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Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux #19)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,176 Ratings  ·  718 Reviews
“America’s best novelist” James Lee Burke returns with another New York Times bestselling entry in the Dave Robicheaux thriller series (The Denver Post).

Set against the events of the Gulf Coast oil spill, rife with “the menaces of greed and violence and man-made horror” (The Christian Science Monitor), Creole Belle finds Dave Robicheaux languishing in a New Orleans recover
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Best Suspense/Thrillers/Mysteries of 2012
14th out of 115 books — 376 voters
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John Connolly
Apr 23, 2014 John Connolly rated it it was amazing
Occasionally I’ll meet would-be-writers (and, indeed, published writers) who try to avoid reading anything remotely resembling their own work while writing. I suppose they worry that they might be overly influenced by the style of the writer whom they’re reading, and I accept that this can be a real concern, especially when one is starting out. I can still spot the paragraph in Every Dead Thing that was written under the influence of too many Cormac McCarthy novels, mainly because it’s a paragra ...more
Burke's Robicheaux novels are known for their exploration of the nature of man, good vs evil, suffering, penance and forgiveness, big themes relevant to all life. The fact that the novels are set in New Orleans, with all that city's long and storied and messy history, accentuates the stories. The city and the state of Louisiana around it are characters in Burk's series and add to some of his most evocative writing.

In Creole Belle, Dave and Clete have become mixed up in something they don't reall
Mar 15, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller, arc
Read my Interview with the author James Lee Burke @

Darn it! I have been singing 'My Creole Belle!' lyrics since I set my eyes on this one hell of a humdinger tale set before you by James Lee Burke.

The Bobbsey Twins are back and they do not disappoint with an even greater showdown in the bayou teche than featured in the glass rainbow by James lee Burke.

You will hope that they are able to establish some justice in the bayou teche and a for
James Thane
Aug 01, 2012 James Thane rated it really liked it
James Lee Burke's sixteenth Dave Robicheaux novel, The Tin Roof Blowdown, took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Dave's beloved southern Louisiana had been devastated by the storm and the recovery had been badly bungled by inept government officials, some of whom cared very little about the people of the state and their lives that had been so terribly disrupted.

Creole Belle, the nineteenth book in the series takes place in the wake of the BP oil spill, and again, the state is under as
Aug 08, 2012 Tony rated it it was amazing
CREOLE BELLE. (2012). James Lee Burke. *****.
It’s amazing, but Burke’s novels that feature Dave Robicheaux keep getting better, and, more violent. It’s hard to avoid the violence when Dave’s good buddy Clete Purcel is along for the ride. It all starts in the hospital, where Dave is recovering from injuries sustained from his previous adventures. An old friend, Tee Jolie Melton, visits him in his hospital room. She has brought him an MP3 player loaded with his favorite songs, including a few of
Amorak Huey
Sep 13, 2012 Amorak Huey rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Love Dave Robicheaux and always will, even though yes, sometimes James Lee Burke's prose can tend toward the purple, purple like the brilliant bruise of a sunset over the bayou on a late-summer evening when the doves call a mournful tune like the blues and the nighthawks begin to flit in the dusk between the pine trees and the gnarled boughs of the cypress, when the humidity breaks and there's just a hint of cool in the murky air spreading over this land where the anger between those who have mo ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Despite this being the 18th of the 19 Burke mysteries I have read featuring Louisiana homicide detective Dave Robicheaux, I feel a freshness to my pleasure of reading of this tale, reminding me of the proverb that you can’t step in the same river twice. His character is the same in many ways, walking the line as a family man and honest cop while still being haunted by his Vietnam experience, recovery from alcoholism, and propensity to use violence to solve problems. The enemies are still the com ...more
Kathleen Valentine
James Lee Burke is one of the finest writers in America today. His ability to capture the nuances of place, culture, and character is unrivaled and he is never better than in his Dave Robicheax novels. Robicheaux is both deeply spiritual and deeply flawed. As he continues his on-going fight against some of the most diabolical and perverse segments of society his fight with his own failings is always at the core of the story. In this multi-layered story as he attempts to find a missing singer who ...more
Greg Tymn
Dec 04, 2013 Greg Tymn rated it it was ok
I enjoy Burke's descriptive prose...but not in the middle of a firefight in the climax of the novel. Unrealistic. Amateurish (outrageous when you consider the number of novels that Burke has written).

Burke also avoids the use of his own instruction to take out all unnecessary words. There were pages and pages of descriptive language that added nothing to the story. I felt I was reading a Burke parody.

Shotguns do not blow up and split from the muzzle to the breach when mud plugs the barrel. Don't
Sep 06, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel are at it again in the latest of this series. Having read them all, it has just occurred to me that the plots, while engaging and exciting, are all similar enough that they aren't really that important, quite surprising for mysteries. Detective Robicheaux constantly has to battle his own demons as well as the ones he faces in the present, all the while trying to watch out for his even more damaged sidekick, Clete. The emotionally challenged protagonist can be ove ...more
Mar 04, 2013 Roger rated it really liked it
I must start by declaring that I am a James Lee Burke fan. I have read all of his books and most of his short stories. I have recommended him to family and friends and , while all may not be quite as big fans as I am (some are), nobody underestimates the quality of his writing.

It seems to me that James Lee Burke has two main problems in gaining full recognition as the fine novelist that he undoubtedly is. One is that he writes what is pigeon-holed as “crime fiction” and the other is that he is
Dave Robicheaux is recovering from a wound he received in a prior case. He's being treated in New Orleans and given morphene for this pain. As an alcoholic, he's having trouble managing his medicines.

