ahead of you.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
If you haven't read James Lee Burke yet, you must get to know him. There may be no finer American writer alive today. The characters, place, and stories he offers are soul searing and profound. Along with Will Paton as narrator Burke's audiobooks are my standard for 5 stars. Do not miss Robicheaux. These are audiobooks I go back to, discovering more layers each listen. Set in the New Orleans area, the Robicheaux novels brings place to mind with the heat, lushness, and dankness palpable. It is like going on vacation to NOLA but getting caught in a dark web. Time with Dave Robicheaux and his oddly charming partner Clete Percel is probably my favorite escape. Knowing their backstories from previous works brings richness to this book. But you can pick up and put this plot in order easily. So much of what Burke does is magical. He leaves me haunted, loving Iberia, thinking deeply, and always wanting more.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful