James Lee Burke’s eagerly awaited new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, Louisiana, and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered. While the crimes have all the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of Bernadette Latiolais, a high-school honor student, doesn’t fit: she is not the kind of hapless and marginalized victim psychopaths usually prey upon. Robicheaux and his best friend, Clete Purcel, confront Herman Stanga, a notorious pimp and crack dealer whom both men despise. When Stanga turns up dead shortly after a fierce beating by Purcel, in front of numerous witnesses, the case takes a nasty turn, and Clete’s career and life are hanging by threads over the abyss.
Adding to Robicheaux’s troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, on leave from Stanford Law to put the finishing touches on her novel. Her literary pursuit has led her into the arms of Kermit Abelard, celebrated novelist and scion of a once prominent Louisiana family whose fortunes are slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana’s subculture. Abelard’s association with best-selling ex-convict author Robert Weingart, a man who uses and discards people like Kleenex, causes Robicheaux to fear that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. As his daughter seems to drift away from him, he wonders if he has become a victim of his own paranoia. But as usual, Robicheaux’s instincts are proven correct and he finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.
Set against the backdrop of an Edenic paradise threatened by pernicious forces, James Lee Burke’s The Glass Rainbow is already being hailed as perhaps the best novel in the Robicheaux series.
More mayhem? Listen to more of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux thrillers.
©2010 James Lee Burke (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
"MWA Grand Master Burke offers everything his readers expect - brilliant prose, prosaic situations that suddenly become mystic experiences, and a complex plot that repeatedly plumbs the depths of human depravity and the heights of nobility - in his superlative 18th novel featuring Iberia, La., deputy sheriff Dave Robicheaux." (Publishers Weekly)
"[S]uperb suspense leading to a gripping, set-piece finale that is a masterpiece of texture and mood, with the high-energy climax in the foreground both contrasted against and supported by the intensely lyrical, heavily melancholic prose that swells and recedes underneath the action. Not to be missed by any follower of the landmark series." (Booklist)
As I listened I thought three things: 1. Best Robicheaux book yet: descriptive, exciting, convoluted. 2. Will Paton is really the only person who should ever be allowed to narrate these books. 3. Does everybody in Louisiana have a professorial knowledge of classical literature and a poet's eye?
The "almost" comes from a real disappointment in the novel which I can't in good conscience list for fear of spoiling what was almost a five star book. That said, I can't wait for his next.
Once again, my favorite author and my favorite narrator on the same piece. No one lets you escape or puts you in a place like James Lee Burke and I find myself seaching for Patton's work on Audible just because he is so outstanding.
Right up there with "Tin Roof"
I don't agree with other reviewers that this was the best Robecheau book. Burkes writing was beautiful and Patton's naration was perfect.
However I thought the plot was a little over the top and dragged out. Pete and Dave must be in their 60s so the things they do are a bit hard to believe. Alafair had a run in with bad guys in a previous novel so her actions in this novel don't follow that experience.
Its still an excellent novel and worth the use of a credit especially if your a fan of burke and listened to all other of his novels.
Tin Roof Blow Down I believe is still the best Dave Robicheaux novel.
This book is worth listening to just for the description of Clete Purcell given by Dave in the early portion of the book. Burke is at his best in this book with beautiful writing, though I sorta had everything figured out before it happened and that might be because I've read all his books 2-3 times. I had a hard time with the mercenaries too. I least like his stories when the family is brought into it. Alafair, to me, after her childhood has been an uninteresting character and I didn't particularly like her in this book.
However, after writing the above complaints, it was a get go book from the start and it was very hard to put down when I had other things to do. His prose is beautiful, the setting gorgeous, and the Bobsey Twins of Homicide are at their best and most loyal.
Will Patton is the best narrator around, hands down. Other narrators should listen and learn (do you hear me Scott Brick?).
james lee burke has to be one of america's crown jewels. will patton brings mr. burke's writing to life. this is a hard tale to listen to as hard truths are told, with the sense of mortality almost a character. but really the combination of author and narrator are second to none in america. i often question why certain books make the best seller lists. there is no question here.
Everyone is up to their old tricks and charms. The descriptions are beautiful, the characters well-rounded and like-able or perfectly hate-able. I read each of these faithfully because of all of these things. The stories and writing are rich and full and make other stories seem lacking. This particular book had a couple of moments where Dave is "saved" just a little to easily and a little to coincidentally. A couple of moments almost had a "Scooby-Doo, whew, that was close" feel to them. I hope Burke doesn't continue in that direct and instead keeps the flawed, human, reluctantly heroic heroes in tact.
First, I have to say it--Will Patton, visit Louisiana. No one says "Pe-CAN." People from the Irish Channel don't sound like hyperactive gutter junkies. It's not Georgia or Kentucky or wherever that accent is from.
I had mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand, Burke's prose has never been better. His descriptions, insights, metaphors, and most everything else is almost breathtaking. It's easily worth the read for that alone. The plot is solid, though unfulfilled at points, and the themes, while starting to sound familiar, are explored well, and it moves along at a clip that will prevent you from putting it down through the last quarter of the novel.
On the other hand, some of it is just weird. The supernatural self-indulgences almost cross the line into science fiction, while serving little purpose that couldn't have been accomplished through metaphor. It's not crippling, it's just distracting in a book that is bent on exposing the gritty reality of evil. Some of the cliche phrases are getting tired--how does everyone in the known universe know what "Take the mashed potatoes out of your mouth" means, and how and when to use it, anyway? All characters, no matter the background, sound like Dave. You will recognize every type of character and every profile from his past books, too.
And at the end I felt like there were unresolved issues, so that Burke needed to either write a little more or a little less.
But in the end, who cares? Burke is a beautiful writer who should be experienced and enjoyed. This book is the darkest and most introspective he's written, exploring emotions and fears that Burke seems to have rare insight into. You have to read it.
I am new to James Lee Burke's work, but took a chance after seeing positive reviews on here. I would agree that Will Patton did a very good job, but I don't think he's anywhere near the best I've heard as an audiobook reader (though I think he's a terrific actor). The writing...well, that's another story. Burke is a beautifully visual poet. Loved the characters, loved the settings, loved his writing style. This was a real treat, and I am seriously consider going back and getting the one from a couple years earlier that so many said they thought was his best. Really good stuff!
I love all the James Lee Burke novels. This one is the best ever. Will Patton takes you into the heart of David Robichdaux and you can see through his eyes and feel the pain in his heart.
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