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The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Ro The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers. Neither Cormier nor his enigmatic actor friend Antoine Butterworth are saying much, but Robicheaux knows better. As always, Clete Purcel and Davie’s daughter, Alafair, have Robicheaux’s back. Clete witnesses the escape of Texas inmate, Hugo Tillinger, who may hold the key to Robicheaux’s case. As they wade further into the investigation, they end up in the crosshairs of the mob, the deranged Chester Wimple, and the dark ghosts Robicheaux has been running from for years. Ultimately, it’s up to Robicheaux to stop them all, but he’ll have to summon a light he’s never seen or felt to save himself, and those he loves.


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The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Ro The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers. Neither Cormier nor his enigmatic actor friend Antoine Butterworth are saying much, but Robicheaux knows better. As always, Clete Purcel and Davie’s daughter, Alafair, have Robicheaux’s back. Clete witnesses the escape of Texas inmate, Hugo Tillinger, who may hold the key to Robicheaux’s case. As they wade further into the investigation, they end up in the crosshairs of the mob, the deranged Chester Wimple, and the dark ghosts Robicheaux has been running from for years. Ultimately, it’s up to Robicheaux to stop them all, but he’ll have to summon a light he’s never seen or felt to save himself, and those he loves.

30 review for Children of the Dust: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Always a joy to read the latest by the incomparable literary crime fiction writer, James Lee Burke, painting a vivid and vibrant contemporary picture of the US, providing a political and social commentary on the cruelty, woes and horror inflicted on the land and its people by its political classes, devoid of any principles. This may be the 22nd in the series, but he has not lost his lyricism and sureness of touch in penning this twisted and complex tale of injustice, ritual murders, corruption, Always a joy to read the latest by the incomparable literary crime fiction writer, James Lee Burke, painting a vivid and vibrant contemporary picture of the US, providing a political and social commentary on the cruelty, woes and horror inflicted on the land and its people by its political classes, devoid of any principles. This may be the 22nd in the series, but he has not lost his lyricism and sureness of touch in penning this twisted and complex tale of injustice, ritual murders, corruption, Hollywood film industry, the mafia, an abused ice cream loving hitman, and a Texas prison escapee. It is set in the lush, vibrant backwoods and swamps of a Louisana infested and poisoned by its legacy of slavery, brutality, environmental and cultural degradation, corporate and individual greed writ large on a landscape that once resembled God's own paradise on earth. Dave Robicheaux discovers the crucified body of a young woman near Cyrpemort Point Estate. The Hollywood crowd have come to the state with Louisiana's own home boy done good, director Desmond Cormier, filming his latest movie here, with his companion with an unsavoury reputation, Antoine Butterworth and producer/writer, Lou Wexler, working closely with Alafair, Dave's daughter. As unspeakable brutal murders pile up, Robicheaux and his larger than life, loyal friend Clete Purcel are short on leads and wonder about the murderous connections with Hollywood as Cormier's movie with its opaque financial backing from the likes of Saudi Arabia and the Mob. On the loose is death row Texan prisoner, Hugo Tillinger, and the oddly likeable hitman, Chester 'Smiley' Wimple makes his presence felt, as indeed does the mob. The Iberia Sheriff Department's newest recruit, Bailey Robbins, becomes the source of love, obsession, and heartache for a troubled Robicheaux. As dark dangers threaten those closest to him, trusting no-one but Clete, Robicheaux gets closer to the killer and his own mortality. Burke's characterisation is as brilliant as ever, with his psychological portrait of Robicheaux's interior life of dreams, flashbacks to the Vietnam war, hallucinations, the struggle to stay sober, the loss of his wives, the dead, and his philosophical ruminations on life, love, ageing and death. Louisiana is rightly the home of the blues, as we can see on Clete's reflections on the song, 'The House of the Rising Sun', a haunting depiction of bordello life, spiritual despair, and the exploitation of human beings, the anonymous fate that is the destiny of all those used for the convenience of others, a central theme and motif of the novel. This is a unforgettable series, and this is a marvellous addition. A superb read that I have no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I speak my mind because it hurts too much to bite my tongue. Much like ol' Detective Dave Robicheaux and his die-hard friend, P.I. Clete Purcel, who have always led their lives in that manner in New Iberia. They've been joined at the hip since they were beat cops in New Orleans. The panoramic views just get swampier like the bottom-feeders who roll in with satchels filled with crime and mayhem. Murder pops up on the daily menu. Some talented authors bring the Thanksgiving feast between the pages. I speak my mind because it hurts too much to bite my tongue. Much like ol' Detective Dave Robicheaux and his die-hard friend, P.I. Clete Purcel, who have always led their lives in that manner in New Iberia. They've been joined at the hip since they were beat cops in New Orleans. The panoramic views just get swampier like the bottom-feeders who roll in with satchels filled with crime and mayhem. Murder pops up on the daily menu. Some talented authors bring the Thanksgiving feast between the pages. But, hear me now, James Lee Burke brings the feast with an abundance of all the trimmings: Savory, spicy, and especially tangy. Each phrase wraps around like tendrils focused on finding that featherbed in your mind. The descriptors are vibrant and the dialogue slams down a clenched fist on a hard surface. Such good, good stuff. Burke creates a bit of heaviness in the Robicheaux scenario this time. We feel Dave's angst as the years and the mind spiders are catching up with him. Although he still hits the ground running, this long term good vs evil has taken its toll. But there seems to be an everlasting flame in both Dave and Clete that keeps their finger on the pulse of the underbelly in Bayou Teche. So many years behind the wheel allows you to sniff out the scent of the deadly from afar. Dave visits a former New Iberia down-in-the-mouth kid who made it big in Hollywood as an award winning director and film maker. Desmond Cormier has brought along a sleezy actor and friend in the likes of Antoine Butterworth. They have set up filming not far from the spacious home of Desmond. While looking through a telescope on Desmond's patio, Dave spots something floating in the bayou. It turns out to be a dead woman strapped to a wooden cross with a Maltese cross around her ankle. Needless to say, the stakes are gonna be high in this one. The New Iberia Blues is a deliciously tangled web with even Dave's impressive daughter, Alafair, in the mix. She's a lawyer turned screenplay writer and has been hired by Desmond Cormier for his latest film. This could be a big break for her. Dave's not having the same kind of thoughts about now. Tie in an escaped convict, a new partner, tarot cards, the Mob, a very short pale psychopath, and plenty of gris-gris floating with bad fortune on the bayou......and you've got a stellar offering from one of the best fiction writers in the business......James Lee Burke. Be still my heart.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    It has little too much navel-gazing for me. There's a tarot obsessed serial killer and Smiley is back. Creepy, tormented, little guy, but somehow likable. I want him to know that I'm his friend. It has little too much navel-gazing for me. There's a tarot obsessed serial killer and Smiley is back. Creepy, tormented, little guy, but somehow likable. I want him to know that I'm his friend.