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Publisher's Summary

Dave Robicheaux felt the bone-grinding pain rip through his body as the .45 did its damage. Through the agonizing haze that enveloped him, he heard an almost inhuman laugh: the hideous, victorious cackling of Jimmie Lee Boggs - a sound he would never forget.

It had started out as an ordinary prisoner transfer, then turned into a blood bath when the convicted murderer got hold of a gun. Robicheaux could still hear that contemptible laughter, replacing the horrors from 'Nam he relived every night, echoing in the still of his darkened bedroom.

When Boggs is spotted in New Orleans, Robicheaux follows, joining a DEA sting operation in the Quarter. Poised for revenge, he prepares to face his fears and silence the laughter once and for all. But, in the murky water of the Pearl River, Robicheaux finds that some things are more important than sweet, simple revenge.

More mayhem? Listen to another of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux thrillers.
©1990 James Lee Burke (P)1993 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"A highly spiced gumbo of vice, violence, voodoo." ( Observer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 02-22-12

Burke is an outstanding novelist

James Lee Burke is in my top five list of talented novelists. He's one of the few that can tell a really good story while using imagery that adds to the experience instead of simply subscribing to the theory that the more metaphors, the better. This was a marvelous story with several well-developed and interesting characters. Occasionally the narrator made it difficult to discern who was speaking but he did an otherwise exceptional job. I really can't say anything bad about this novel and picked it because of previous good listens by the author. I will listen to another.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jane
  • Gulf Breeze, FL, United States
  • 08-10-10


I loved the plot, love Dave, loved the book ... but the mispronunciation of so many South Louisiana words - particularly names of places - was terribly distracting. Except for this single but distracting problem, Hammer, the reader, does a fine job with the local dialect. But Mark - PLEASE call someone who lives in the area, and learn to pronounce unfamiliar terms before you do a day's work in the reading room.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't Get Past Narration!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I usually love James Lee Burke books...but only the ones narrated by Will Patton. This narrator made every character sound the same to the point where I got lost in the story and could not finish the book. I agree with another comment on this page.....if you are going to select this it don't listen to it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Narrator was the worst.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Hammer?

Will Patton

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The author is awesome and his other books narrated by Will Patton are the best.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Listen

Another GREAT Listen from JLB!!

There wasn't quite as much from the dark side in this story as you might see in other JLB efforts, but his mastery of mixing with the different levels of evil in this world was still second to none!

It was interesting to spend more time in Robichaux' head and less time spent on the interaction with the reeeeaaally bad guy "Boggs" in this case.

Probably the best Mark Hammer performance I have heard. He (narrator) did a great job!!

Probably about 1/2 way up the totem pole on my list of JLB favorites, and definitely recommended.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 03-19-13

Buy the setup, it's fined

James Lee Burke writes poetry. He wrote it better in the last book in this series, but it's still very fine here. I had trouble buying Dave Robicheaux's motivation for this undercover adventure. Wuddahell, I suspended disbelief and let the thing drift along like a log on the salt. Glad I did. Again Mark Hammer grabbed my imagination like a gator's jaws, and held fast through the rich imagery till the end. Yep, it'll be good to visit with Dave again.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Drucilla
  • Georgetown, TX, United States
  • 03-04-11

Narration both good and bad

As usual, Burke's poetic writing style pulls your senses into the action. However, I almost stopped listening when the narrator began reading. As I moved through the book, however, I found that Hammer had a genuine gift for dialect, and this made the narration bearable. When Hammer was just narrating the narrative (sorry, don't know how else to put that), he sounds like he's recovering from the flu and will barely be able to make it through the paragraph. I also didn't like Hammer's interpretation of Robicheaux's voice.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 02-10-09

A good book in a good series.

James Lee Burke is a good writer who creates vivid settings that have a genuine feel, and to me, this is one of his best. His hero, Detective Dave Robicheaux, is at his most troubled, yet his most convincing as he goes undercover in a drug sting after being shot by a sociopathic killer.

Burke's storytelling is at its best here. Robicheaux, as always, struggles with past alcoholism, demons, and the need to balance justice against revenge, yet in "Flamingoes" his ethical dilemmas are at their most convincing, and several of his adversaries are at their most complex. Old characters take on new life, new characters surprise you, and the interactions are convincing and integral to the story.

Even the setting is more original, wandering out of the French Quarters and into less familiar areas of New Orleans.

A flaw with most of Burke's novels is his use of stereotypes, especially ethnic and gender stereotypes, but that flaw seems less pronounced here. He still does not portray educated African Americans or women strong enough to not need Dave's wisdom or brawn, but his characters have more life of their own in this one.

Overall, one of his best, and a good novel on its own, independent of the series. Even the narrator, Mark Hammer, is better in this one, though he still mispronounces local names. A good listen.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Thought Provoking Thriller

Dave Robicheaux is one of my favorite sleuths, and James Lee Burke is a superlative author. His prose is gorgeous, so much so that at times I stopped to record a particularly pithy observation in my journal, to chew on in the future.

This is a marvelous book that will grab your attention and hold it throughout; I couldn't stop listening until I reached the end.

Some reviewers have commented on the narrator. I've heard both, and although I like the Swan Peak narrator better, Hammer does an acceptable job.

Don't miss it!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leiah
  • Golden, CO, USA
  • 06-05-08

I absolutely adore Burke...

But Hammer is the WORST reader! OMG... the man sounds like a total moron,and makes his characters sound like they have the intelligence of a post. Any one knowing Burke's poetic writing knows that Will Patton does a gorgeous job of reading Burke's work - but I simply can't listen to this. It is a horrible butchering of Burke's work!!! Shiver. The absolute worst reading I have ever listened to on an Audible work.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful series strong as ever

When dealing with a series there seems to be a point in which the author seems to be phoning it in and the series just degrades. I see no evidence of this happening yet in the James Lee Burke series, the writing is still beautiful, the action exciting and the description of the people and places of South Louisiana good enough to make you feel like you just paid a visit to the place. I am excited to start my next installment in the series and my hope is that it is just as good as this one was.
Highly Recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful