• Pegasus Descending

  • By: James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,077 ratings)

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Pegasus Descending  By  cover art

Pegasus Descending

By: James Lee Burke
Narrated by: Will Patton
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Publisher's summary

A troubled young woman breezes into Detective Robicheaux's hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. She happens to be the daughter of his friend: a friend he witnessed gunned down in a bank robbery, a tragedy that forever changed Robicheaux's life.

The twists begin when Trish Klein, the only offspring of Robicheaux's Vietnam-era buddy, starts passing marked hundred-dollar bills in local casinos. Is she a good kid gone bad? A victim's child seeking revenge? A promiscuous beauty seducing everyone good within her grasp? And can Robicheaux make peace with his friend's murder in time to figure out how a local mobster fits into all the schemes and death? Will his life be whole again when it has been shattered by so much tragedy?

In Pegasus Descending, James Lee Burke explores psyches as much as evidence, and tries to make sense of human behavior as well as his characters' crimes. Richly atmospheric, frightening in its sudden violence, and replete with the sort of puzzles only the best crime fiction creates, Burke's latest novel is an unforgettable roller coaster of passion, surprise, and regret.

©2006 James Lee Burke. All rights reserved (P)2006 Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"The novel is steeped in complex personality studies, lyrical prose, and richly drawn depictions of Mr. Burke's beloved bayou country." (The New York Times)
"With peerless naturalistic descriptions and lush, metaphysical imagery, Burke creates another challenging morality play for his flawed, everyman hero." (Publishers Weekly)
"Everything that makes this series so compelling - the elegiac, seductively lyrical prose; the complex character of Robicheaux; the lovingly evoked bayou setting - is here in abundance....The fact remains that no serious reader of hard-boiled fiction should ever miss a moment of Dave Robicheaux in action." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Pegasus Descending

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking

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 have 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.

Really, I can't recommend this highly enough.

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38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen

If you've done any listening at all, you know that a narrator can make or break a book. The combination of James Lee Burke's writing and Will Patton's narrating a Dave Robicheaux story is on a par with Dean Koontz and David Aaron Baker's rendition of the Odd Thomas books. The narrator makes the book come alive. I've listened to The Tin Roof Blowdown and Crusader's Cross, and both are worth a re-listen, but this is Burke at his best. Audible has some other Dave Robicheaux books but I probably won't listen to them because they have a different narrator. This is not a criticism of the narrator, but Will Patton is the embodiment of the New Iberia detective. I never have trouble identifying the character speaking because of the many voices Patton uses. His Louisiana accent gives a marvelous flavor to this very well written book. Burke's wonderful descriptive phrases are generously scattered throughout the book. I bought the book for my wife to read and she enjoyed it as much as I did (she prefers reading, go figure). I would give this book more than five stars if I could.

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20 people found this helpful

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

The Synergy of Will Patton & James Lee Burke.

...is truly masterful. Burke is a master storyteller and Patton's Charleston roots and acting saavy make for the perfect delivery.

This is a story of revenge, life coming full circle for a haunted detetective and the evil housed in the criminals in New Orleans. I know without asking how deeply Burke loves New Orleans. Yet he chooses to expose the corruption and twisted evil seemingly embraced and even celebrated by its citizens. Before we lose hope, there is always a sliver of redemption throughout this magnificent series.

As always, there is an atmosphere of danger and suspense from beginning to end. If you haven't read a Burke novel, now is the time to do so.

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8 people found this helpful

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

Burke and Patton: what a pleasure.

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

Yes. In fact, I have been doing so for about twenty five years now. Mr. Burke's sense of place is magnificent. He describes Iberia Parish and New Orleans so perfectly that you can almost see, feel, smell and taste them. Further, he addresses moral, ethical and personal areas, particularly around issues of conscience, that few other writers would ever even attempt to discuss.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Although you always know that Dave Robicheaux will eventually come out on top, his road there is strewn with vicious characters who put him into very dangerous plights. His buud, Clete Purcell, is a walking hand grenade, ready to explode at any moment with his own brand of hurt from his time in Viet Nam. Dave is also hurt and vulnerable to depression, particularly when he feels the racist big shots running the towns. Dave's sense of morality is a complicated, developing thing. Everything about his life is interesting to the reader. I may not have read all of his books, but it is hard to imagine Mr. Burke writing anything below truly extraordinary prowess and sensitivity. He puts most other thriller writers to shame.

