In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker.
More mayhem? Listen to more of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux thrillers.
©1987 James Lee Burke; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"With its fine local color and driving action, this novel is both chilling and first-rate entertainment." (Publishers Weekly)
"One of Burke's best." (New York Times Book Review)
are you going to give Mike Hammer some more work pretty soon?
In complementing James Lee I'll resist comparisons and characterizations of his writing.I will simply say that in this day and age and place where I sell you my money's worth, James Lee Burke's books are a worthy exception. I enjoy them, I benefit from them and I look forward to the next one. The only thing I would change is to have more opportunity to combine Burke and Hammer... It's just flat works!
I thought I would give this book and author a try based on the reviews. To be honest, I'm a bit tired of the detective genre and find that it over saturates the fiction market.
The book is well written and exceptionally delivered by Wil Patton but I could not get past the over-indulgent use of violence and the portrayal of one dimensional female character(s?). I found the overall flavor to be macho, a male revenge fantasy that left me feeling uncomfortable for no really good reason. If the violence and revenge had more of a point to the plot, and wasn't so ridiculous (I mean how could anyone, let alone a cop plausibly get away with all of the intimidation, murder, assault in the span of one book?) I wouldn't think twice about it. I was really looking forward to start another well reviewed series but I think I'll pass on this one, not sure if I want to spend another 10 or so hours feeling distressed about the state of male power dynamics.
I must have thought of listening to this book 20 times before I finally downloaded it, what a great find! This is some of the best contemporary writing I have ever come across, the story moves fast, the dialog is magnificent, the characters are amazingly developed, the way this author can describe a scene is on an entirely new level, it is spectacular. The story moves in and around New Orleans and south Louisiana and everything is real and direct and at times brutally honest. There is a multilevel story going on here with the main character having to overcome some personal demons as well as those in real human form, the world is a tense one with a solid storyline that is filled with moments of real anxiety
for the reader. This is an adult read, it is wonderful literature, and it will bring you into a world filled with some very seedy and some very wonderful people. Highly recommended.
Business Physicist and Astronomer
The total review averages have me stumped. This book isn't that good. In fact, it's a pretty dull listen. Just when it seems like it's going to start moving it goes flat again.
I really didn't care for this book---but you can tell.
Now here's the thing. Sometimes I'll write off my dislike for a book as a difference in taste. In this case, I think it's just low level, dime store pulp. Obviously some people are okay with that. I can't recommend this book.
Chris Reich, TeachU
This is an incredible writer. The images are very powerful. But they were so violent. I was simply dismayed at their darkness. I knew that there would be difficult passages; it's about the murder of a prostitute after all. But I had no idea they would be so pervasive--including multiple violent flashbacks for many of the characters.
I don't think I'm a prude, but this book had images that are way darker than those I want to put into my mind.
This is my second book I've listened to by James Lee Burke. I found this book to be so violent for no real reason. It didn't do anything to support the story or make it more interesting. I almost gave up a couple of times, but stuck it out to give it a fair chance. as a result, this will be the last book of Mr. Burke's that I will purchase.
Just from this author
It was sometimes difficult to follow the characters
Will Patton's narration was just superb, and Burke is a good wordsmith who paints evocative backdrops of Louisiana (25 years ago or so), and does maintain suspense along the way. The bad news is the story is preposterously unbelievable, and doesn't really go anywhere sufficient to compensate us for suspending our critical faculties along the way.
Dave Robicheaux is the narrator and protagonist. In this book, he is a thug-rouge cop who goes around trespassing, destroying property, beating and shooting people, but all, fantastically, with truly incredible impunity. He delivers himself carelessly into the hands of experienced, ruthless killers multiple times, but they never just "off" him. He is even kidnapped from his indefensible houseboat, but then goes right back there like nothing happened, to pass out drunk, take nice naps in his hammock on the boat, and otherwise makes himself a big, fat, juicy, helpless obnoxious target, all without fatal consequence.
Similarly, Robicheaux perpetrates one blatantly illegal, blatantly violent act after another as a police detective, and while a raging alcoholic suspended police detective, with only token resistance from the law. The author unboxes his entire erector set to construct a panoply of conspicuous deus ex machina to keep this floundering fool alive and out of jail, from one chapter to the next.
Amazingly, we are repeatedly told by Dave's Captain / supervisor what a great, great, great detective Robicheax is, but everything Robicheaux does or tells us about himself, absolutely belies this. In the entire book, he doesn't arrest anyone legally as a police officer, doesn't bring even one single solitary criminal to justice by the law. Awesome great cop. Right.
Since the author gives us a narrator-protagonist whose actions consist primarily of illegal, antisocial, belligerent, brutish behavior, it just doesn't wash when he slides out the soap box to weave moral and philosophical ramblings in, around, and among the protagonist's violent and lawless rampages; --speechifying about Viet Nam, politics, society, morality, ethics, etc. Similarly, the incongruous insertion into the plot line of occasional vignettes of Robicheaux's self-righteous indignation at the acts of other bad cops just don't square with the consistent lawlessness of the "hero".
Now as I have said, there is suspense along the way in this story, and I'm okay with dramatic license and even blatantly unbelievable story lines, if there's some similarly dramatic payoff at the end. I mean, we all enjoy the guilty pleasure of say, a good James Bond movie right? Unfortunately, Dave Robicheaux doesn't save the world. He doesn't uncover a big government conspiracy (though this story line seems to be loosely based on the Iran-Contra scandal), or bust open the syndicate. He doesn't redeem himself by bringing anyone to justice before the law. At the end of his long bumbling trail of dumb thuggery, he has simply run out of people and reasons to bludgeon, beat, shoot, and / or utterly fail to make even one righteous arrest or a single legal case. I guess we're supposed to be elated when he resigns from the force and rides off into the sunset with the obligatory gratuitous love interest. More like good riddance to a floundering bad actor / unhinged whack job, in whom we are given little reason to sympathize.
This was a disappointing audiobook.
I like mysteries, classics, and good non-fiction. Much of my audible listening takes place when I am working out and sweaty, so I like good plot-driven thrillers.
People who like "noir" crime novels and hard-boiled dicks. I think it might interest people who are concerned with the PTSD of the Viet Nam war and / or the struggle with alcohol.
A "cozy" mystery or a legal thriller. I prefer mysteries that are more clearly plotted and have very distinct character development.
I think that the performance itself was perfect for the material. The narrator did as well as he could and he had the right tone of gruffness but did not sacrifice clarity.
It has some atmospherics of Louisiana but mostly it was a tedious exercise in profanity that did nothing to forward the rather skimpy plot. It seemed to be a bit of a drunkalogue.
I have heard that the Dave Robicheaux novels improve as the series moves forward. But I don't think I will try them.
In the vein of Mike Hammer, a real get down and dirty detective novel. A little humor, a bunch of action, good story line and I don't mind the flashbacks to 'Nam. Some are a little long but the story makes up for it in suspense. I will definitely read the next in the series. I am very pleased with Will Patton's narration. I don't know about Mark Hammer but I will be finding out. Glad to have a new series to listen to .... Just don't know how this is going to be a cop drama if he isn't going to be on the force.... or is he?
Tin Roof Blowdown was my first Burke book and while I found it hard to follow at first, I got into it and enjoyed getting to know the characters. I've read later Burke books and listened to Neon Rain thinking that it help fill out the characters, but I must admit that I like the complexity of the characters in the later books. I like Dave better as a sober man. Will Patton is great and I couldn't imagine listening to other Robicheaux books without him. This book was fine but the later books are better.
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