I've read all Burke's Robicheaux books so far, and in order. First: narration. Will Patton read the first two, then Mark Hammer took over. At first I ..Show More »didn't like Hammer after the nearly pitch-perfect Patton, but by the 4th book, I realized how good he was. The one thing that makes Hammer not work for me, however, is that there is no getting around the fact that he sounds too old for Robicheaux. And for the women who are hard to distinguish from the men. Now we have Nick Sullivan. He has a pleasant voice and I'm sure he does well on other books, but he is not the reader for this series. And really, how is it our Dave the Cajun, Bootsie, Alafair and Clete don't have ANY accents, but everyone Else has some kind of southern-ish accent? I'm looking forward to Mark Hammer again, and then yes! Will Patton.
As for the books themselves, they deserve a very close listen. I needed something easy but good to 'read' while working on this fixer-upper we have. I'd heard about Burke for years, so I started with Neon Rain--not at all my favorite. But I kept going. And soon came to realize how much texture and complexity is in each book and how VERY much I enjoyed the little background and contextual jewels which are such great insights into the Bayou/Southern culture. Burke has a remarkable touch with this technique of building a story. Even though he could have used a better editor on this series (too much "protean", "fecund", "ceramic or porcelain", "gibbous", "come/came a borning", and skin-around-eyes-tightening, et al), I never got tired of listening to the rich, descriptive prose--especially as a context for the tightly wound, taciturn protagonist. I also love the moments of humor tucked so subtly into the writing.
There are other flaws. Any male worth his salt in this series is a Vietnam Vet, sometimes the "damaged warrior" gets a bit overdone, there has not been one female role so far which excited me, and sometimes I want to slap Dave upside the head. Last criticism. Using Dave as first person narrator puts the intricate descriptions of events occurring out of his presence into some question, but in the end it's not bothersome. None of these issues seem to impede my enjoyment of the series, thoroughly liberal feminist though I am.
One thing I found very interesting...the time frame. I don't know if it's because of the author's age which pretty much coincides with his hero's, or if it's because in some ways the South is just that much stuck in it's past, and though the time period is obvious from information in the books, I often feel sucked back into the '50's. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and then a re-read or two down the road.
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 Le..Show More »e 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.
Great, intelligent writing, good story, wonderful narration, a pure pleasure. The "hero" is an imperfect human being but someone you are a better pers..Show More »on 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!
While listening to this book, I wanted to go to Cafe Du Monde and eat too many beignet. I heard jazz in the quarter and inhaled the scent and felt the..Show More » sounds of the Atchafallya Basin. And along with me are Dave and Clete, my favorite imperfect good guys. I thought the inclusion of Alafair and her relationship to the antagonists made this story particularly interesting and suspense filled. And with each new book, I have come to love Clete more and more, with his warts and maybe because of. I didn't want this story to end.
I have been a James Lee Burke fan for years, having read every single one of his books once and sometimes twice, or more. This is the first book I ha..Show More »ve listened to and at the beginning I had great fears because Dave was such a close friend.
Will Patton does an absolutely amazing job of narrating Pegasus Descending. Though I had a different voice for Dave (a good friend is from Baton Rouge and I was using that deeper more accented voice in my head), Patton very soon won me over.
I have always been in love with the beauty of the language that Burke uses. "...sunset like the gilt edge on a Bible." He summons such detailed images to your mind like no one else can do. There is a small scene where Robichaux is drunk and he's watching the man next to him in a bar peel an egg. I was in that bar, smelling the smells, seeing the little chip of egg shell on the man's finger. Maybe I was tipsy too. It's a small, but amazing scene.
The story is one of Burke's best. Robichaux has been settled down in his heart by his new wife and this gives him a new maturity and grace. It's a quite wonderful change to see. The characters are terrifically written and Will Patton does a most excellent job, an award-winning job with the voice of Monarch. He's captured the winningness of his personality as well as the evil and danger that lurks there.
I would guess that there is a not a person who reads that would not love this book.
If you haven't read the Robichaux series from start to finish, you have such a treat ahead for you. I wish I could have them surgically removed from my brain so that I could again read them for the first time.
I think there are 15 books in this series and Robichaux is FAR from becoming a tired, re-formulated hero (such as Lucas Davenport). I hope Mr. Burke has 15 more books in him.
I have most of Burke's books in print, and now I want to own them all in Mr. Patton's voice.
This is the most horrifying description of post Katrina that I've read to date. The lush description of the beauty of New Orleans and Louisiana bayo..Show More »u country is gone, replaced by "bodies wrapped tight like mummies in the gray and brown detritus left by the receding waters." There were parts I had to close my eyes to listen to because the sense of place was so vivid and I couldn't stand what I was seeing.