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    SMILEY IS BACK! As those of us who have followed the Robicheaux novels know, whenever Smiley appears, bloodshed occurs. One of the creepiest, original, multifaceted characters in fiction, it is so much better if he considers you his friend. Or if you're a child, he loves children and ice cream. For that matter Dave himself is a complicated character. A man who as s police officer has seen the worst of humanity, but who is also loyal, protective and at times noble. He carries his past around like SMILEY IS BACK! As those of us who have followed the Robicheaux novels know, whenever Smiley appears, bloodshed occurs. One of the creepiest, original, multifaceted characters in fiction, it is so much better if he considers you his friend. Or if you're a child, he loves children and ice cream. For that matter Dave himself is a complicated character. A man who as s police officer has seen the worst of humanity, but who is also loyal, protective and at times noble. He carries his past around like a ball and chain, in fact at times he actually can see, or believes he can see people from the past. One never reads these novels expecting a straight line that goes from A to B. No, these novels like Dave's thoughts take many twists, turns and side roads as the reader is a sounding board for many of his ruminations. "I wondered if human nature and our susceptibility to evil would ever change, or if we would continue in our war against the earth until we disolved all our landmass and our structures and ourselves and returned the planet to the watery blue orb it once was." Now, I haven't told you much about this particular storys plot, and I don't intend to reveal much. There are bad people, dead bodies, tarot cards, a man convicted wrongly of arson, prostitutes, bad cops on the take, and a few mafia guys thrown in. Yet,it all pulls together, in one way or another. In fact I can't or won't ever rate a novel this author writes anything less than four stars, I am too in awe of his talent. So this is without apology a very biased review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    A solid 4 stars. I first started reading James Lee Burke's books more than 20 years ago. My late father-in-law recommended his books to me, saying " He writes the most vivid metaphors that I have ever read." According to the author biography, he is now 82 years old. He still has the gift of writing vivid metaphors that let the reader taste, smell and feel the swamps, bayous and everything else in Louisiana. This book has his main character, Detective Dave Robicheaux trying to solve a series of rit A solid 4 stars. I first started reading James Lee Burke's books more than 20 years ago. My late father-in-law recommended his books to me, saying " He writes the most vivid metaphors that I have ever read." According to the author biography, he is now 82 years old. He still has the gift of writing vivid metaphors that let the reader taste, smell and feel the swamps, bayous and everything else in Louisiana. This book has his main character, Detective Dave Robicheaux trying to solve a series of ritualistic murders. Clete Purcell, his friend and former police partner, is along for the ride. Some quotes: "Evil has an odor. It's a presence that consumes its host. We deny it because we don't have an acceptable explanation for it. It smells like decay inside living tissue." "Unless you are familiar with the nature of Southern white trash, you will not understand the following: They are a genetically produced breed whose commonality is a state of mind and not related to the social class to which they belong. Economics has nothing to do with their origins or their behavior. You cannot change them. They glory in violence and cruelty and brag on their ignorance, and would have no problem manning the ovens at Auschwitz."I "We had slipped into Indian summer without being aware of it. The sky was as hard and blue as porcelain, the oak leaves red and gold and clicking like crickets when they rolled across the lawn in the wind." Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this eARC through NetGalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    You know what you’re going to get when you pick up a JLB novel: the story will be gutsy and the language ornate; the plot will be convoluted and the thread of the piece sometimes hard to follow. But one thing you can be sure of is that if you have any appreciation at all of his gift then day you pick up his next book will be a good day – a very good day. I’ve been following the adventures of his Louisiana based cop Dave Robicheaux for years and I’ve grown to love him, with all his foibles, and hi You know what you’re going to get when you pick up a JLB novel: the story will be gutsy and the language ornate; the plot will be convoluted and the thread of the piece sometimes hard to follow. But one thing you can be sure of is that if you have any appreciation at all of his gift then day you pick up his next book will be a good day – a very good day. I’ve been following the adventures of his Louisiana based cop Dave Robicheaux for years and I’ve grown to love him, with all his foibles, and his side-kick Clete Purcell too. To me they’re the best pairing in crime fiction. Hell, they’re the best pairing in any brand of fiction. Dave is getting on in years now, but he still wears his detective’s badge with pride. He’s not wedded to rules in the same way some cops are but his heart is in the right place and his determination to track down the bad guys is unrivalled. Clete – his ex-partner from his NOPD days – doesn’t work to any rules at all, and has been described by the author as the nemesis of authority figures and those who sought power over others…a one-man demolition derby. In this episode a young woman is found impaled on a cross, floating in the sea off Cypremort Point. The location is close to the sometime home of an old friend of Dave’s. Desmond Cormier is a local boy made good, a movie maker who made his fortune in Hollywood. He's returned to Southern Louisiana to make a film and his whole entourage is in town. Is Desmond or a man who is staying with him in any way linked to this strange, ritualistic death? Dave’s daughter, Alafair, has gotten wrapped up in the film making endeavour and is spending time with one of the producers, much to Dave’s chagrin. Throw in an escaped prisoner running loose and the return of one of JLB’s legendary bad men, Smiley Wimple, and you have all the ingredients for a pretty wild romp. And as the body count mounts Dave, with Clete in tow, desperately tries to make sense of it all and track down the killer(s). This book is replete with dreamlike encounters with characters from Dave’s past and throughout we get the the clear message that he is beginning to see the coming of the end of days as he ruminates and broods over the ruination of the land he loves, the ostentatious displays of wealth he sees around him and the general greed of today. Above all it’s his perception of the loss of Acadiana – the physical and cultural changes to the French Louisiana region his mother and father inhabited and which he was born into - that distresses him most. As always with this writer, the prose is top drawer and the characterisation is brilliantly done. In my view he writes the best literary crime fiction out there; I enjoy his books more than any other author I can name. Long may he keep writing and turning out novels of this quality. My sincere thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars In this 22nd book in the 'Dave Robicheaux' series, the detective is after a brutal serial killer. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a plus. ***** When people report hearing screams on the bayou near Cypremort Point in New Iberia, Louisiana, Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux and Deputy Sean McClain drive over to investigate. One of the homes in the area belongs to award-winning Hollywood director Desmond Cormier - who's in town to film a movie - 3.5 stars In this 22nd book in the 'Dave Robicheaux' series, the detective is after a brutal serial killer. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a plus. ***** When people report hearing screams on the bayou near Cypremort Point in New Iberia, Louisiana, Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux and Deputy Sean McClain drive over to investigate. One of the homes in the area belongs to award-winning Hollywood director Desmond Cormier - who's in town to film a movie - and the detectives go there first.....to see if he heard anything. Dave knew Desmond a quarter century ago, when the director was a poor New Orleans schoolboy with big dreams - and the filmmaker invites the detectives into his home. On Desmond's patio they meet Antoine Butterworth, an arrogant Hollywood tagalong who's exercising in the near nude. Dave takes an instant dislike to Antoine, who he considers a sociopath and pervert, and Dave's opinion of Desmond drops a few notches as well. These feelings get even stronger when Dave spots a body in the bayou, and Desmond and Antoine claim to see nothing. The corpse, secured to a large wooden cross, turns out to be Lucinda Arceneaux - a preacher's daughter who helps get wrongly convicted men out of prison. Lucinda's death is followed by a series of vicious murders, each one connected to an abstruse symbol from the tarot. The main suspect for the crimes is Hugo Tillinger, a convicted killer who broke out of a Texas prison. Hugo had been in contact with Lucinda.....and was recently seen in New Iberia by Dave's friend Clete Purcel. Hugo thinks the 'movie people' will prove his innocence and make a documentary film about him. Hugo isn't the only suspect however. Other possible killers considered by Dave and his boss Sheriff Helen Soileau are: a weird little assassin named Chester ("Smiley") Wimple - who looks like a huge maggot with red lips; the financiers of Desmond's movie - New Jersey mafiosos, Miami