Before Robicheaux can bring the killer or killers to justice, he battles a painkiller addiction, a habit brought on by a humiliating beating he suffers at the hands of a diabolical character known only as Legion. Once the overseer on a local sugarcane plantation, Legion scrapes by through doing odd jobs. In temperament, he's still the malevolent bully, seemingly possessed with supernatural skills of survival.
When Robicheaux's longtime buddy Clete Purcel drops by New Iberia for a visit, he is quickly drawn into the struggle between evil forces - including Jimmy Dean Styles, a black man intent on maintaining his empire of corruption; Joe Zeroski, a trailer park mafioso with palatial aspirations; and Legion Guidry, in whom Robicheaux faces an enemy unlike any he has ever known. And soon, what began as a duel of wits turns into a dance of death.
Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."
©2002 James Lee Burke, All Rights Reserved; (P)2002 Recorded Books Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"To read a Burke novel is to enter a timeless, parallel universe of violent emotions and lush, brooding landscapes." (Publishers Weekly)
"Powerful, poignant, and spellbinding." (AudioFile)
"Dave Robicheaux...[is] easily one of the most complex and compelling protagonists in mystery fiction. This is classic James Lee Burke, the master stylist, writing at the top of his game." (Amazon.com)
I am sorry to say I did not give this reader much of a chance when I wrote my first review of this book. It was very different that the other James Lee Burke books I have read and did not seem to work for me. I recently tried it again and I now realize that once Mark Hammer got his characters developed his reading was not half bad. Not a good as Will Patton but not as bad as I first thought. As usual the story was great. James Lee Burke is one of the best writers of our age. My apologies to Mr Hammer.
Boy I relished the times when I could sneak away from my activities of daily living to listen to this book. The ambling sequencing of visual vignettes and the narrator's pace created a southern atmosphere which rang true and intentional. I was disappointed to learn that there is a different narrator on Burke's other books...though I say that not having heard the other narrator. Just thought he was quite adept at creating believeable vocal characterizations.
Member since 2000
Once again James Lee Burke offers up a brilliant character study. This novel is also a great mystery. Mark Hammer's narration is captivating and will propel you into the swamps of Lousiana. Listen to Jolie Blon's Bounce only when you have time to finish without pause. It's that good.
Mark Hammer's masterful narration of this book (and the other Robicheaux books) reveals the complexity and drama of a man whose depth of character, grief, personal struggle, and sociological conflicts are entwined with the rich, raw, and sensual Cajun culture. His subtle inflections and careful pacing exudes with authenticity, sorrow, and life-fatigue that distinguishes Dave Robicheaux's search for justice and meaning, in a world that challenges both. He faces pure evil in the person of the indomitable, elderly Legion Guidry, the portrayal of whom made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up, with each encounter. William Patton who narrates Purple Cane Road, by the same author, is excellent in his narrative vibrancy, flexibility, and skill but tells very different story of Dave Robicheaux through his voice than that of Mark Hammer. I loved all of the Robicheax stories, but this is the best of all.
I have listened to four books by Burke, all of them narrated by Mark Hammer. They were all fantastic books, but Jolie Blon's Bounce was the best. The bad guy in this book was pure evil, and several other characters were also well developed. Burke saved the best for last, the ending gave me goose bumps. At first I also had a hard time with the narration. But after I got used to Mark Hammer's style I have to say that he is my favorite! He is the perfect voice for this series. I recommend that you listen to the first 30 minutes twice to get used to his unique style and intonation.
The sad, world-weary voice of the narrator enhances the written work. I'd heard about James Lee Burke's books, but the few times I tried to read one I soon lost interest. Now, with Mark Hammer's narration, the book comes to life, the spirit behind the words has substance. I've since listened to Sunset Limited and am now trying to decide which Burke book to download next from Audible.com.
Do yourself a favor and find the abridged version read by Will Patton. It is a shame that such a good story is wasted by this reader. Will Patton is the only one who can do Robo.
I read all the available reviews before ordering and, because the author is a long-time favorite of mine, ordered it despite strongly conflicting opinions of the quality of the narration. Be warned by this lover of audio books that this otherwise fine Burke book is all but ruined by the narration of Mark Hammer. Hammer's voice qualities are those a very elderly man and one with almost no dramatic color. Even if you are a fan of Burke's poetic and lively writing this is likely to disappoint. The story's still-youngish hero is almost impossible to picture when all his observations are droned in the crackly voice of a man who sounds twenty or thirty years his senior!
What is wrong with Simon & Schuster audio folks? What possessed James Lee Burke to let this happen to his creation? Why did I not heed those who warned me in their review??
The characters in this book are haunting and complex, and with the exception of Legion Guidry, human. Legion is one of the most frightening characters I have ever come across in fiction. I believe that Mark Hammer's reading had a lot to do with how he came across.
That said, I think that for me this is one book that I would be better off reading in print. There are many complex characters to keep straight, and the narrator gives many of them the same or a very similar voice. The slow, almost sing-songy pace lulled me into a zone where I missed whole sections on a regular basis. I'm still not quite straight on where some of the major characters fit in to Dave Robicheau's universe.
But if you are someone who enjoys an intricate and winding yet raw and brutal tale that packs a lot of story into just 14-odd hours of listening, then this is for you. I will remember Legion and Dave for a long time to come.
I struggled getting through this book for 2 reasons:
1. The reader - he had the Louisianna sound down pat, but took way too long to find a way to distinguish one voice from another. Especially in the beginning I had to rewind several times to figure out which character was speaking, especially in conversations between Dave and Clete. It got better towards the end of the book, but the reading is mediocre at best.
2. Lack of action. Right up front we get 2 brutal murders, we meet the characters who are supposed to be solving the crimes, then spend 2/3's of the book tolerating an endless circus of immature and violent behavior from the suspects as well as the "good guys" without a shred of evidence that anyone is trying to find the killer. We don't even get a clue until the final hour of the reading why the crimes were committed.
In the long run, I'm glad I stuck it out - the ending did finally tell the story. But there were too many red herrings to make this a first class suspense story. Reduce the number of characters by half, spend the same amount of effort developing the ones that remain, and then you'll get a story to invest in.
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