Dixie City Jam, by James Lee Burke

by Peter on April 25, 2011

Dixie City Jam, James Lee BurkeThere are all sorts of strange people down there in Louisiana, and all sorts of strange things take place there too, if James Lee Burke is to be believed. The mystery in this delightful novel is at least as strange any we have encountered previously in the excellent crime fiction novels about Dave Robicheaux. The former New Orleans policeman is now a detective with the New Iberia sheriff’s office, and has discovered a Nazi u-boat that sunk in Gulf waters in 1942! And lots of people want to get their hands on this little boat.

Among them is a particularly nasty fellow named Will Buchalter. He is mean and brutal. He is also a Neo-Nazi and a fellow who doesn’t take no for an answer – in fact; he is the kind of guy who stops at nothing if he really wants something. And what he really wants is the sub. And in his journey toward the sub he leaves dead bodies and mayhem in his wake.

Dixie City Jam has all the delicious standard elements of the Dave Robicheaux series and more. It has all the neat and delightful little subplots, the drug dealers, prostitutes and cranky criminals, the mobsters and crooked cops. It also has a mean neo-Nazi – perhaps the worst opponent Robicheaux has encountered so far – and a vigilante murderer killing drug dealers and cutting out their hearts as well.

And, as usual, James Lee Burke’s writing is exquisite! Colorful characters, interesting observations, devilishly clever dialogues and the outstanding, extremely fitting language. Few, if any, crime fiction writer can match James Lee Burke as far as writing is concerned. And when the book is exciting and full of suspense and surprises as well, it really gets the blood rushing. So good, it really can’t get much better. This one you really do not want to miss out on!

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The Glass Rainbow, by James Lee Burke

by Cindy on September 28, 2010

The latest installment in The Glass Rainbow, by James Lee BurkeJames Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series – The Glass Rainbow – is quite possibly the best in the series so far. The book has everything you expect and more: the brilliant prose, sometimes almost lyrical; an interesting, complex and layered plot; delicious description of people and places; and mind-boggling, humorous, intelligent discussions and conversations.

The action in The Glass Rainbow takes place in New Iberia, Louisiana, where Dave Robicheaux is a detective in the Sheriff Department. Currently the wrath of Dave’s friend Clete Purcel, PI, is trained on the unsolved murders of a number of young black women, assumed prostitutes by the authorities. The cases get little attention from the press or local law enforcement. When Clete assaults neighborhood pimp Herman Stanga, who claims he is doing charity work for the poor, Dave is drawn into the investigation.

Deputy Sheriff Dave Robicheaux – the recovering alcoholic, cop and crusader against the entrenched criminal mentality of society – predictably finds himself getting more and more involved in the murder case. It’s a case that is outside his jurisdiction, but that has never stopped Dave before, and it doesn’t now.

Robicheaux also finds himself dealing with adopted daughter Alafair’s attraction to the wealthy and prominent novelist Kermit Abelard of the degenerate Abelard clan. And connected to this man are evil people – ex-convicts such as the psychotic interloper Vidor Perkins, and Robert Weingart, a convict turned author, whom Kermit has championed. Robicheaux finds that he cannot protect Alafair against these people – she chooses to ignore his advice in a bid for independence.

As the plot progresses and the closets are opened, it becomes clear that once again Louisiana’s rich are knee-deep in skeletons. The story of the difficult investigation – one that increasingly results in dangers threatening Dave and his family – is superbly told and very, very suspenseful. The finale is especially gripping – a real masterpiece, with a high-energy climax. The Glass Rainbow is a wonderful new addition to this great series that should not be missed by any follower!

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Dave Robicheaux is In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, by James Lee Burkea fabulous and extraordinary detective. In this novel, he is even more out of the ordinary than in most of the wonderful novels in this series. Here he has dreams that are strange and compelling and very much related to the plot of the book.

The plot of In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead revolves around a possible serial murderer of young girls. However, as always with Robicheaux, it is more complicated than just that. The investigation, and in particular Robicheaux’ way of carrying out his investigation, quickly stirs up trouble and leads to confrontations with powerful enemies. Here it involves the mafia infiltrating his locale through a Hollywood movie-making event. It is quite possible, perhaps even likely, that the two are connected.

And as Robicheaux is trying to identify that victim, another young woman is brutally killed. In fact, butchered corpses of young women are starting to turn up in disturbing numbers on levees and in roadside ditches all over south Louisiana. Gradually Robicheaux, with the help of FBI agent Rosie Gomez, starts to connect the murders to Louisiana mob-kingpin Baby Feet Balboni, a key backer of a movie being shot in the county.

As usual, Dave Robicheaux fights not only his enemies but his own demons as well. He is strong but very flawed, he drinks too much, he is too short tempered, he is restless and he is melancholic. Here he has even more reason than usual to feel guilt; in 1957, Robicheaux witnessed but remained silent about the killing of a chained black man by two white men.

The mystery in this book is of course a very satisfying one. James Lee Burke’s plots always are. But in addition there is that lush, evocative, rich and at times lyrical and almost breathtaking quality to his descriptions of the South, the almost grotesque, disturbing and painful scenes and the dynamic, fast moving, forceful and intense action. Burke knows human nature and creates settings and characters that are believable – and basically they are all shades of gray with very little pure white or fully black in the portraits of them. This is a great book that will make you think, laugh out loud and perhaps even cry. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead is a book that penetrates deeply and is very satisfying. It is an interesting and exciting crime fiction book I recommend to fans and new readers alike.

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Bitterroot, by James Lee Burke

April 21, 2010

Bitterroot is a novel in James Lee Burke’s series about Texas attorney Billy Bob Holland. This time Holland is in Missoula, Montana. He has travel out there at the invitation of his friend Doc Voss. Voss is a Vietnam veteran who struggles with his war experiences and now seems to finally have made some kind [...]

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Crusader's Cross, by James Lee Burke

April 20, 2010

Dave Robicheaux is no longer working for the Iberia Sheriff’s Department. But Dave seems to have a hard time living a peaceful and quiet life. Problems and crimes, new and old, seem to have a way of creeping up on him. And now it’s happening again. A former schoolmate makes a deathbed confession to Robicheaux. [...]

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A Stained White Radiance, by James Lee Burke

April 7, 2010

This is another deep dive into the underbelly of New Orleans – into a world of madness, crime and corruption. Once again, James Lee Burke’s familiar hero, the world-weary police detective Dave Robicheaux, is dragged into a conflict with powerful opponents. This time it is the murder of a local cop that provides the spark [...]

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A Morning for Flamingos, by James Lee Burke

March 16, 2010

In a muddy, weed-filled coulee his partner is killed and our favorite Louisiana detective, Dave Robicheaux, begs an escaped convict for his life. Characteristically, he is far more troubled by his own lack of courage than by his gunshot wounds. This is the fourth in the series about Dave Robicheaux. In this rough tale where [...]

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