drug dealers, and Middle-Eastern oil sheiks; and people on the film crew. While Dave is investigating the killings he has a personal crisis brought on by the ugliness of the crimes; his life as a lonely widower; horrible memories of the Viet Nam War; and the despoliation of southern Louisiana - which has been ruined by greedy developers and corrupt politicians. Dave is also at odds with his daughter Alafair, a law school graduate who writes novels and screenplays. Alafair is working on Desmond's movie and hanging out with Lou Wexler - a handsome, well-built producer much older than herself. Dave thinks all Hollywood people are bottom feeders and has an especially bad feeling about Wexler, who drives a red Lamborghini and flies in private planes. Moreover, Dave disapproves of the age difference between Alafair and the producer. All this turmoil ALMOST drives Dave - a recovering alcoholic - back to the bottle. Dave has a few terrible weeks during which he obsesses constantly; hangs out at a blues bar frequented by hookers; experiences dry drunks, and does things he shouldn't. Dave's attitude about Alafair and Wexler is ironic since Dave himself is infatuated with his new partner Bailey Ribbons - a pretty woman at least 30 years his junior. Dave tries to play it cool, but Bailey insists 'age isn't important' and practically throws herself at him. This is what I call 'male fantasy writing' and I wish James Lee Burke had left it out. 😒 Dave and his fellow cops continue to pursue the perp, sometimes with the help of Clete Purcel - who's quick with his fists and his guns. Of course the killer is eventually identified and the motive revealed, but it doesn't ring true to me, and the connection with the tarot is especially obscure. The book has a variety of memorable characters, including: a poor black prostitute whose pimp is a dirty cop; a black blues singer with a small child; corrupt deputies in the Sheriff's Department (Why oh why does Helen keep hiring these people? 🤕); a Miami hitman; Dave's pets Mon Tee Coon (a raccoon) and Snuggs (a cat); and more. As always in this series, the author's atmospheric depiction of southern Louisiana - the flora, fauna, swamps, tides, sunrises, sunsets, clouds, rain, food, and so on - is superb.....and I felt like I could see and smell the region. (I actually went to school there; shout out to Cajun restaurants. 😊💕) The plot of the book is engaging, but is almost overshadowed by Dave's continuous introspection and poor behavior. I hope Dave gets over himself in future books. Still, James Lee Burke is one of America's best mystery writers (IMO) and his novels are always worth reading. Thanks to Netgalley, the author (James Lee Burke) and the publisher (Simon and Schuster) for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. "For good or bad, my preoccupation with death and the past had defined much of my life, and a long time ago I had made my separate peace with the world and abandoned any claim on reason or normalcy or the golden mean. Waylon Jennings said it many years ago: I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane." World-weary New Iberia Police Detective Dave Robicheaux returns in James Lee Burke's 22nd book in this series, The New Iberia Blues . Dave is visiting local boy-turned-fi 4.5 stars. "For good or bad, my preoccupation with death and the past had defined much of my life, and a long time ago I had made my separate peace with the world and abandoned any claim on reason or normalcy or the golden mean. Waylon Jennings said it many years ago: I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane." World-weary New Iberia Police Detective Dave Robicheaux returns in James Lee Burke's 22nd book in this series, The New Iberia Blues . Dave is visiting local boy-turned-film-wunderkind Desmond Cormier at his waterfront estate, looking at the water through binoculars, when Dave thinks he sees a body tied to a giant cross, floating on the waves. As Dave is more than prone to seeing things that don't exist, like the ghosts of soldiers he fought with and those he killed in Vietnam, he asks Cormier and his odd friend, Antoine Butterworth, what they see. Both claim to see nothing, yet Dave was right: there was a woman floating on the waves, and she has been crucified to a wooden cross. The woman had apparently worked for The Innocence Project, but was recently more interested in a career in film. Cormier and Butterworth both claim never to have seen her before, but how did she wind up in the water near his house? Meanwhile, Clete Purcel, Dave's loyal yet troubled best friend and former partner, witnessed an escaped death row inmate from Texas running for shelter, and no one is quite sure whether he is guilty of the horrible crimes of which he is accused, or if he happens to be the victim of his overzealous nature. The crucified woman's murder is just the tip of the iceberg in a series of increasingly ritualistic, grotesque murders which rock Dave and his colleagues. They don't know whether these crimes are the act of a deviant killer who believes in the occult, or if they're simply being staged to appear that way. And as Dave's suspicion of Cormier and Butterworth and their movie-making colleagues grows, he and his colleagues also run afoul of the mob, corrupt cops within their own parish, and a deranged man with a strange honor system. It's more than enough to make Dave question everything he believes in, including his hard-fought sobriety, and puts at risk everyone and everything he loves. James Lee Burke is one of the finest living writers today. I have been reading his books for 30 years now, and not only is his storytelling top-notch, but few match his talent for imagery and setting as well. When I first started reading his books, he described New Orleans so vividly that when I made my first trip there, I was amazed at how spot-on what I pictured in my mind was to the reality I saw. Here's just an example of his poetic imagery: "The sunrise was striped with pink and purple clouds, the live oaks a deep green after the rain, the bayou high above the banks, the lily pads and elephant ears rolling with the current. It was a study in the mercurial nature of light and shadow and the way they form and re-create the external world second by second with no more guidance than a puff of wind." Burke's books are brooding and atmospheric, meditations on good and evil (and man's penchant for both), and the demons that haunt us. They're also stories about fierce love, friendship, and loyalty, and how sometimes our need for self-preservation leads us down paths we'd be better off avoiding. The New Iberia Blues is trademark Burke—full of twists and turns, tremendously thought-provoking and dense with philosophical and psychological insight, and a sometimes troubling look at the horrible things people do to one another, sometimes for no reason at all. These books aren't as fast-paced as typical crime novels, but they're just so well-written I enjoy the time to marvel at Burke's language and the complexity of his flawed characters. Reading this series for as long as I have always feels like reuniting with old (yet troubled) friends, and I am so grateful to have discovered Burke all those years ago. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    3.5 stars IMHO opinion I think it is about time that Dave Robicheaux retires. I know from previous novels that he is a Vietnam veteran and based on what I have read it sounds like he served early in the conflict. In this story I learned that he saw the movie "My Darling Clementine" in 1946 and graduated from college in 1960. He must be about 80 years old now and is still an active duty detective? His boss has been calling him "Pops" for years. Dave is supposed to be a recovering alcoholic. I am n 3.5 stars IMHO opinion I think it is about time that Dave Robicheaux retires. I know from previous novels that he is a Vietnam veteran and based on what I have read it sounds like he served early in the conflict. In this story I learned that he saw the movie "My Darling Clementine" in 1946 and graduated from college in 1960. He must be about 80 years old now and is still an active duty detective? His boss has been calling him "Pops" for years. Dave is supposed to be a recovering alcoholic. I am not an expert but it is my understanding that in recovery you are supposed to avoid people, places, and things. Dave does not avoid any of these. How many times has he been shot now? He sees ghosts and even those closest to him worry about him. These gripes aside James Lee Burke is a very talented author. His prose is lush and vivid. The characters are fascinating. When you read a Dave Robicheaux novel you are transported to the bayous of Louisiana. You can hear the music and taste the foods. That is how good the writing is. In this outing there is of course Dave Robicheaux with all of his character flaws. He is joined by his best friend and former partner, Clete Purcel who has plenty of his own flaws. And Smiley is back. Readers of earlier novels may remember Smiley. A very creepy character. He loves children, ice cream, and Wonder Woman. Everyone else ... well you'd better hope you are his friend. And then there are the Hollywood characters in town to film a movie and bringing mayhem with them. Desmond Cormier is an acclaimed director in town to film a movie. He is also someone Dave knew from when he was a child in New Orleans filled with dreams. Now Dave and his partner, Deputy Sean McClain, are knocking on his door in response to reported screams on the bayou near Cypremort Point. Dave is talking with Desmond when he looks through a telescope on the deck and sees a woman nailed to a cross floating in the bayou. She has only been dead for a few hours but this is only the first in a series of seemingly ritualistic murders. As always Dave Robicheaux seems to be battling an idyllic past with the demonic present. The casinos and the mob, the corporations, and the Hollywood types. Each taking a piece and destroying Robicheaux's beloved Louisiana. But at the end we are left with hope that Dave, with his partner Clete and daughter Alafair, will always triumph. In the battle of good vs evil there is still hope.