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Publisher's Summary

James Lee Burke's new novel, Swan Peak, finds Detective Robicheaux far from his New Iberia roots, attempting to relax in the untouched wilderness of rural Montana. He, his wife, and his buddy, Clete Purcell, have retreated to stay at an old friend's ranch, hoping to spend their days fishing and enjoying their distance from the harsh, gritty landscape of Louisiana post-Katrina.

But the serenity is soon shattered when two college students are found brutally murdered in the hills behind where the Robicheauxs and Purcell are staying. They quickly find themselves involved in a twisted and dangerous mystery involving a wealthy, vicious oil tycoon, his deformed brother and beautiful wife, a sexually deviant minister, an escaped con and former country-music star, and a vigilante Texas gunbull out for blood.

At the center of the storm is Clete, who cannot shake the feeling that he is being haunted by the ghosts from his past - namely Sally Dio, the mob boss he'd sabotaged and killed years before.

In this expertly drawn, gripping story, Burke deftly weaves intricate, engaging plotlines and original, compelling characters with his uniquely graceful prose. He transcends genre yet again in the latest thrilling addition to his New York Times best-selling series.

More mayhem? Listen to more of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux thrillers.
©2008 James Lee Burke (P)2008 Simon and Schuster, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • shallotte, NC, United States
  • 07-10-08

Christmas/Birthday in July

Don't do it Jimmy Dale, don't do it...

This was a magnificent listen. God bless James Lee Burke and Will Patton. I was a little hesistant 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 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.

Geez, what a great book this was...

45 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Pembroke Pines, FL, United States
  • 07-09-08

Dynamic Duo

The dynamic duo is James Lee Burke and Will Patton. I have not seen an author and narrator so suited to each other. Any Burke novel with Patton narrating is a five star work. I wish all his other novels could be reread by Patton. I am sure they would get raves too. This latest book takes place not in New Orleans but in the big sky country. It does not matter though, because Robacheux, I cant spell that, is the same tough cop. I want more.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Always a great read!

James Lee Burke is the Faulker of mystery writers. He writes so well that even when the plot or the actions of a character actually don't make any sense, you simply don't care. Cerebral, murky, thoughtful, philosophical, human ... Burke's characters have stood up to the years, grown, developed and continue to remain multi-faceted and highly original. Despite the fact that both Dave and Clete are getting a bit long in the tooth, they still manage to create and somehow survive bloody mayhem, murder and the general craziness of their world. This one takes place in Montana, Burke's alternate universe and you spend a lot more time in Clete's head than you have in previous books ... which is fine with me. Probably not the best of the Robicheaux series, but nonetheless gripping and entertaining. And most important, to me anyhow, satisfying. Burke wraps things up so that when you finish the book, there are no loose ends of plot dangling. May James Lee live forever and keep writing!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Patton's music with Burke's lyrics - perfect!

Burke's powerful descriptive prose matched with Patton's effortless and breezy 'sippi drawl makes this one of the best listens in a long long time. The plot line is solid, and the relationships developed and examined are what make Burke's novels so beautifully rendered. They are like philosophical visual poetry carefully pieced together with scenes of good vs evil, enlightenment, damnation and redemption.

The words and imagery resonate long after the iPod is turned off.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Listen

James Lee Burke fans will not be disappointed with this one... and if you're not a JLB fan yet... you should be!!

He weaves the pieces together perfectly with a few different twists on his typical equations.

The formula is often the same with JLB, the rich guy who Robichaux is gunning for, the drug dealer/pimp, the powerfull woman, the sympathetic woman, etc. The twists in this one though are pretty interesting.

Of course you will have to get over the outlandish premise of the story, which is that Dave and Clete stumble into massive trouble based on pure happenstance.

....and the far-fetched notion that the richest businessman in all of Texas is evil

....and for some reason, Will Patton was overly melodramatic at times, which is unlike him - he us usually flawless.

Overall, I was anxiously waiting for this book and it did not disappoint. I teetered on a 4-star and 5-star based on the few bothersome issues, but rounded up.

Definitely a HIGH recommendation!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Story Read by the Best Reader!

I am persuaded that Will Patton is far and away the best performer in the entire Audible Universe. James Lee Burke's writing is as eloquent as it is violent. I loved this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Will Patton is terrific!

I am an avid mystery reader/lister and always on the lookout for a new series to grab me. James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels did just that. I started with Swan Peak and am now on my third book in the series (Tin Roof Blowdown and Crusader's Crossing). I especially like Will Patton as the narrator. Although the plots are complex, I can follow them as they are exciting and clever. The novels are also humorous at times (Dave's friend Clete) yet beautifully written, the characters intriguing. I highly recommend trying a Burke novel if you like mysteries. If you're a Michael Connelly fan, then Burke might be for you.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marcia
  • Gainsville, TX, USA
  • 05-25-09

Great Cast!

Troyce Nix and Candace made this book for me. As with "Tin Roof Blowdown," this novel turns on the complexity of the human heart and the possibility for change and redemption. Only the truly evil people seem one-dimensional. Though always lyrical, Burke's descriptions of the Montana landscape do not have the intimacy and power that characterize his treatment of Louisiana venues. In this novel he supplants the wistfulness for an earlier, more innocent Louisiana with frank distaste for the intrusion of wealthy, out-of-state usurpers into the Montana landscape. The cast is fascinating, and the denouement surprising and satisfying. It is a rewarding read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 04-05-13

Once again, the perfect combo

I think Will Patton does a stunning job of bringing these characters to life. I thoroughly enjoy listening to him. (I should say I enjoy listening to MOST of it. The violence sometimes is just too raw.) It's not like he's working in a vacuum, though. James Lee Burke certainly gives him a full range of characters with which to work his magic. Speaking of that ...

I don't know if I was distracted while listening or what the deal was, but the characters in this particular Burke were hard for me to keep straight until I was about 75% done. There's a point where Dave reviews in his mind all that has happened. That helped me enormously. This is something I just don't think I can fault the writer on. I really needed to pay attention to names and details when each character was introduced. My bad.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Garrett
  • Western Springs, IL, USA
  • 02-01-09

Not as strong as "Tin Roof Blowdown"

I was hypnotized by Will Patton's reading of Tin Roof Blowdown and hoped for more of the same from this book. In the end, the story lacked the atmospheric benefit of New Orleans or New Iberia by being situated in Montana. Patton does another great job voicing all the characters especially Clete Purcell. As far as Purcell is concerned, though, Burke makes an outsized effort to present him as a larger than life character which makes him more cartoonish than real. Several of the other characters seem like cut-outs rather than flesh and blood. As for Dave Robichaux, we probably don't get enough insight into his character as we did in Tin Roof, but he remains an interestingly complex individual. All in all, I was happy to spend the full length of time to get to the end of this book and was reasonably surprised by the way it ended. Not Burke's best effort, but fans will be pleased and will want more.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful