But I loved the author’s phrases and the art of his writing.
Plot: the main guy Dave is framed for a crime. He does not do strong or smart things to save himself. I was worried and feeling down during most of the book. If the hero is going to be framed, then I want a hero I can root for, feel hope for, and enjoy watching him give it to the bad guys. But this was not. However, I know many readers like this type of fiction. For me at least the ending was happy, and I really enjoyed the unique phrases and rich descriptions.
Dave is a flawed hero. He is smart, but he does reckless and careless things which get him into trouble. He also did a stupid thing which almost got him killed. And he admitted to himself how stupid it was. He wasn’t thinking. I have moments like that. Dave is a former cop, a former alcoholic going to AA meetings. He grieves for his wife who was murdered a year ago. Dave has several sensitive and loving conversations with his dead wife. These are dreams, daydreams, or his imagination. They add a nice touch, seeing his relationship with his wife’s ghost.
The group of characters are intriguing, interesting, and wonderfully developed - bad guys and good guys. Most of the good guys are flawed. I liked that.
I loved the little girl’s dialogue and her questions. I loved Dave’s relationship with her.
The author used many phrases, metaphors, and similes. Many I had not heard before. Some I just liked the way he used them. They surprised and delighted me. Some examples.
Cars cross the bridge and “thump onto the road”
About a rhythm and blues singer, someone must have “rubbed a lot of pain into him” when he was young
“When the mosquitos started to boil out of the shadows.”
“Those who began each day with a nervous breakdown, people who held onto the sides of the planet with suction cups”
Girl with a swimsuit “that was tight as tin on her body”
(What does that mean? I don’t know but I liked it.)
This book won the EDGAR AWARD for best novel in 1990.
THE AUTHOR LIVES IN THE PLACES HE WRITES ABOUT.
The two main locations in this story are Louisiana and Montana. The author has homes in both of those places. I’m sure that helps his descriptions be so rich and lush. I wonder about authors who write about places they’ve never visited but instead rely on online research.
NARRATOR & SOUND EQUIPMENT PROBLEM:
Mark Hammer was excellent with his timing and interpretations. His southern accent was comfortable to listen to. I loved the way he spoke for the little girl. He gave her an attitude that touched my heart. I loved the way she said the word Dave - in such a gentle and caring way.
I think there was a problem with the sound equipment. It picked up the narrator’s breathing making it sound as if he had trouble breathing. His breaths were noisy and distracting.
Genre: mystery suspense
Attorney and author of legal thrillers.
I am a huge fan of James Lee Burke and have read a number of his books. However, I had missed Black Cherry Blues. I listened to it on a long road trip and realized again that Burke is unparalleled in his ability to paint a scene and draw a reader into the story.
Burke's stories always keep me wondering. I know each character will play a part in the overall sense of the book, but I never know for sure how it will play out until the very end. In this book, I wondered most about Dixie Lee Pugh, a marvelous character on many levels.
Hammer captured the essence of Dave Robicheaux for me. Understated, yet thoughtful and plagued by the demons of his past.
Yes. Although the length of it made it better listened to a few segments at a time. I actually read the last chapter or two on my Kindle, but later went back and listened to them to get the full effect of the narration.
What a great writer and fantastic narrator! Listening, I am pulled in as if it is occurring around me. The subject matter can be depressing, but there is something redeeming in these stories. I am now listening in order and I am just blown away at how great they are!
... Mark Hammer's narration doesn't hold a candle to that of Will Patton. Patton captures the lyrical quality of Burke's prose -- truly takes me to Louisiana (or, in this case, Montana).
I've listened to three of Will Patton's readings of James Lee Burke's books and have marveled at Mr. Patton's characterizations and Louisiana accents. By comparison, Mark Hammer sounds as if all his characters are from east Tennessee, have some nasel passage infection and are virtually indistinguishable. I especially missed Mr. Patton's voice for Clete Purcel in this reading of Black Cherry Blues. I wish Will Patton would read all of Burke's books in the unabridged form.
In the words of the great CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, " Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription is more.... WILL PATTON!!!!!"
JLB is a new author to me, and I was very delighted to find that not only is his writing and character development very engaging, but audible has almost all of his books! I plan to get them. This is a very well written story. It took me a while to get used to Mr. Hammer's voice as narrator, (he sounded too old for the character of Dave to me) but, I toughed it out (it took two books) and found myself not minding it so much. I highly recommend this book.
If you are like me and enjoy following series, these are some of my favorite detective story authors: Karin Slaughter - (Will Trent), Greg Iles, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, J D Robb, C J Sansom, and John Sandford.
This is a great book. James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors. However, the narration is terrible. There is very little differentiation between the characters voices and almost no attempt at adding any kind of emotion. All of them (with a couple of exceptions) sound like hillbillies with a sinus infection. I love Will Patton's narration of this series. He brings the characters and the accents to life. Mark Hammer is the complete opposite. I struggled to get through this book. It's disappointing because I really would love to listen to the whole series. Do yourself a favor and buy a hard copy of the ones not narrated by Will Patton.
Author of The Serapis Fraktur. Check out mgrove dot com!
Yes, not only is this a terrific detective mystery novel, but it is an artistic masterpiece, probably Burke's finest work. It won the Edgar, it was that good. I've read it twice and listened to it three times.
Yes, like a raptor ready to pounce!
No, this was my first. He is excellent.
The beginning when...just read it. You'll see.
This is situated in Louisiana and the characters are grass roots, down-home, grits, root beer, heat lightening over the salt flats humid with color and flavor. If you want to experience a cornucopia of sensations, read Burke. Or listen.
One of my favourite authors. Burke's description is so good scenes come alive like magic. Dave Robicheaux is one of the good guys, the underdog who ties to do the right thing.