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    The New Iberia Blues, the twenty-second novel in the long-running, critically acclaimed Detective Robicheaux mystery series, is a compelling, immersive and gripping reading experience and fun, fast and fabulous. Having come across it on a number of "best crime novels of January" lists, I was exceptionally excited, and boy did it turn out to be a great choice for the opening week of 2019! Although the premise is one that has been recycled a million times over, Burke seems particularly adept at lu The New Iberia Blues, the twenty-second novel in the long-running, critically acclaimed Detective Robicheaux mystery series, is a compelling, immersive and gripping reading experience and fun, fast and fabulous. Having come across it on a number of "best crime novels of January" lists, I was exceptionally excited, and boy did it turn out to be a great choice for the opening week of 2019! Although the premise is one that has been recycled a million times over, Burke seems particularly adept at luring you in with intriguing characters, an action-packed plot and an expertly judged pace and keeping you in that vice until the last line has been devoured. One of the many outstanding features of this story, and the one that illustrates just how powerful and visual Burke's writing is, is the immaculate sense of time and place he portrays. I was transported to the places described, saw the things the characters saw and smelled exactly what they did. It was all so vivid and the details so captivating that I found it almost impossible to put the book down and rumbled through it in a single, memorable sitting. Given that this series first began in 1987 with The Neon Rain, you'll be pleased to know that each instalment works perfectly well on its own. Add to all of this a good dose of humour and you've got a book well worth investing some time in. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for an ARC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The Louisiana bayou in all its musty, shaded glory is almost another character in Burke’s Robicheaux series, a crime fiction series that is deeply character-driven, dark, gloomy, haunted. Dreams, fantasies, and twisted pasts merge with current cruel truths here. Everyone in this whether a midget gunman, Hollywood royalty, or a picture show detective has a checkered mysterious past. Everyone here is haunted by the ghosts of their past. And, Robicheaux is like a drowning man struggling to stay abo The Louisiana bayou in all its musty, shaded glory is almost another character in Burke’s Robicheaux series, a crime fiction series that is deeply character-driven, dark, gloomy, haunted. Dreams, fantasies, and twisted pasts merge with current cruel truths here. Everyone in this whether a midget gunman, Hollywood royalty, or a picture show detective has a checkered mysterious past. Everyone here is haunted by the ghosts of their past. And, Robicheaux is like a drowning man struggling to stay above the surface weighted down by the horrors of his past from his Vietnam days to the wives who passed on to the victims he can’t fix or find justice for. You don’t necessarily know if the violated corpses are the product of the freaks from Hollywoodland come to visit their sick hell on the wilderness or from vengeful ones escaped from prison or vowing to get even for all the troubles in their world or from someone else corrupted by their inner demons. The novel is not a fast paced shoot-em-up action Jackson tale but it’s more one of despair, distrust, and desolation. An entire world is brought to life in these pages and it’s a joy to read this tale. What a terrific addition to a series. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    I purchased this hardcover, it was not a freebie.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Dave Robicheaux has been a cop in Louisiana for years, since some time after his return from the jungles of Vietnam. Crete Purcel has shared much of his life’s journey from Vietnam to the present, some of it dealing with the dregs of humanity and those they injure. Both men have been deeply scarred but retain a belief in Good. As are many of Burke’s novels, The New Iberia Blues is a story of dualities: good and evil, light and dark, nobility and cupidity, natural beauty and deformed ugliness, kn Dave Robicheaux has been a cop in Louisiana for years, since some time after his return from the jungles of Vietnam. Crete Purcel has shared much of his life’s journey from Vietnam to the present, some of it dealing with the dregs of humanity and those they injure. Both men have been deeply scarred but retain a belief in Good. As are many of Burke’s novels, The New Iberia Blues is a story of dualities: good and evil, light and dark, nobility and cupidity, natural beauty and deformed ugliness, knowledge and ignorance. Characters often display these dualities within their own behavior. Robicheaux himself is the best example of a man fighting within himself, constantly at odds with his demons as he works to help others. Here his work is to solve horrific killings that appear related but with no clear motives. While the killings are brutal, Burke ties everything into the amazing place which is southern coastal Louisiana. His descriptions of the land and natural environment are often gorgeous, sometimes heartbreaking in their implications for the future. Louisiana itself seems a massive duality. Lush landscapes, polluted gulf, environmental degradation mirroring depredations of man. But the deep poverty has allowed predators in, i.e. casinos on the river. Dave Robicheaux is an older man in this novel, a man feeling his mortality as he tries to do the best he can for family, friends, fellow cops and the public that needs his services. Burke’s prose continues among the best in this genre, and probably most others. He is able to capture and express all of the nuances of the land, human behavior. As I have been writing this review, which I acknowledge is very general as you can find more plot details elsewhere, I realize that I should increase my rating from 4 to 5*. The overall effect is 5. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cathrine ☯️

    5 😃😃😃😃😃 I think I’ve only made it through book 8 in the Robicheaux series but I was desperate for an audio book and this was available. It did not feel right to jump so far ahead but it’s 2020 and apparently anything goes so I went for it. First time I’ve listened instead of read and let me tell you I fell in love with Will Patton's narration 😍. I’m still in love with Jimmy’s writing of course, so much so that it matters not what the story is about because it’s the journey getting there that is so 5 😃😃😃😃😃 I think I’ve only made it through book 8 in the Robicheaux series but I was desperate for an audio book and this was available. It did not feel right to jump so far ahead but it’s 2020 and apparently anything goes so I went for it. First time I’ve listened instead of read and let me tell you I fell in love with Will Patton's narration 😍. I’m still in love with Jimmy’s writing of course, so much so that it matters not what the story is about because it’s the journey getting there that is so satisfying. That said, it was a great one and Patten’s voices throughout brought it to life, especially that of Smiley. Yep, he’s back. One of the creepiest villains in literature whom you can’t help but like.