This is another outstanding James Lee Burke novel with a value-added feature: an audiobook also provides the talented Will Patton as narrator. In fact, it is difficult to decide what I enjoy the most - Burke's brilliant plots, complex characters and detailed panoramic scenery or Patton's voices.
I was worried when I read that Dave, Molly and Clete had left the enticing confines of Louisiana for Montana. I was wrong. This is vintage James Lee Burke, who I believe is the best mystery novelist in the world.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I think Will Patton does a stunning job of bringing these characters to life. I thoroughly enjoy listening to him. (I should say I enjoy listening to MOST of it. The violence sometimes is just too raw.) It's not like he's working in a vacuum, though. James Lee Burke certainly gives him a full range of characters with which to work his magic. Speaking of that ...
I don't know if I was distracted while listening or what the deal was, but the characters in this particular Burke were hard for me to keep straight until I was about 75% done. There's a point where Dave reviews in his mind all that has happened. That helped me enormously. This is something I just don't think I can fault the writer on. I really needed to pay attention to names and details when each character was introduced. My bad.
Wow do I love this duo. I don't get excited about too many things but this combo of writer and narrator are the best I have come across. Get this book and tell your friends. I hope they both know how much joy they bring to peoples lives.
James Lee Burke and Will Patton are by far the finest pairing of author and narrator that I have every listened to. Burke's writing gets better with each book. In Swan Peak he continued to keep Dave and Clet their usual "hell raising" selves, while also introducing new and complex characters. This book was just as great as Pegasus Descending and The Tin Roof Blow Down, my favorite JLB works. Patton is so perfectly suited to read the Robicueax novels that it was truly difficult for me to listen to any of the older books in the series because they were performed by a different narrator. I wish that he could start at the beginning and reread every title in the series.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I have listened to most of this series, and this is easily one you can read out of sequence. While the other novels take place in Louisiana, this is set in Montana. All the characters are the same, but the different setting makes it a novel that can stand by itself. Like most of the books you are sure that Dave and Clete will meet their end, but they manage to escape at the last moment again. The cast of evil characters is good, but other than one slight hint the most evil character almost appears out of nowhere at the end. I could say more that would give away the ending. As usual, the book is extremely violent, with the actions od Clete and Dave being not much better than the criminals. You always have to wonder how they escape being sent to jail themselves.
One of the best aspects of this series is the narration by Will Patton. He switches between voices effortlessly, and the voices are consistent among the books.
Swan Peak was a refreshing twist to this series and I really enjoyed it. Burke's rich descriptions make you feel like you are there, you can hear the Clark Fork Creek as he describes it. I loved this particular cast of characters and I loved the ending. It was fun to have other "good guys" in this story to mix it up with Clete and Dave.
Burke has a way with describing the beauty of Montana, and Will Patton's narration is just right for the characters. In Swan Peak, the plot is engaging, the characters generally well-developed, and the underlying themes of loss, betrayal, and loyalty are woven throughout the primary narrative about events gone very wrong amid the pure mountain landscape. I'd listen to another Burke/Patton combo anytime.
Great plot, kept me very interested. Loved the authors ability to paint a visual picture. The only negative for me was the language. I don't enjoy reading/hearing the "f" word used as much as it was.
May be the best Burke book yet !
It grabs you up front and never let's go. One high tension wave after another. Burkes great vocabulary challenges, stimulates and separates Burke's books from the paper mill detective stories.
Outstanding descriptive narrative. The reader is perfect for all the characters. I highly recommend this book and any others written by Burke.