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Publisher's Summary

James Lee Burke's most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.

Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man.

Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he's investigating, one that involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave's beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel but a harrowing study of America: this nation's abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America's favorite characters in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.

©2018 James Lee Burke (P)2018 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A complex protagonist like Robicheaux and a consummate actor like [narrator Will] Patton are a recipe for success. Sure enough, Patton delivers. He extracts deep pathos from Robicheaux... Patton is a vocal chameleon - delivering unique, memorable voices time and again." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Modern Day Master Work

If you haven't read James Lee Burke yet, you must get to know him. There may be no finer American writer alive today. The characters, place, and stories he offers are soul searing and profound. Along with Will Paton as narrator Burke's audiobooks are my standard for 5 stars. Do not miss Robicheaux. These are audiobooks I go back to, discovering more layers each listen. Set in the New Orleans area, the Robicheaux novels brings place to mind with the heat, lushness, and dankness palpable. It is like going on vacation to NOLA but getting caught in a dark web. Time with Dave Robicheaux and his oddly charming partner Clete Percel is probably my favorite escape. Knowing their backstories from previous works brings richness to this book. But you can pick up and put this plot in order easily. So much of what Burke does is magical. He leaves me haunted, loving Iberia, thinking deeply, and always wanting more.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

No One Writes Like James Lee Burke!!

I have never read an author who continues to get better with each novel as does James Lee Burke. Both Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell have aged and grown, especially Clete. They still have their demons; they still drive each other a little crazy. But, they stare into the heart of darkness whether it is within themselves or in the post edenic world of southern Louisiana. It is the integrity with which they live, and the understanding that they will not be able to right every wrong that gives them a depth of character that is unmatched in the noir crime genre.

Plus, no one writes about Louisiana like James Lee Burke. I can barely tolerate the humidity of my current state of North Carolina, and there is no way I could live in the gulf regions of Louisiana. But, his writing of the land choking with vegetation, the sunrise and sunsets upon the water, the storms, all seeming to scream of the power of creation is so attractive that I want to live there nontheless.

This is my first listen to a James Lee Burke novel as an Audible audio book. It was excellent.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 06-03-18

Will Patton narrates better than Burke writes!

ROBICHEAUX is Book 21 in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux modern detective/suspense mystery series set mostly in New Orleans. First I must confess that I have never been a fan of Burke's novels because his seemingly endless use of bad similes (e.g., "the wind was like a blow torch" and "his soul was as bright as a burnished shield" and "hollow tupelos that reverberated like conga drums when you bang on them" and "he looked like a bewhiskered monk staring out of a cave") frustrate me and his frequent references to Robicheaux's issues with Vietnam and alcohol are redundant. I do, however, enjoy listening to the narration of Will Patton.

As usual for James Lee Burke, from my perspective, ROBICHEAUX is a good plot ruined by excessive wordiness and Burke's often pathetic attempts at flowery language. This novel is in serious need of a good editor! I did enjoy some of the characters. Also, Robicheaux's daughter Alafair plays a significant role in this novel (in real life Burke's daughter is named Alafair and is a well known author of fiction in her own right).

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Man, the books, the legend


In 1987 Burke introduced us to Dave Robicheaux in the novel *Neon Rain.* A haunted Viet-Nam vet and Detective in the French Quarter. Det. Robicheaux had lost his wife, was struggling with his own addictions and demons while battling the worst of the crime lords inhabiting the underbelly of New Orleans. I didn't think he'd survive that one, and here we are, more than 30 years and 21 novels [?] later and Robicheaux is every bit the ballbuster he was...a little more dented and bruised (which has only added character). I can't think of any characters, at least in this category, that are as richly developed or as entertaining and complex as Burke's, especially with his Robicheaux series.

Burke's plots are complex and greatly layered. You could read this as a stand-alone book, but you are going to miss the history. This latest adventure has Robicheaux dealing with some ugly new business as well as reliving the automobile crash that killed his wife. He also teams up with his old buddy (and former homicide partner and fellow Vietnam vet) Cletus Purcel, the two just barely keep each other's heads from going completely under as they slide under that thin line dividing Good from all injustice.

