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Publisher's Summary

Dave Robicheaux is back, in a gorgeously written, visceral thriller by James Lee Burke, “the heavy weight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed” (Michael Connelly).

Creole Belle begins where the last book in the Dave Robicheaux series, The Glass Rainbow, ended. Dave is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, where a Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him and leaves him an iPod with the country blues song "Creole Belle" on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie and goes in search of her sister, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf. Meanwhile, there has been an oil well blowout on the Gulf, threatening the cherished environs of the bayous.

Creole Belle is James Lee Burke at his very best, with beloved series hero Dave Robicheaux leading the charge against the destruction of both the land and the people he has sworn to protect.

©2012 James Lee Burke (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

“This tale plays out much like The Glass Rainbow—intimations of mortality; melancholic musing on the pillaging of once-Edenic South Louisiana; cathartic, guns-blazing climax—but, as always, Burke brings something new to the table...Dave and Clete may still be unbowed, but they are certainly broken—and all the more interesting for it.” (Booklist)
“Another stunner from a modern master.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Great news for readers who feared that Burke had left Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Robicheaux dying at the end of The Glass Rainbow (2010); Dave and his old friend Clete Purcel are back for an even more heaven-storming round of homicide, New Orleans–style.... A darkly magnificent treat for Dave’s legion of admirers.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Carol
  • Portland, OR 97229
  • 08-09-12

Thumbs up for both Burke and Patton

Where does Creole Belle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is by far one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. It was my first Audible.com book, and I feel it was an excellent choice to become 'hooked!' Will Patton does more than read the story ... he immerses himself in it, with many moods and voices, pauses and sighs at the right places, and took me right along with him. I thoroughly enjoyed it ....

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was sometimes bummed that I had to 'come back' to my own life and stop listening for awhile. My earbuds were never far from my reach though, so that I could dip back into Robicheaux's and Cleet's life again.

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One of the best I've ever read

James Lee Burke is one of the most beautifully visual authors I've ever read. I am not a traveler, but I confess that I've thought more than once that I must visit New Iberia, Louisiana. He makes the listener so "right-at-home". The characters are familiar now, and the style is comfortable. But after listening to 6 Burke books (5 featuring Robicheaux), this may have been the best. And just a word about Will Patton: PERFECT. I am a fan of great narrators, and Patton is as good as they come (and I've had the opportunity to hear him do 2-3 others in addition to the Burke books...including Deliverance). He absolutely OWNS the voices of the characters in these books. His range of delivery while still staying tight and true to individual characters is simply amazing. I would put him alongside anyone, including George Guidall (generally my favorite) and Roy Dotrice (a true tour-de-force on the Game of Thrones books). I would give this audio book my highest recommendation!

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  • Dennis
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 08-06-12

A Well-Oiled Plot

Dave and Clete are tough,cynical, alcoholic,and world-weary, and operate on the edge of the legal system. Yet they ask seek the answers to life's eternal questions. Is it justice to blow away a piece of pond scum or should they make the tax payers bear the cost of his incarceration? Does the little guy still count in a world controlled by petro-dollars? Where does friendship end and duty begin? Does anyone really care about the down-trodden? Do the rich always win?

Burke takes his characters from a Nazi prison camp, a mob family, hit men, pillars of the town, and everyman, and endows them with more idiosyncrasies than are found in a tax code. The occupants of Creole Belle are as loathsome as they are interesting and more than they appear. There emerges some good in some of the evildoers and some bad in the good-doers.

Will Patton's narration is as smooth as a mint-julep on a summer evening, and he makes the listener feel like he's sitting cross-legged listening to his grandfather on a columned veranda.

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  • Kareen
  • Phelan, CA, United States
  • 08-06-12

Excellent!

With each of these books, the characters engage you, the prose is beautiful and the stories intriguing. This one doesn't disappoint! I loved it! Clete and Dave are getting older, but they still "rock"! Will Patton is the absolute perfect choice for the narrator. I am not looking forward to the day they "retire". I love this series!