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

I have. I can't name them right here, but his voice is quite distinct. His portrayal of Southern accents is awesome. At times there is some overlap between the voices of Dave and Clete, but this is a quibble. He holds my interest almost as well as Mr. Burke's content does.

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

I can't possibly do that, for reasons I am not really sure about. Twelve hours is a long time, and I can't think of anything I do without stopping for that long. I find it nice to read several hours, and then in a few days come back to the book, as the talents of these two men are things to savor, and I like to make them last for a long time.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Terriffic Listen!!

One of James Lee Burke's best!!

I would rank it 1-2 with his "The Tin Roof Blowdown".

It's definitely a "can't put down" listen!!

A couple breaks Dave Robichaux gets are a bit far-fetched, but it doesn't distract from story.

Highly Recommended!

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of Burke's best.

Burke is always good, but this one may be his best. All elements of his writing and storytelling are at their peak here, from his vivid imagery and apt metaphors to his dark insights into human nature, and he tells one of the most riveting stories Robicheaux has yet wandered through, all with an attention to language most writers these days don't even understand. This is a great novel for Robicheaux fans, and a great place to dive into the series if you've never read him before.

Will Patton is a very good reader, even though he sounds more Dixie than Cajun and screws up Clete Purcell something awful, not to mention a few local names. He's smart and has an appreciation for Burke's language, and you feel that in this narration. Overall, this is a book to make you fall in love with James Lee Burke, and I can't recommend it enough.

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6 people found this helpful

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

Good Entertainment, Well Written & Performed!...

I thoroughly enjoyed this listen. This is best one that I've listened to so far. I've listen to three others. This story is rich in characters and atmosphere. My favorite character is Clete. I don't like thinking of Clete as Dave Robichaux's sidekick because he's much more than that. Not only are they good friends who understand and know how the other thinks, they are also detectives and they have each other's back!

In this well written story, there are 3 or 4 murders, each one complicated. Are they related to each in some way or not? Dave Robichaux goes on the hunt for the clues. What makes Burke's stories so very unique for me are the settings, the poetic language peppered with many Louisiana's sayings which adds to the flavor and richness of the story. The characters are well developed and the mystery and complexity of the story lines are easily followed. There is a good amount of humor which is very entertaining. My favorite character, Clete, is "laugh-out-laugh funny" in how he come up with Louisiana sayings and phrases with a nonchalant attitude even in the face of danger. Nothing fazes Clete!

As one reviewer noted, " Will Patton is the embodiment of the New Iberia detective." Will Patton's performance is always exceptional. Patton uses many voices which are realistically southern Louisiana. His accent leaves you feeling that you are in fact down in New Iberia on the Bayou Teche ... Highly Recommend....

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

If images had calories....

If images had calories, this book would bust the most generous diet. It is as rich and complex as a thick steamy gumbo and just as satisfying. Both story and narration are totally entertaining. This book is very well suited for audio. I'd consider listening to this one more than once.

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5 people found this helpful

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

Great, with a bonus of a little sense of humor

I love this series for the same reason the other reviewers have listed. The imagery, the unending depth of the characters, and the story lines that are complex without losing you. But one of my favorite parts of this story was the FBI agent who was charmingly bumbling. I laughed outloud (in public) a few times during this story, mostly when she was involved. In the end, it was a little odd, because she didn't end up playing a key role in the story--I hope he brings her back in future books.
I love Burke, I respect his views, I love his themes. This series gets better and better.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • G.
  • 06-02-09

modern day hard-boiled detective

I've only read two Dave Robicheaux novels, but if they are all this good I'll be amazed. The story is feels rooted in reality, if not implausible. A gritty detective story with all the necessary elements, sexual depravity, evil psychopaths, corrupted DAs, alcoholic sidekicks, femme fatales... At it's heart is Dave Robicheaux, a man of feeling and depth, with a willingness to kick ass of those who deserve it.

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4 people found this helpful