I gave the last Burke read only 4 stars because I thought the characters might be getting a little long-in-the-tooth. I'm happy to say how wrong I was. This one tops them all. I've heard some readers describe a book as a roller coaster of emotions. This one is more like careening out of control down a mountain road with a death grip on the steering wheel and daring not to blink. I feel exhausted after reaching the end but know I've experienced a heck of a ride.
Dave, his wife, Mollie, daughter Alafair, Clete and his daughter Gretchen head to Montana for a vacation, which soon turns into a battle with a bad rich man, his son, and a very crazy escaped felon. Alafair and Gretchen are their fathers' daughters, not backing down, and facing off evil without blinking an eye. A great story, with, as usual, Burke's fluent language describing people, places and events.
But I have to say none of it would be as wonderful if not for Will Patton. He is Dave, and Clete, and Alafair and Gretchen. With a slight change in his voice, you can "see" who is speaking. His pauses and emphasis make the story that much greater. May he always be the voice of Dave and his kin.
I have read absolutely everything Burke has ever written and loved every one of them - until his last two Robicheaux novels. Something is lost and I suspect its inspiration. Dave is predictable. Clete is predictable. The plot is predictable for a Robicheaux novel. Even the level of violence is predictable. Changing the setting did allow Burke to use his incredible skill at making locations come alive, but that was just not enough to raise this above the level of "only OK."
Will Patton's narration is also not what I would choose. He does an OK job of giving each character a distinct voice, but I am distracted by his annoying tendency to "chew the scenery." I wish he would moderate the level of emotion he gives the characters when they talk with each other. Except for Molly (who has almost no "reality" in this book until near the end) everyone is either grinding their teeth with anger, shouting with anger or just angry. It's difficult to describe, but Patton can't seem to let a character speak with anything less than throat-searing emotion.
I wonder if it isn't time for Clete and Dave to ride off into the bayou and retire to a life of fishing.
Give us more Holland!
I've always liked Will Patton's interpretation of men's voices, especially Clete's. His reading has made some less-interesting books tolerable.
Tthe Bone Season
Will Patton can do a passable version of Alafair, but absolutely flunks doing the voice of Gretchen. Please hire a woman to help him out.
Sorry, I couldn't finish.
The story was boring. The descriptions were too long. When you got rid of all of the extras, the story could've been one page long.
I've read others and liked them, but after reading this one, I won't be buying any more.
I like listening to the way he does the dialect and continues on after the end of a sentence to include part of the next. He's excellent, and I would listen to others he narrates.
The narration was excellent.
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
As a reader and listener of Burke's novels I've eagerly awaited each new book in whatever series he has written. I'm a huge fan of Dave and Clete but I just heard too many story lines and similar characters in other books.
As usual, Will Patton's narration is spot on. I love each character and how he allows the writing to be the "voice", not his voice.
Worth listening to....yes....But not quite what I was hoping..
Too many similar characters from other novels
Dead on. I'd repurchase Burke's novels if he redid those done by Mark Hammer
Long haul commuter. Audiobooks keep me from causing serious physical harm to my fellow commuters. Bless you, Audible!
JLB once again weaves a wonderful mystery full of vivid imagery and unsavory characters. If you have followed the adventures of Dave and Clete you will not be disappointed. In addition to the usual cast of characters, we learn more about Clete's daughter, Gretchen - who is a chip off the old block. A colorful character from Bitterroot, Wyatt Dixon plays a large role in the story and provides some of the best scenes.
I've listened to a Will Patton performance of James Lee Burke's work every summer for a while. His narration is always perfect and always a great story to go along with it. Good stuff!
It is too long. Burke could have taken a bit more time and edited this one a bit more. It feels like a rough draft, rambling around without a point, with too many loose ends. Not as tight and well written as most of the series.
Weird ending. Too many characters just stop doing anything for the last ten minutes of the book.
While I still enjoyed the book, the themes are getting repetitive and tired. I am glad it took place in Montana, but it wasn't that accurate. All the final action seems to take place near Flathead Lake, yet he refers to the same sheriff as in Missoula (Flathead Lake is part in Lake County, part in Flathead County: different sheriffs).
Too many people die in these books for it to be realistic. I didn't add up the total death toll, but it is high. Too much gore, more than is needed. There are as many murders in this one book as Missoula would see in a year.
Yet I still enjoy Burke's prose. It is poetic and beautiful, and Patton's wonderful narration makes it sing. Despite my complaints, I am still glad I listened to this book.
FAN TAS TIC
None. James Lee Burke is a unique writer.
Will Patton is such a great narrator that each character is distinct enough to love.
Fast paced and thought provoking.
Love Gretchen. She really adds a fresh character to this series, one I would be disappointed to see not included in every book. Also glad that Aliphair has more to do. This gives the novels a chance to grow up and into a new generation. And Wyatt and his woman are such welcome additions. How will Burke deprive us of them now? They are amazing new characters.