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Super Listen!

Where does Creole Belle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would listen to anything written by James Lee Burke and Narrated by Will Patton. When you put the two of them together, the result is dynamite!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Creole Belle?

I think Cleet being sick. I really didn't want anything to happen to him since he is a favored character. I won't say what happened to him so as not to ruin it for anyone else.

Which character – as performed by Will Patton – was your favorite?

Dave Robicheaux is, of course, my favorite! Will Patton has a natural southern accent. Not many narrators can pull that off.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I love this book just as much as I have all the others from James Lee Burke. Did not disappoint!!!

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  • Kelly
  • Melbourne, FL, United States
  • 08-05-12

James Lee Burke's Best

I couldn't wait for the follow-up to The Glass Rainbow to come out in audio and, when it did, I was not disappointed. The story and characters (especially Clete's secretary!), as always, were wonderful and imaginative. And, best of all, Will Patton's narration was spot on! I will definitely listen to this one again. A toast to you, James Lee Burke, for yet another awesome novel!

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One too many novels for Dave and Clete

First let me say that Burke has not lost one iota of his descriptive talents. There are passages in Creole Belle that take my breath away. I had to share them; they were too good to experience alone. But sadly he's run out of plot lines, revealed all his characters' inner demons and angst. It's the same tale Burke has spun over and over, another visit to Dave's oft confessed moral struggles. Once again, we are introduced to unethical, self-important. rich villans held in check only by the maligned ex cops who in the end burn down the house. Earlier novels had a touch of preachiness, but in this one, Burke's anger at big oil is explicit. His rage at the BP oil spill is front and center and very close to the boiling point. I share his rage, but not here, not so explicitly, and not draped over the same plot one more time. I just felt tired before I got to the end. It was better to have Dave and Clete take that ride on the river boat with dignity than to drag them out of the river to plod through one case too many.

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  • Dan
  • Iowa City, IA, United States
  • 08-04-12

Overwritten

Would you try another book from James Lee Burke and/or Will Patton?

I love James Lee Burke and have never been disappointed. But this one just seemed overwritten. About 50 pages of Dave's politicizing could have been excised and tightened everything up.

Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Will Patton is one of the best narrators around. His Clete Purcell is absolutely perfect in my estimation.

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"The Bobbsey Twins From Homicide Are Forever"

Vintage JLB, with his violence, his lyrical settins, his magical realism, and what I can't resist: his keening elegy to a Louisiana that is fading, fading, but not quite extinguished.

JLB writes for the English major and warrior spirit in his readers. The reader is alternately word-struck and pumped full of adreneline during the whole-shebang-fourth-of-July-fireworks finale in this book.

Clete Purcell plays a key role in this book, and he's a larger-than-life train wreck, as usual. Some of the reviewers found the book angry, but I don't know how anyone who loves Louisiana and its once-glorious natural treasures can be anything but angry at the systematic catastrophes caused by human activity there. JLB's level of anger seems appropriate to me. Somebody has to speak up for this lost biodiversity and culture that is unique in the world.

Will Patton is spectacular, as always. A perfect match.

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  • Marty
  • Warrior, Albania
  • 08-02-12

Ahhhh

Would you listen to Creole Belle again? Why?

JLB writes stories with such depth. What I love most about his books are the history that he writes about. It’s wonderful to be able to in vision the sights, smells and feel as though your right in the middle of things. A word about the narrator, Will Patton, OMG why does that guy not read every audible book out there? I could listen to him forever. His voice is like silk across your body. He knows how to use his voice to command his words. Love him. Wonderful listen.

What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His masterful voice with all its inflection and tone, to make it sound as if you are right there. This would not be a best seller in my mind if it were not for Will Patton.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I have a job that makes it possible for me to listen to books, I will not put this one down.<br/>