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “[real evil] may be a disembodied presence floating from place to place, seeking to drop its tentacles into whatever host it can find.” I’ve read a few of the books featuring Dave Robicheaux and have liked each of them. There is a certain sameness to them, and you either like the author’s elegant, somewhat flowery, language or you don’t. I happen to like it a lot, however I think that some of his non-Robicheaux books are even better, like “Wayfaring Stranger”. In this book, which can be read as “[real evil] may be a disembodied presence floating from place to place, seeking to drop its tentacles into whatever host it can find.” I’ve read a few of the books featuring Dave Robicheaux and have liked each of them. There is a certain sameness to them, and you either like the author’s elegant, somewhat flowery, language or you don’t. I happen to like it a lot, however I think that some of his non-Robicheaux books are even better, like “Wayfaring Stranger”. In this book, which can be read as a standalone, Robicheaux and his private investigator friend Clete try to solve several murders involving the Aryan Brotherhood, prostitutes, tarot cards, money laundering, an escaped convict, more than one avenger and the movie business. He is working with a new and inexperienced partner, the beautiful Bailey Ribbons, who has a past that doesn’t scream “police officer”. There is also an ex-mercenary: “He reminded me of other mercenaries I had known. At heart they were secular Calvinists and believed their fellow man was born in a degraded state; consequently, they oversaw atrocities with equanimity and substituted pragmatism for compassion and slept the sleep of the dead.” And a dirty cop: “Unless you are familiar with the nature of Southern white trash, you will not understand the following: they are a genetically produced breed whose commonality is the state of mind and not related to the social class to which they belong. Economics has nothing to do with their origins or their behavior. You cannot change them. They glory in violence and cruelty and brag on their ignorance, and would have no problem manning the ovens at Auschwitz.” One of my favorite characters was Smiley, a diminutive killer who looks like “an albino caterpillar that glows in the dark” and follows his own code of conduct guided by Wonder Woman. I thought this book was a little too long, but I will certainly read more of the series. Will Patton’s narration of the audio book is perfection as always. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Upfront I have to admit, I am biased when it comes to the writing of James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux series. Burke would have to really turn out a complete dud before I would rate his novels poorly. With that, his newest Robicheaux novel, The New Iberia Blues, does not disappoint. As always, Burke's writing is like looking at paintings where an artist is skilled at bringing forth the most vibrant aspects of all colors while creating a perfectly assembled painting. In The New Iberia Blues, Upfront I have to admit, I am biased when it comes to the writing of James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux series. Burke would have to really turn out a complete dud before I would rate his novels poorly. With that, his newest Robicheaux novel, The New Iberia Blues, does not disappoint. As always, Burke's writing is like looking at paintings where an artist is skilled at bringing forth the most vibrant aspects of all colors while creating a perfectly assembled painting. In The New Iberia Blues, Davie Robicheaux and a new deputy are investigating reports of a screaming woman in the bayou and while doing so, interview Louisiana-born, film director Desmond Cormier at his waterside estate. Cormier has returned home home to fashion his film masterpiece, bringing along his unctuous companion Antoine Butterworth. While speaking to the two, Robicheaux eyes a woman's body crucified to a wooden cross floating in the water. The story unfolds from this point into a violent mystery involving other murders that melds together the past, evil and ruminations on good, evil and the mortality of humans, particularly Dave Robicheaux. Burke brings back all the familiar characters, as well as introducing new ones, including a love interest for the dour Robicheaux. Burke has also brought back Chester "Smiley" Wimple, the interesting, sociopathic, sometimes-for-hire-hitman-killer introduced in the previous Robicheaux novel. How all these characters and plot strings pull together is for the reader to discover along the way. While it is strongly suggested new readers to the Robicheaux series start with the first novel, one thing Burke does well is to offer concise re-introductions of characters and past events that allow the reader to stay current with his new writings.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    New Iberia Blues is the twenty-second addition to the Dave Robicheaux series, which I will love till the day I die. The Denver Post has called Burke “America’s best novelist,” and the Mystery Writers of America made him a Grand Master. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the review copy. This book will be for sale January 8, 2019. The qualities that have made Burke’s writing famous include his lyrical prose, particularly with regard to setting, and a host of memorable characte New Iberia Blues is the twenty-second addition to the Dave Robicheaux series, which I will love till the day I die. The Denver Post has called Burke “America’s best novelist,” and the Mystery Writers of America made him a Grand Master. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the review copy. This book will be for sale January 8, 2019. The qualities that have made Burke’s writing famous include his lyrical prose, particularly with regard to setting, and a host of memorable characters, often with quirky names. His bad guys are wealthy and often come from Hollywood to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, where the series is set, but he often also features a character or two that works for the wrong side, but is complicated and has redeeming qualities. All of these things hold true for this novel, which is one of Burke’s best. Dave Robicheaux is a cop in New Iberia, Louisiana, a senior citizen, thrice widowed and lonesome when our novel begins. Then an old acquaintance comes home after making it big: “Desmond Courmier’s success story was an improbable one, even among the many self-congratulatory rags-to-riches tales we tell ourselves in the ongoing saga of our green republic, one that is forever changing yet forever the same, a saga that also includes the graves of Shiloh and cinders from aboriginal villages. That is not meant to be a cynical statement. Desmond’s story was a piece of Americana, assuring us that wealth and a magical kingdom are available to the least of us, provided we do not awaken our own penchant for breaking our heroes on a medieval wheel and revising them later, safely downwind from history. “Desmond was not only born to privation, in the sleeper of a semi in which his mother tied off the umbilical cord and said goodbye forever; he was nurtured by his impoverished grandparents on the Chitimacha Indian Reservation in the back room of a general store that was hardly more than an airless shack. It stood on a dirt road amid treeless farmland where shade and a cold soda pop on the store gallery were considered luxuries, before the casino operators from Jersey arrived and, with the help of the state of Louisiana, convinced large numbers of people that vice is a virtue.” Desmond returns to the bayou in glory after hitting it big in the motion picture industry; he brings with him an unsavory character named Antoine Butterworth. While Dave is welcoming Desmond home, a terrible surprise looms into view: a boat on which a dead woman hangs on a wooden cross. It is plainly visible from Courmier’s deck, and yet he and Butterworth both deny seeing it. And with that, the story commences. A complicating factor is that screenwriter Alafair, Dave’s daughter, has begun dating Lou Wexler, a man involved in the film Desmond is making. She is an adult woman, and her father has absolutely no authority in any of her affairs, and yet he feels as if he should. He doesn’t like Wexler, and this creates friction between himself and his daughter. But at the same time, Dave has plenty of issues of his own. The bottle still calls to him, and sometimes he experiences a ‘dry drunk,’ in which he consumes no alcohol but exhibits many of the same poor impulses as if he had done so. Alafair tells him in exasperation, “Dave, you use a nail gun on the people who love you most.” One aspect of this book bothers me, and I briefly considered removing a star from the rating but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Nevertheless, the female characters in this novel, and in this entire series, need to be discussed. The very moment a young, nubile newcomer joins the force and is made Dave’s cop partner, I made a note. “Oh Christ, here we go. There’s no way she can exist and not be a romantic partner. Will she walk on the tops of his feet like his first three wives did? [yes.] Will his ears pop when they have sex? [yes.] And will he marry her and make her wife #4?” (Not telling.) Burke has difficulty creating a female character who is not Dave’s relative and whose sexuality is not prominent or at least discussed. (His boss, Helen, is allowed to be an exception, but in every book we are told that she is a lesbian, as if business couldn’t proceed without this news.) Can we have an important female character whose sex life isn’t an issue, and can we see her developed in other respects? Of