James Lee Burke is an American treasure; this prolific author amazes me with his talent for writing, imagination, and dedication to his art and his fans. He consistently turns in novels that feel like a passionate (and successful) attempt at a masterpiece, never a half-hearted called-in addition to a series. In my opinion, no one does it better or has kept this level of devotion stirring in me. As a reader, I feel lucky to have a writer of such genius, writing so beautifully, creative mysteries that keep me absorbed and still wanting more. I am often so mesmerized by the beauty of his sentences that I have to remember to follow the storyline -- and that is not hyperbole. Kirkus said it perfectly: *another 15 rounds of high-fatality crime, alcohol-soaked ruminations, and heaven-storming prose.* It's like reading a modern day Faulkner writing the character of this Cajun super-hero.

And Will Patton! I have to repeat myself -- this is perfect synergy. Will is phenomenal as Robicheaux; an over-used cliche, but it is what it is. I agree with the great reviews already here and suggest that if you aren't yet familiar with this author, you have some of the best reading you can do still ahead of you.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Burke, Robicheaux and Patton: nothing better!!!

Having read/listened/loved every Robicheaux novel written, I was eager and excited to once again be transported by the singularly exceptional characters, Louisiana language, culture and historical storyline that stays consistent throughout them all in an exciting journey; picking up where the last adventure left off and leaving me wanting to keep on reading and reading more. Mr. Burke has a unique perspective and writing style that Will Patton brings to life like no one else could. If, you don't know Dave Robicheaux, my advice is to start reading from the beginning and you too will feel compelled to just keep riding along on a grand adventure.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

James Lee Burke's best ever

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you've ever read and enjoyed a book by James Lee Burke, run to buy this one. It's his best ever.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Clete and Dave - especially as read by Will Patton.

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

Patton's ability to create so many easily distinguished characters using only his gifted voice and his sense of timing - once again bring Clete, Dave, and a dozen other characters to life. His ability to create believable South Louisiana characters - both from New Orleans and from Bayou Country - is astounding. No native could do it.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

It doesn't need a tag line.

Any additional comments?

I'm getting ready to begin again at the beginning.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A rare disappointment

I've read this entire series and this was by far the worst book in the series. Poor story and even worse character development. Anticlimactic ending and tons of loose ends. If you want to read all about alcoholism for hours on end and don't care abouy being intrigued by a mystery then have at it. Otherwise look elsewhere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hard to Hear

I have read all of Burke’s Robichaux novels, and have thoroughly enjoyed the story and Will Patton who read them. But the production on this one was such a low volume compared to the others and Mr. Patton descends to whispers at times that it was impossible to hear some phrases. That was very disconcerting during the reading and very annoying. Other than that it’s classic James Lee Burke and Will Patton.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 04-19-18

a hard hitting Robicheaux

This is another good one in the Dave Robicheaux series. This book has a little of everything in it, Dave foes off the wagon (always interesting), plenty of bad hombres, a good mystery, Clete Purcell at his best, fast paced from start to finish, a book you blaze right through.

I had to look up the Robicheaux series wondering if I had missed a book since the last one. Some of the things that had happened, such as wife Molly being in a car accident before this book started. n looking things up I learned that it had been almost five years since the last book in the series. I hadn't missed any of the books so some things just happened between that last one and this.

I also learned that James Lee Burke is 84 years old now. You wonder how long he will keep writing, a sad day for many when it happens. But I saw that there is a book in this series scheduled for 2019, 'Ball and Cain', so he's not stopping yet. Maybe he will just keep writing until he can't write anymore.

If you are a fan of the author, the series, the narrator then this is a must listen.

My thought? Keep on, keepin on, Mr Burke, keep on keepin on.........

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Burke has jumped the shark

Too much hyperbole. Rambling descriptions. Exaggerated hard to believe characters. A little bit of Stephen King.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful