Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.
I was glued to this book for all 27 hours -- and the funny thing is, having read the book at least three times since it came out in 1973, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Clearly, it wasn't the element of suspense that got me -- even though there was still plenty of that. In a book this long, lots of things happen that I'd forgotten, or glossed over, before. Then too, listening to a book as compared to reading it, there are always things that seem new, that I hadn't considered before. But the big delight in listening, again, was just watching it all unfold -- seeing Edward X. Delaney plot, plan and scheme to take down the evil Daniel Blank for whom, ultimately, it's hard not to feel some level of compassion. The staid but quirky Delaney is on a par with the world's most memorable detectives -- Holmes, Piorot, Whimsey, and even Columbo, of whom he reminds me in some vague fashion (probably his absolute doggedness, in refusing to ever consider giving up or even backing down.) Bottom line, I loved this book -- absolutely loved it. Now I'm looking forward to all the rest of the "sins", wishing, for the first time in my life, that there were more than seven.
Perfect, just perfect. Horrific beginning, as LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog, Sirius, are trapped in a burning forest in pursuit of a killer. The killer shoots at them, hits Sirius, but Gideon forces the killer to help him carry the wounded dog out through a wall of flame. They all survive, the killer is sentenced, and becomes an eerie presence in the book. Both Sirius and Gideon are badly burned, but both go on to become the protagonists of what will -- I hope - become a new police procedural series for Alan Russell.
Burning Man is one of those "just five minutes more" books you can't find a place to stop listening. The cases Gideon and his "partner" Sirius get are fascinating -- a newborn baby abandoned on church steps, a teen-aged bully crucified on a tree in the park. There's a romantic interest, but just enough to make Gideon a real person. I like how Sirius is included in everything -- he's not a "sleuth", like some of the cat books, but not since Carol Lea Benjamin created PI Rachel Alexander and her pit bull companion 'Dash' has a dog played such a significant -- dare I say 'meaty'? Sirius is addicted to In 'N Out Burgers -- role in a book, and done it so well. Nothing cutesy here, just a really smart police dog with a brave and interesting human.
The narration is excellent -- thank Gd for a narrator who can pronounce California place names correctly! Couldn't be better.
Can't praise this book enough -- more, more!!
Truth is, I'd read most of them before I realized they were now available as audiobooks. Didn't stop me at all -- listening would just allow me to enjoy the stories again, in a different format. The characters didn't sound quite like I'd expected them to -- I didn't expect that Sheriff Salcido would sound quite as ethnic as he does. But after a couple of hours, it was fine. That WAS the way the Sheriff talked!
The fun thing about them is that they start so slow... just an average working day, some little thing takes place, but you never have any clue that it's going to get as complicated - and interesting -- as it does. It's just a delight to watch the story unfold, something else happens, which makes something else happen. Before you know it, you've got as much white-knuckle activity as any book in the world -- but its all real people, the kind of people you know and interact with every day. In terms of building believable characters, no one beats Steven Havill.
One Perfect Shot is a good book to start with, because you get to meet Estelle Reyes, who comes to star in the series a few books down the line. She has to be one of the most interesting of police procedural characters in any contemporary fiction. She's intense, powerful, but in her own way. There's no bravado for her -- just sheer intelligence and quiet determination. You'd think that a lot would be made out of the fact that Reyes is a female cop in a very traditional male-dominated culture in rural New Mexico, but there isn't. Which is as it should be -- for all of her attractiveness and quiet grace, it would never occur to Reyes that she should have any advantage -- or any disadvantage, either -- because she's a woman. She just does what she does, and does it very well. An admirable character.
Oh -- and one other thing: you'll soon learn to develop a taste for smothered green chili burritos. I actually have never had one -- not available in Israel, where I live. I'd never heard of such a thing until I started reading these books. But I looked it up, saw pictures, read about them, and now, every time Bill Gastner sits down to eat one -- breakfast or any other time -- I start to drool. That must be a really fine thing to eat! Some day....
I love books!
Listening to a James Lee Burke novel with Will Patton narrating and Dave Robicheaux as the lead character is like visiting an old friend. You know you are going to have a great time and Creole Belle didn't disappoint. Patton's narration is great and he really brings the characters to life. The story gives you a good feel of what life in southern Louisiana must be like, although without all the crime and seedy characters maybe, but who knows? Burke is great at character development and I love his insights into human beings and life in general. And, Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell are two characters unlike any others. I'll look forward to the next Burke novel, be it set in Louisiana or Texas. And, when the author decides to hang it up, it'll be a sad day.