course, Burke is hardly alone in this regard, but the rest of what he writes is so outstanding that this one obvious flaw stands out like a ketchup stain on the Mona Lisa. Having said that, I can get back to the novel’s more congenial aspects, one of which is Dave’s closest friend, Clete Purcel. Clete can’t be a cop anymore because he doesn’t honor boundaries; however, this quality, combined with his loyalty to Dave, is what makes him so engaging and entertaining. Moreover, it is he who is most effective at pulling Dave away from the bars and the bottle. I cannot think of any literary sidekick that has been better developed across any series ever than Clete. I have a mental movie that runs when I read this series, and in my mind, Dave looks like a younger version of the author, and Clete—I only just realized the other day—shows up in my head as a sunburned Rodney Dangerfield. One other regard in which Burke consistently shines is his ability to create tragicomic side characters, and Smiley Wimple is unforgettable. Smiley is not all there, until he is. In fact, he may surface from beneath your bed. Smiley works as an assassin, but he also has standards. He needs to believe he is taking out a bad guy, or he won’t take the job. Smiley is fond of children, and he likes ice cream. Who knows? He might want to be your friend. And while I am on the subject—there’s some graphic material here, as is true for all of the books in this series; don’t count on this as meal time or bedtime reading. In fact, you may want a few extra lights turned on when you pick this one up. Lastly, this book can be read as a stand-alone. I entered the series halfway in when I was given a free paperback copy of The Tin Roof Blowdown; you can enter the series anywhere you prefer. However, if you love a complex, literary mystery and can tolerate a fair amount of violence, you will probably like it well enough to go find the rest and read them too. Masterfully written, and highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brad Lyerla

    I have been a fan of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux crime novels for a long time. But in recent years, my enthusiasm for Robicheaux has been trending toward lukewarm. In THE NEW IBERIA BLUES, I think I discovered why. Burke’s talent for narrative description remains undiminished. He has an eye for detail and paints vivid word pictures of Bayou Teche and the colorful characters, rich and poor, who inhabit the lush, swampy environs of the delta country south of New Orleans. That is where Robiche I have been a fan of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux crime novels for a long time. But in recent years, my enthusiasm for Robicheaux has been trending toward lukewarm. In THE NEW IBERIA BLUES, I think I discovered why. Burke’s talent for narrative description remains undiminished. He has an eye for detail and paints vivid word pictures of Bayou Teche and the colorful characters, rich and poor, who inhabit the lush, swampy environs of the delta country south of New Orleans. That is where Robicheaux serves as an aging detective in the New Iberia sheriff’s office. By the way, how old is Robicheaux now? My reckoning has him significantly north of 70 years old, which does not fit with his penchant for late nights and irresponsible violence. A man of his age knows better, but Robicheaux improbably makes no effort to act his age. Burke also has a talent for expounding the layered and confused inner life of Robicheaux, who suffers many demons. Too many, in fact. At times, Robicheaux disconnects so completely with probability that we lose much of the sympathy we once may have felt for him. Here is an example of Robicheaux’s over-wrought inner dialogue: “I was not simply tired of the world’s iniquity. I was tired of greed in particular and the ostentatious display of wealth that characterizes our times, and the justifications for despoiling the earth and injuring our fellow man. The great gift of age is the realization that each morning is a blessing, as votive in nature as a communion wafer raised to the sky. I made a habit of letting the world go on a daily basis, but unfortunately, it didn’t want to let go of me. The engines of commerce and acquisition operate seven days a week, around the clock granting no mercy and allowing no tender moment for those who grind away their lives in sweaty service to them. I’m talking about the avarice at the heart of most human suffering. Yes, revenge is a player, and so are all the sexual manifestations that warp our vision, but none holds a candle to cupidity and the defenses we manufacture to protect it.” A little of that goes a long way. But NEW IBERIA features pages and pages of asides like this. Maybe Burke needs to find himself a new editor to push back on such prose? A reader could wonder if Burke’s enormous success has opened the door to self-indulgence. Worse, it becomes repetitive. Money invites greed. And greed corrupts. I could hum that tune by heart before I started this book. I certainly did not need for Burke to repeat it every 40 pages. NEW IBERIA also suffers from other problems. First, Robicheaux’s romance is plainly an obligation imposed by the formula Burke has created for his Robicheaux books. We see it coming a mile away and it is a distraction. Second, there is a sinister little hitman, whose physical appearance mimics the Pillsbury doughboy. His weird presence in this story makes less sense than when Hanna-Barbera added the Great Gazoo to the cast of the Flintstones. Third, Burke repeatedly sews false leads into his plot to disguise who is the real serial killer and preserve the mystery for a few more chapters. That sort of thing is not unusual in a novel of this sort, but here iit happens too often. (Wait. Didn’t we suspect the rookie police officer a few chapters ago and then moved on? Oh no. We now suspect Robicheaux’s beautiful partner again, but didn’t we eliminate her as a suspect twice before . . . .) You get the idea. But those complaints are just background. I started by mentioning a discovery. That is my real objection to NEW IBERIA. Something about NEW IBERIA caused me to regard Robicheaux and his running buddy, Clete Purcell, in a new and different light. No longer do I share Burke’s romanticized vision of two rebels, loyal only to one another and their shared code. Comrades in arms forever. Knights errant, as it were, fighting the good fight to rid the world of evil and to protect the simple and poor from the scheming rich and powerful. Instead, this book caused me to see Dave and Clete for who they really are. Two angry vigilantes who have no regard for the law, safety or community of others, whose lives they routinely trample. Are they symbols of white male aggrievement? It’s never their fault that they leave dead bodies and disrupted lives in their wake wherever they go. The bad guys were asking for it. And someone had to even the score. The remorse that they agonize over is phony. Whatever they have done is to be forgiven because their motives are pure and redemptive. Their cause is just. It is the world that has fallen and must be restored. Not Dave and Clete. Burke works hard to disguise this. Robicheaux has adopted a daughter from South America. He is a good father. He loves his cat and pet raccoon. His boss is a woman who he respects. He remains sober in a way that we can all admire. Underneath a rough Cajun exterior, Robicheaux bears unmistakable earmarks of a liberal thinker. He even knows obscure facts from classical religious history, like a genuine intellectual. Purcell, of course, lacks Robicheaux’s depth. He is a drunken bully and murderer. But the bad he perpetrates is done in his role as protector of Robicheaux and his family. That makes it all better than OK. Not simply forgiven, it is admirable. Good old Dave and Clete. They are not misfits. They are heroes. Somehow, halfway through NEW IBERIA, I stopped buying into what Burke is selling. Robicheaux cannot live the life of wise tolerance that Burke hints at while at the same time ruthlessly dispensing violent justice as he sees fit, according to his own lights. That person cannot exist and would not deserve our respect if he did exist. This new insight jarred me. It changed everything.