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Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries


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In the finale (spoiler alert!) of The Glass Rainbow, Dave Robicheaux, the Cajun police detective featured in Burke's long-running mystery series, was shot in the back and faded out of consciousness, murkily seeing (or hallucinating?) himself being carried aboard an old-time steamboat. In this new volume's opening pages, Robicheaux is recuperating from his injuries. But all is not well in the humid swamps of New Iberia Parish, where there is little that is peaceful and even less that is pure, and sex, death, and corruption pervade the humid atmosphere like the tentacles of foul-smelling oil that contaminates the Gulf. Still groggy from painkillers, Robicheaux sees a troubled young woman in his hospital room, a Creole musician who leaves him with a haunting song and a plea for help. Is she just another hallucination? Longtime friend and fellow investigator Clete Purcel has his own problems, as a deadly contract killer roaming the streets of New Orleans seems to have a mysterious connection to his past. As the bodies of the innocent and the guilty add up, both men are drawn once more into the struggle against "the evil that men do." Verdict Despite the inevitable violence, atmosphere takes precedence over plot, and there is a melancholy and autumnal tone to Robicheaux's thoughts in the 19th book in the series. Series fans will want this. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/12.]-Bradley A. Scott, Corpus Christi, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"Gripping."--"People" Magazine
"Burke is the reigning champ of nostalgia noir. . . . To be sure, the destruction of a pristine natural environment is a thematic staple of the regional crime novel, but nobody can touch Burke in the lyrical expression of howling grief. . . . ["Creole Belle" is] a novel that shows how the sins of the fathers poison the ground their children walk on."--"The New York Times Book Review"
"I think [James Lee] Burke is the best fiction writer in the country."--Bill O'Reilly
"All the characters . . . are superbly drawn, and the plot is heart-pounding . . . sure to be embraced by author James Lee Burke's fans."--"The Washington Post"
"Burke, 75, creates lyrical mysteries with what can only be described as deceptive ease. Whether it's Robicheaux, stand-alone novels, or separate series starring Texas cousins Billy Bob and Hackberry Holland, the themes remain constant. Every novel Burke writes delves into moral ambiguity, the menaces of greed and violence, the degradation of people and land, the juxtaposition of natural beauty and man-made horror and, finally, the sublime joy of human love and loyalty."--"The Christian Science Monitor"
"Like its 18 predecessors in Burke's series, "Creole Belle" is a work of dark and radiant brilliance."--"Richmond Times-Dispatch"""
"Reading James Lee Burke is a religious experience. ..."Creole Belle" may be one of Burke's best; it is certainly one of his most complex. . . . Intense doesn't begin to describe a Burke story . . . Biblical . . . now that about does it."--"San Antonio Express"
"The plot is fast-moving and thriller-tough, the bodies mount quickly, and the writing is lyrical and evocative . . . as laced with complications as the canals crosscutting Robicheaux's beloved, threatened wetlands."--"New Orleans Times-Picayune"
"Burke never goes wrong with his exquisite gift for taking us into the heart of Louisiana, its wetlands, small towns, the glory of old New Orleans and, as always, its checkered history. Combined with some of the finest characters ever to grace a page, that makes any Robicheaux novel a joy to read."
"If all novelists were as thoughtful and nuanced as James Lee Burke, we could finally put to rest those groundless prejudices against genre fiction . . . the [Dave Robicheaux] books are works of dark art. At their unflinching best, they examine the cost of violence, even when it's performed in the name of justice, and the haunted worlds inhabited by those resigned to limping through life with a blood-soaked conscience."

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