The story is vintage Burke with a little bit of "is it mystical magic or not" thrown in amongst the good vs. evil that is the cross on which Burke hangs his stories. Burke's politics is more evident here than in other books, with Bush bashing, gratuitous remarks about Fox News, etc., all which jarringly interrupt the story's magic. But yet, the depth of Burke's anger at what happened in New Orleans, the failures and abandoment, certainly is well-grounded.
You can read the publisher's summary to get a feel for the story, but even if Burke was writing about the recipe for a fish stew, I'd read it and it would be wonderful.
There is not a writer alive today that can put you in the scene so completely - the smells, the sights, the scent of the breeze, the color of sunlight and shade, he's just wonderful.
This is a wonderful,achingly sad, and somewhat horrific story of how Burke mourns the City of New Orleans and what it once was.
This was a magnificent listen. God bless James Lee Burke and Will Patton. I was a little hesi..Show More »stant when I read Dave was going off to Montana, wondering how Burke could pull it off, but the same beauty of language, the same craft in his writing, and the same wonderful plotting held up to even the best of the Louisiana novels. I listened to it straight through, except for a little sleep, and found my self pacing back and forth several times and rewinding many times just to listen again to Patton's gorgeous rendition of Burke's beautiful words. I rarely talk outloud to characters in a book, but I was constantly giving advice to Jimmy Dale and Nix. There was an interesting juxtaposition in this book that I haven't seen in other Burke books, the seemingly evil and despicable Nix winds up a someone you feel like rooting for...odd for Burke.
As an aside, some of the vulgarisms Clete comes up with just stun me (and I raised three teenaged boys). It's Burke's knack for description in a different version. Also, lots of political swipes here that I wish would've been left out...it so jars the pace of the story. King, Parker, and now Burke can't seem to leave well enough alone.
Burke is a national treasure. His previous books will stand as testament to what New Orleans was pre-Katrina and I hope soon that he will re-visit New Orleans with the same love and deep lushness of description that we've come to expect.
Since Mr. Burke is getting on in years, I treasure each book with such love, hoping it won't be his last.
And as for Will Patton, he should receive every single reader award that can be bestowed on him.
As I listened I thought three things: 1. Best Robicheaux book yet: descriptive, exciting, convoluted. 2. Will Paton is really the only person who sh..Show More »ould 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.
YES!!! Dave and Clete back in Louisiana once again
JLB is one of my very favorite authors. This book gives us a bit of "more of the same" however, one may consider.... when is too much of something you..Show More » love a bad thing? Well maybe when it becomes predictable and when one can get a whiff of staleness. I truly can't say this happens throughout this book, but I confess during most of part one, I was asking myself these questions. So to the good parts..... great scary bad guys....including one guy that has such a dirty past, it will make your skin crawl. And as always the reader/listener gets to enjoy the push/pull relationship between Dave and Clete. Clete has a long lost family member appear in this book and her part makes for some interesting happenings. Then there is Alafair, in this story she plays an interesting role. I couldn't quite figure out why as an adult she is at home living with her parents. And at times her involvement in the intrigue with the bad guys really doesn't make sense. Oh and of course Will Patton is always perfect narrating these books for JLB. So for me it was a wee bit of a mix. But as the story progressed, I as always, couldn't help myself, I just fell in love with this book.
Listening to Will Patton read "Light of the World" is like sipping a glass of chateauneuf du pape. You want to savor every moment and take your time d..Show More »oing it. I like James Lee Burke; I believe he is the best modern mystery writer. And Will Patton makes the characters and story come alive. I ordered this book a day before my monthly credit come through solely because I could not wait 24 hours for another Burke installment. After surviving the events told in "Creole Belle", Dave, his wife Molly and daughter Alafair join Clete and his daughter Gretchen to look for some R&R at their old friend, Albert's house in Montana. Not surprisingly, instead of enjoying some days in the Montana countryside, they confront evil, evil personified in the satanic character of Asa Surette, one of the most vile characters, if not the most vile in JLB's or any other writer's novels. JLB creates page turners and unlike other contemporary mystery writers he writes in the most hauntingly beautiful style. Listening to Will Patton read "Light of the World" (interesting title) is an engrossing spiritual experience. If you haven't read James Lee Burke, it may be helpful to get :Creole Belle" first. However, they are stand alone novels and not a sequel as such, but it may help your understanding of the events especially Gretchen who first appears in "Creole Belle".