When Robicheaux, a police officer based in the somewhat quieter Louisiana town of New Iberia, learns that an old friend, Father Jimmie Dolan has been the victim of a particularly brutal assault, he returns to New Orleans to investigate, if only unofficially.
Meanwhile, back in New Iberia, three local teenage girls are killed in a drunk driving accident. Robicheaux traces the source of the liquor to one of New Iberia's "daiquiri windows," places that sell mixed drinks through drive-by windows. When the owner of the drive-through operation is brutally murdered, Robicheaux immediately suspects the grief-crazed father of the dead teen driver. But his assumption is challenged when the murder weapon turns up belonging to someone else. Tying together these disparate threads is a maniacal killer named Max Coll, a deeply haunted hit man sent to New Orleans to finish the job of father Dolan.
©2003 James Lee Burke; (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All Rights Reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"James Lee Burke is at the top of his game." (The New York Times)
"This is an outstanding entry in an excellent series" (Publishers Weekly)
Perhaps the saddest tale of this series. Dave's wife has died; he's tempted to start drinking again, a priest trying to save the soul of a hit man moves in with Dave, Dave keeps taking wrong turns in his search for the bad guy, the "good" people have serious faults, some of the "bad" guys have redeeming virtues, and I kept listening even when I should have gone to bed. The narrator's world weary voice is dead, solid perfect as the tired-of-life but dedicated detective.
Great, intelligent writing, good story, wonderful narration, a pure pleasure. The "hero" is an imperfect human being but someone you are a better person for spending time with. Please, please re-record the other Burke novels in an unabridged format with Mark Hammer doing the reading. I will be listening to this often over the years. Thank you, James Lee Burke, and especially thank you, Mark Hammer. What a team!
This may be one of the best book credits I have spent. Burke's creation of the bayou country is consistently excellent. His world will draw you in with a sense of reality that is hard to find elsewhere. As Dave meanders from one clue to the next, more of the plot is revealed and the character descriptions and interactions are terrific. I don't want it to end, and I am still only half way through part 1.
If you enjoyed earlier versions of the Dave Robicheaux series, you'll love this novel. The descriptions of south Louisiana are vivid and Burke's phraseology brings the emotions and dilemmas of his characters to life in ways the author continues to perfect. This is a novel that can easily be heard several times as you fall into the easy pace of a geographic area's culture and the rich descriptions within a multifacted plot. If you like James Lee Burke, you'll love "Last Car to Elysian Fields."
First James Lee Burke novel I have listened to, and first review I have felt compelled to write after listening to almost 30 books on audible. I took a chance on this one as many of the reviews were less than positive on the story and the narration and am glad I did. Having spent all of my life in Southern Louisiana I thought I could make it through the dialect and accents with no problem but there was no need. First, the accent used in the narration is NOT a South Louisiana accent. It is however a great sort of smoky, slow, country wisened drawl that fits the lead character perfectly if not exactly accurately as far as regional dialect is concerned. I had NO problems understanding anything that was said and can only wonder if some of the reviewers downloaded lower quality audio formats which I find unlistenable regardless of the accent of the narrator. Finally the story does not move at an intolerably slow rate, but rather gives just the right amount of time to character and location development. This is a great listen of a pretty good novel don't pass it up based on the negative reviews for the above mentioned reasons.
Say something about yourself!
If you like Southern lit, you'll really appreciate this novel. At various times, it reminded me of Bobbie Ann Mason, Flannery O'Connor, and Cormac McCarthy (Suttree, in particular)--dark, complex, and yet, sometimes, laugh-out-loud funny. The reader is exquisite--perfect pacing, inflection, and emotion, deftly conveying the patois, the humor, and the reality of the deep South. Characters and plot are multifaceted. Story lines intertwine, diverge, and meld again, like the flavors in a real file gumbo. Go for it. I'm already searching the Audible catalog for my next Burke novel.
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
This is my first Robicheaux novel, and I thought that it was great. I liked the interwoven plots and the "small town" feel of the Big Easy. I thought that the narration added to scenes that would have otherwise lacked dynamic. And I learned that Leadbelly wrote "Goodnight, Irene". I'll buy others in the Robicheaux series and narrated by Mark Hammer.
I left off expecting an easy listen after the first couple of books. They are rich in very atmospheric detail, such as anecdotes about the characters, culture and geographical area which all add layers to an already complex plot. I love these books and the characters, despite the less-than-perfect editing, Burke's iffy relationship with females in his novels; and the requirement that all major characters be Vietnam vets. Now he's even gotten rid of Bootsie, and effectively, Alafair. But if all that, and Mark Hammer's 'gramps with a mouthful of cornbread' style of narration, and especially Nick Sullivan's narration, haven't dissuaded me from listening, there's no doubt I will finish them all. I am very happy to see the next book is narrated by Will Patton again...whew! Burke's and Patton's voices are much happier together. I love getting on Google Earth and finding the places mentioned in the book; this area of our country has been a complete mystery to me until Burke's novels. Regarding Burke's compulsion to cast everyone as a Vet, I'm aware that Southern boys made up a disproportionate number of soldiers in Vietnam even when the draft lottery started, and maybe in Louisiana it was a matter of southern pride for all young men to respond to any military call...what do I know? But that was my generation too, and while I knew many who went, most of my friends were in college and got deferments. There was a great range of after-effects. I've lost Vet friends from alcohol, drugs, and self-destructive behavior, but know more who saw combat and still lived full, healthy lives. Note...one thing that keeps coming up in the books and kind of niggles at me..."the touch of malaria". MAYbe, but after my many bouts of malaria (from living in the middle east), my take is that "a touch of malaria" is kinda like "a touch of pregnancy".
Living as I do on the west coast, amidst the sunshine and dry air, I find Burke's books, like Pat Conroy's to be dark, humid and mysterious, with the "South" as another well-developed character. This one is as dark and convoluted as the background against which it is written. The pace is measured, the language distinctly southern, the relationships complicated and the story complex. I have a problem with the abridged versions, so much gets left out that I can't follow the story. This and Jolie Blon's Bounce are the best.
Love all of James Lee Burke's books. This one though was hard to get into. I agree with some of the other reviews, in that the narration was difficult to follow, most characters dialect being slurred too much.
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