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. Some way or another, I've avoided reading any books in this series until now. It's a literary mystery. You can tell because the protagonist was an English major. A local boy done good in Hollywood comes back to the bayou for his passion project, a movie that will probably lose money. Of course, a body is discovered nearby, and the director and his hanger-on act suspiciously. Robicheaux starts investigating, an 80 year old tough guy. He has a new partner, wit I won this book in a goodreads drawing. Some way or another, I've avoided reading any books in this series until now. It's a literary mystery. You can tell because the protagonist was an English major. A local boy done good in Hollywood comes back to the bayou for his passion project, a movie that will probably lose money. Of course, a body is discovered nearby, and the director and his hanger-on act suspiciously. Robicheaux starts investigating, an 80 year old tough guy. He has a new partner, with whom he kind of sort wants to start an affair. His old partner is also investigating. We also get some of the de-rigeur whining about Trump. All in all, it's okay, but I'm not sure I'm going to read any more of the series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke shines with beautiful prose. This is a tale about a search for a possible serial killer in the bayous of Louisiana. Dave Robicheaux is the detective leading the investigation of people from the backwoods, Hollywood types, the mafia etc. This novel did not do it for me. I have quit after 200 pages, which is something I have a lot of trouble doing. The author has written many books about Detective Dave Robicheaux and this was only my second. I found that the The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke shines with beautiful prose. This is a tale about a search for a possible serial killer in the bayous of Louisiana. Dave Robicheaux is the detective leading the investigation of people from the backwoods, Hollywood types, the mafia etc. This novel did not do it for me. I have quit after 200 pages, which is something I have a lot of trouble doing. The author has written many books about Detective Dave Robicheaux and this was only my second. I found that there were too many characters, which slowed down the action considerably. This is only my opinion. James Lee Burke is a much praised and popular author. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    Burke is a fine writer but in this one i have lost him He is amazing writer when he describe nature and people but somehow it seems that he is a bit tired same as his main character Dave an old, very moral but this time a bit grumpy cop. it is all well but somehow misses life and i think we - the following readers of his last thrillers know a bit too much about his demons, his ability to see dead from the past, his Vietnam war time and even his raccoons. so maybe as already some mentioned maybe Burke is a fine writer but in this one i have lost him He is amazing writer when he describe nature and people but somehow it seems that he is a bit tired same as his main character Dave an old, very moral but this time a bit grumpy cop. it is all well but somehow misses life and i think we - the following readers of his last thrillers know a bit too much about his demons, his ability to see dead from the past, his Vietnam war time and even his raccoons. so maybe as already some mentioned maybe time for this cop to retire. i have been an avid of Mr. Burke, i love the atmosphere he created but it seems this is the last one. so sorry.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    What I loved with The New Iberia Blues (besides the great characters and the setting of New Orleans) is the fact that I easily felt right at home, despite never having read a previous book in the series. And, this is the 22nd book in the series. So, I'm VERY late for the party. Now, I have wanted for a long time to read any of James Lee Burke's books and I'm absolutely thrilled to have finally gotten to it and also that I found the books so bloody good. I do recognize the fact that I, as a new r What I loved with The New Iberia Blues (besides the great characters and the setting of New Orleans) is the fact that I easily felt right at home, despite never having read a previous book in the series. And, this is the 22nd book in the series. So, I'm VERY late for the party. Now, I have wanted for a long time to read any of James Lee Burke's books and I'm absolutely thrilled to have finally gotten to it and also that I found the books so bloody good. I do recognize the fact that I, as a new reader, have missed a lot of previous events. Dave Robicheaux has lived a very eventful life. In some way, as I write this book does he remind me of Walt Longmire, from the Craig Johanson series. Could be the tortured soul thing, and the widower status. And that both have experienced war. And, since I'm a BIG fan of the Longmire series is this only a plus. As for the story. It takes a long time before the case makes sense before they finally connect the dots and that's just the way I like it. I love cases that are not easily solved. And, this one, well what connects the victims? I have to admit that I was not sure who was behind it until it was revealed. The New Iberia Blues is an excellent crime novel and I'm happy to have so many unread Dave Robicheaux to find and read. I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kaye

    I love the atmosphere of every James Lee Burke book, but the ones set in the bayou are most enjoyable. That said, this was not my favorite of his books. Burke brought back a character from his past, a local-boy-makes-good who returns to Louisiana to film a movie, bringing along a crew of unsavory types and -- possibly -- unleashing mayhem on New Iberia. There are tendencies in all of Burke's fiction that mildly bug me, but were strong enough in this outing to over-ride my pleasure in the story. F I love the atmosphere of every James Lee Burke book, but the ones set in the bayou are most enjoyable. That said, this was not my favorite of his books. Burke brought back a character from his past, a local-boy-makes-good who returns to Louisiana to film a movie, bringing along a crew of unsavory types and -- possibly -- unleashing mayhem on New Iberia. There are tendencies in all of Burke's fiction that mildly bug me, but were strong enough in this outing to over-ride my pleasure in the story. For one thing, his dialogue often seems set up just to introduce colorful language or pithy sayings, not to evoke a real conversation between two characters who are actually speaking to each other. It's kind of a non-sequitur call-and-response. That pattern was stronger than ever in this book. Plus this book was long. Way long. I can't ever remember feeling this strongly about a Burke story -- it was like I was squirming in church waiting for a long-winded preacher to finish. Of course, I read to the end because -- James Lee Burke! But I had way too much time to think while reading it, which isn't usually the case. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    One can't help but feel unworthy to critique a James Lee Burke novel. Brilliant prose, characters the reader knows as well as a brother, a tale that enthralls in its entirety. I listened to the audio with Will Patton reading his usual best. Hours of enrichment one could never get from a movie or any other author. Mr. Burke is truly the best. One can't help but feel unworthy to critique a James Lee Burke novel. Brilliant prose, characters the reader knows as well as a brother, a tale that enthralls in its entirety. I listened to the audio with Will Patton reading his usual best. Hours of enrichment one could never get from a movie or any other author. Mr. Burke is truly the best.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    Better than the last book but not as good as the earlier ones, the atmosphere of melancholy and existential despair oozes through the pages but the 'I had no doubt he was mad' is, surely, the ultimate cop-out in crime writing? Plus this is way too long, with too many characters from past books popping up again. There's even that male fantasy of a beautiful young woman falling into bed with Robicheaux who, as a Vietnam vet who remembers going to see a film with his mother in 1946, must be old eno Better than the last book but not as good as the earlier ones, the atmosphere of melancholy and existential despair oozes through the pages but the 'I had no doubt he was mad' is, surely, the ultimate cop-out in crime writing? Plus this is way too long, with too many characters from past books popping up again. There's even that male fantasy of a beautiful young woman falling into bed with Robicheaux who, as a Vietnam vet who remembers going to see a film with his mother in 1946, must be old enough to be her grandfather - ick! Despite some misgivings, Burke's stylish writing and vision of evil as a tangible thing gives some heft to the book - all the same, it feels like this long-running series peaked some books back. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for an ARC via NetGalley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    My beloved series, that I read for many years, Clete, Dave, and Alifair. Lots of action. Great as it gets!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Wiggins

