A Novel

Book - 2018 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
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New York Times Bestseller

James Lee Burke's most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.


Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he's investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave's beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation's abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America's favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.
Publisher: New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, 2018.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501176845
Branch Call Number: FIC Burke
Characteristics: 447 pages ; 24 cm.


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Mar 28, 2019

saw his name in a review of a chabon book which said he doesn't measure up to america's great writer James Lee Burke

Oct 27, 2018

This is the first book I read in this series. Think I will read some more as I liked the the character and the story

Sep 11, 2018

For those of us not from the South, Louisiana can seem at times like a foreign country, mired in the past, hopelessly backward, and even degenerate. It is all if those things, but it is much more, too. And that more can take considerable time and effort to unearth.

Burke's Dave Robicheaux and his other unusual and colorful characters allow us to peek below the surface where we find both the squirming insect and the heart of gold, each living side by side in the same person or environment.

Like all of Burke's books this one is intelligently and beautifully written. If you are well-educated, you will have plenty of opportunities to pat yourself on the back as literary and historical references abound. If you are not, read this book with your tablet or laptop nearby and look up the references as you go along. You will get information along with your entertainment.

Highly recommended.

AnnabelleLee27 Sep 04, 2018

While I love Dave Robicheaux, this installment was disappointing; the mystery was disjointed, several characters were inconsistent and some just "disappeared" from the story without explanation, the resolution was unconvincing, and the book was over-long. There are much better novels in this series which explore Robicheaux's character and which develope much more interesting and complex antagonists (Swan Peak is one of my all time favorites). That being said, there were still some wonderful sections where Robicheaux reflects on his life, the past, and how these continue to play out in the larger present as well as references to Burke's previous non-Robicheaux novel White Doves at Morning (which I also love).

Aug 13, 2018

What's the hap's, noble mon? Anyone who has read any of the Robicheaux books knows exactly where this one is going and what will happen when it gets there. Not that it is a bad thing, but it is essentially the same story as in the very first Robicheaux book I read back some years ago except that a few wives have died and his daughter is now an adult. For the most part, it has the same wife-beating, murdering, and slimy politicians/rich guys along with lots of musings about the swamps of south Louisiana, confederate ghost soldiers in butternut, storms over the Gulf, and Vietnam. As usual, Streak and Clete Purcel will go looking for trouble if it is not already coming to find them. It does have a bunch of interesting characters for sure. Read the list below, Bwana, and tell me you don't want to find out who they are: Fat Tony Nemo aka Tony the Nose, Tony Squid, and Tony Nine Ball; Nig Rosewater; Wee Willie Bimstine; Jimmy Nightingale; Whitey Zeroski; Babette Latiolas; Spade Labiche; Didoni Giacano; Lala Segretti; Sally Dio aka Sally Ducks; Birl Wooster; Maximo Soza; JuJu Ladrine; Pookie the Possum Domingue; No Duh Dolowitz; Baby Cakes Babineau; Smiley Wimple.

Bwana read book! Bwana enjoy book!

the excellence of this superior series continues . Highly recommended for those who wish to raise themselves up above the dregs which is generally available throughout the genre. Rock on, Senor Burke! hollywood made an excellent film, starring Alec Baldwin, Kelly Lynch, Terri Hatcher,Mary Stuart Masterson,and Eric Roberts, of an earlier novel from this series: HEAVEN'S PRISONERS. For those who have to 'power through' novels, i highly recommend seeing this film. I am in effect saying any book starring dave robicheaux is as good as the next.

May 22, 2018

A typical Burke novel....much action and keeps your attention until the end. Great character development.

ArapahoeAnnaL May 08, 2018

Gorgeous descriptions of the Louisiana bayou and surrounding area. Robicheaux is a tough police detective haunted by abuse of the downtrodden and vulnerable and not squeamish about using violence in the pursuit of justice. The horrors of slavery compete in his mind with romantic visions of bedraggled Confederate soldiers dying for a lost cause.

lindab1111 Mar 03, 2018

James Lee Burke is a master of crime fiction. The plots are complex, engrossing and not clich├ęd. Dave and Clete, the 2 main characters are flawed, intense and womderfully human. It is sometimes difficult to tell who is the most vile villain in his books. Serial killings and the search for justice take Dave and Clete into the heart of New Orleans. The book did not have a tidy conclusion and the twisted threads of the story made it impossible to predict the outcome. Love that Burke can write about wonderful heartbreaking characters and some complex but loathsome characters with such skill.

Feb 21, 2018

Not an easy character to like but perhaps the best medium to showcase the American Gulag we call Louisiana. The only place I have ever lived I truly disliked because of the deeply ingrained corruption and hate I felt among some of the native folk. Angola is a blight on the universe and should quite simply be erased from existence. The people of the bayous are from another world and another time.

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