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.
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.
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).
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
live in cold Bangor Maine. 36 years old and I Really enjoy the jack reached novels, anything motorcycle and western/cowboy related...
Hoping it would be better. Way to much going on. And weird. Didn't like any of it.
James Burke tells a story that draws you into every scene. and the masterful way it is narrated makes you lose yourself in the story. Outstanding.
Narrator has good reviews but his speech seems garbled until Chapter 7 when it seems much clearer then goes back to garbled. I have listened to some of the Dave Robicheaux series by Will Patton and they are so much better. I won't listen to any more narrated by Mark Hammer.
Retired Marine combat officer now enjoying life in Southwestern Wisconsin. With my wife, Crystal, we own and operate a portrait studio, True Lives Studio, in Bloomington, WI
Listening to James Lee Burke is pure hit you in the face poetry. Trying to get through the narration is like doing so through a rock tumbler.
The story moves, sags and just downright bogs down.
Please give us Will Patton