    The New Iberia Blues - James Lee Burke I was very fortunate to win an advanced copy of James Lee Burke’s new Dave Robicheaux novel set for a January 8th, 2019 publish date courtesy of the good people of GoodReads. Thank you very much for this book in exchange for my unbiased, honest review. Please trust me, this is an unbiased review, and those who are familiar with my reviews will attest that few are the given 5-star reviews. Ah, well … First, it would be good to point out some general traits of The New Iberia Blues - James Lee Burke I was very fortunate to win an advanced copy of James Lee Burke’s new Dave Robicheaux novel set for a January 8th, 2019 publish date courtesy of the good people of GoodReads. Thank you very much for this book in exchange for my unbiased, honest review. Please trust me, this is an unbiased review, and those who are familiar with my reviews will attest that few are the given 5-star reviews. Ah, well … First, it would be good to point out some general traits of the Dave Robicheaux series and that of Burke’s writing style a tad bit. Afterall, this is about the 22nd Dave Robicheaux book in the series, which, coincidentally IMHO, does not have to be read in order throughout, altough it is somewhat helpful to probably read the first three books in order. However, that being said, the reader should not let these first books in the series scare he or she away from the series; discounting the series as too dark, depressing or graphic. James Lee Burke is setting the tone for a career-long series following Vietnam Vet Dave Robicheaux through his darkest moments as an alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic, and the various tragedies that are self-inflicted upon oneself and those around him and the sense of loss from a past-life that was out of control. This type of person, whether they wrecked their life with drugs or alcohol, has a long road to recovery and financial and physical recovery and redemption which Burke definetly does not whitewash or abbreviate and glean through. And I believe that the readers are better served due to this writing style. Burke is an amazing thriller/police procedural writer. He writes crime fiction that IMHO almost reads like New American Literature. The character developement throughout this series is just so well put to paper in an incredible and very consistent detail. Burke's language, vocabulary, and abililty to put a story together while keeping the reader hanging on the edge with a wanting for more and still not wanting the book to end has always amazed readers. The reader can actually come out of a scene or a chapter of The New Iberia Blues feeling as though they are wearing the story with the goo and gunk oozing from their sleeves, sweat breaking on their forehead, wanting to gasp for that breath … one can forseeably be there, trust me. As The New Iberia Blues begins, change is in the air for Dave Robicheaux at work and in life. He is getting older, and he gets a new partner, the beautiful, 28-year old Bailey Ribbons, whom he realizes is now out of reach due to his age. Widowed three times, Dave is out of practice, anyway. He is getting used to spending evenings with his pet ‘coons, Snugs and Mon Te Coon. His daughter, Alafair, is back in the picture which is very good to Dave but he is not used to her being an adult woman. Is she just going to get one hotel room? Incidentally, Alafair is his daughter in the Dave Robicheaux novels, and she is also James Lee Burke’s daughter in real life, Alafair Burke, also an author. Dave had somewhat fond memories of Desmond Cormier growing up. Desmond has really made well do for himself, and is a successful movie producer, and he is into the artistry of the movies. He is in town with a side-kick, Antoine Butterworth, whom smells of trouble. A former mercenary, Lou Wexler, is in town and he is hot on Alafair. The movie needs money badly, and they are in New Orleans to shoot part of it due to the kindness of the state to the movie industry. They still need to raise money from wherever they can get it. The cast of characters soon includes the Mafia, some Saudis, maybe the Aryan Brotherhood, and other corrupt characters. And then the murders begin. The first victim is found hanging from a cross in a ritualistic murder which can be seen from Desmond's rental through his telescope very clearly. Dave is convinced one of them is involved, and he chases the story through blues, barbecue, racial strife, poverty, bars, and corruption along with his long-standing partner Clete Purcel. Will Dave solve the case before the case solves him? Wow, this is a great read. The New Iberia Blues was an incredible read for me that made me realize that it has been way too long since I have read Burke, and how fantastic of a writer he was to me. This was definitely my favorite read of 2018. Others may not enjoy the story as much as I, but, they will probably really like this work. It is one of few 5-star books that I have read. I believe that the 5-star is the pinnacle that which few achieve but that all reach up to attain. Burke rises to this pinnacle. The Denver Post calls him “Americas’s best novelist.” Michael Connelly says, “James Lee Burke is the heavyweigh champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed.” Further, The Philadelphia Inquirer states, “For five decades, Burke has created memorable novels that weave exquisite language, unforgettable characters, and social commentary into written tapestries that mirror the contemporary scene. His work transcends genre classification.” Yep, Burke got game.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Quite the apotheosis of detective Dave Robicheaux’s career. Once again we have a twisted man committing murders in the New Iberia area of Louisiana, and Dave has to ride herd on his internal demons to succeed in catching him. In this case a social worker who helps inmates on Death Row pursue justice is found dead in the sea crucified on a cross. After so many books Dave has become of living figure for the reader, from his poor Cajun roots, his terrible experience in Vietnam, and long struggle ag Quite the apotheosis of detective Dave Robicheaux’s career. Once again we have a twisted man committing murders in the New Iberia area of Louisiana, and Dave has to ride herd on his internal demons to succeed in catching him. In this case a social worker who helps inmates on Death Row pursue justice is found dead in the sea crucified on a cross. After so many books Dave has become of living figure for the reader, from his poor Cajun roots, his terrible experience in Vietnam, and long struggle against alcoholism and violent rages against the corrupt and abusers of the defenseless, and now middle-aged and more and more subject to experiences with ghosts and spiritual mysteries. As always, his mind takes constant refuge in the beauty and poetry of the natural world around him in and around Bayou Teche. His buddy from New Orleans police days, Clete Purcell, not a bail bondsman, helps as usual in figuring out the source of evil behind what turns out to be a series of murders. Dave’s new female partner contributes insights that the murders all are staged from versions of Tarot cards. It is unclear whether this means the perp is mentally disturbed or makes use of the staging to hide other more mundane motives like financial gains and corruption linked to organized crime. This could be a good dose of Burke’s masterful storytelling for those trying him for the first time. For me, my pleasure was marred by a sense of excess. There were too many suspects and too many murders before significant progress was made. Having his grown daughter Alafair, a lawyer and movie script writer, become a target for the bad guy and require desperate efforts to save her felt like a bit of a cliché. This book was provided for review by the publisher through the Netgalley program.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Back we go to Bayou Teche in New Iberia, and join again with Dave Robicheaux, James Lee Burke's haunted, introspective protagonist. More than the usual number of bodies, it seems, but with the trademark literary, painterly descriptions of humid, late Autumn Louisiana. The usual cast of characters with some new ones, and regrettable losses, but alas no shrimp etouffee, more barbecue chicken than usual. I must admit to a partiality for Burke's characters, despite having to speed past some of the m Back we go to Bayou Teche in New Iberia, and join again with Dave Robicheaux, James Lee Burke's haunted, introspective protagonist. More than the usual number of bodies, it seems, but with the trademark literary, painterly descriptions of humid, late Autumn Louisiana. The usual cast of characters with some new ones, and regrettable losses, but alas no shrimp etouffee, more barbecue chicken than usual. I must admit to a partiality for Burke's characters, despite having to speed past some of the more grisly descriptions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abibliofob

    This is one of the greatest writers in modern times. If you like dark stories with a mystery Burke is the author for you. The New Iberia Blues is one of the best books I've read in the last year and I hope he will write some more. If you should like this you can also check out The Red River Mystery series by Reavis Wortham. This is one of the greatest writers in modern times. If you like dark stories with a mystery Burke is the author for you. The New Iberia Blues is one of the best books I've read in the last year and I hope he will write some more. If you should like this you can also check out The Red River Mystery series by Reavis Wortham.

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