A young woman, Tee Jolie, visits him one night and brings an i-Pad so he can listen to music. She tells him she's pregnant from a man who isn't divorced yet. When he wakes up, he isn't sure if it was a dream, but then sees the i-Pod. Then he learns that Tee Jolie is missing and he speeds up his reco
Aug 17, 2012 judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
At some point, I'm not sure when, Burke's peerless crime novels evolved into mini-courses in the humanities. What would you like--literature, the classics, linguistics, history, law, philosophy, religion, ethics, the arts, sociology, psychology, anthropology--or even some natural sciences? Burke covers them all and not simply by casual mention. With each book, he seems to give us more about which we can think deeply and more from which to learn. If, however, you need your leisure reading to be s ...more
Michael McLean
Sep 13, 2012 Michael McLean rated it it was amazing

Like many of Burke's readers I thought The Glass Rainbow could have been the last go round for Dave and Clete, the best set of literary lawmen since Woodrow and Augustus. James Lee once again cranks up the full tilt boogie and brings us along for the ride as his flawed but fascinating duo ride out yet another wave. Aside from Burke's oft noted poetic waxes what makes this series so spectacular for me is the fact that Dave understands what destruction awaits the edenic area of Louisiana that he
Aug 10, 2012 Sandra rated it it was amazing
I can say that this book is one of James Lee Burke's finest. Creole Bell gives you an insiders look into how corrupt the oil industry really is. That Louisiana is still reeling from oil washing to shore and coating everything in it's path. And the amount of personal depth these characters have makes your soul hurt. So much corruption and in the middle of it is Dave and Clete and the whole family. Mr. Burke's story of Clete is one of my favorites. Clete dives into everything head first, but you k ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Cher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What can one say that has not already been said about James Lee Burke's writings? The usual-greatest American author of this century, poetic lyrical prose, beautiful descriptive narrative about the corrupt Southern Louisiana Cajun countryside and how best friends till-they-die Clete Purcel and Dave Robicheaux try and usually succeed to either kill off or arrest the pure evil that permeates the colorful landscape that Mr. Burke burns into our brain. My said brain will never look at the world the
Oct 08, 2012 Ellen rated it really liked it
Creole Belle by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster) is dark, with ghostly undertones, as the author continues to expertly weave the historical and contemporary attitudes and circumstances of the rich and poor, multi-racial inhabitants of Louisiana and their crimes and vices into his fiction. One late night as Dave Robicheaux lies half asleep in a drug haze of painkillers recovering from severe gunshot wounds in a New Orleans hospital, he’s visited by a young Creole barroom singer who brings ...more
Recalling the first James Lee Burke I read, which was short stories, I can’t help thinking in his case that less is more. Has he gone the way of so many writers who seem to get to a point where they eschew an editor? I’m not sure why any book by Burke would need over 500 pages, but this one has almost no plot. Even if somebody had trimmed a hundred pages off it, it would still be a story cushioned in a lot more words than warranted. It is painfully repetitive, points that could have been made de ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jun 27, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“Creole Belle” by James Lee Burke, published by Simon & Schuster.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

This book should be a best seller just because it was written by James Lee Burke, is set in New Orleans, and follows the exploits of Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel. It contains great writing, great mystery, and great adventure. This is a continuation of his last book, “The Glass Rainbow” however one does not necessarily have to read it first.

Robicheaux is faced with the disappearance of Tee Jolie Me
Aug 26, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
What can I say? James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors and has been for years. Dave Robicheaux is my favorite of his characters so this book was bound to be a winner for me. It did not disappoint. It kept my interest from beginning to end and when I finished I wanted more. It's always that way when when Dave and Clete are around. I was thrilled that James gave Alafair such a big part in this book. He hasn't done that in a while. If he hadn't given her a part in an earlier book when she wa ...more
Don Gorman
Jul 23, 2012 Don Gorman rated it really liked it
Dear James Lee,
I am a fan, a big fan. I have read every Dave Robicheaux book and always look forward to the next one. When I first picked this one up, I thought it was too long. For the first 200 or so pages, I was right about that. But then Creole Belle takes off, rocking and rolling all through Iberia Parish. Not only Clete and Dave and Alafair, but now with a new player, Clete's daughter Gretchen. What a wild bunch. And of course, the evil that men (and women) do down on the bayou is beyond
Jun 30, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
The biggest miracle that happened this year was that James Lee Burke's publisher sent me this book for review. What a huge honour. James Lee Burke is America's greatest living novelist. His writing illuminates the human character in a way that no author comes close to. And what a gifted storyteller...what an imagination. Every novel he has written is such a treasure.

After the Glass Rainbow, the message boards were filled with readers worrying that Dave and Clete had their final adventure. But ev
Lee Henning
Aug 04, 2013 Lee Henning rated it did not like it
I believe I have read all of Burke's stories. Some I have loved, some I felt were only ok. This one I simply did not like. It goes on forever about the tormented soul of poor Clete, and how he is one of the best men in the world. How someone who has the self control of a wasp and the same moral center, can be so wonderful is just insane. He kills, maimes, boozes, and screws with the self control of a tom cat. It makes him sometimes interesting but a good guy, really!

Gag me w/ a spoon. Burke has
Eric Wright
B urke's prose immerses one in the bayous and corruption of the of greater New Orleans. Both Dave Robicheaux, now attached to a local police department, and his pal Clete Purcel, PI, were drummed out of New Orleans Police Department, unjustly as it seems. Both of these men are haunted by ghosts from Viet Nam, from their unhappy childhoods, from run-ins with corrupt cops and powerful but evil men, and especially by the lure of the bottle. Clete succombs repeatedly. Robicheaux resists with the hel ...more
Jolinda Van
Aug 07, 2012 Jolinda Van rated it really liked it
Dave Robicheaux, a Deputy Sheriff with the Iberia Sheriff's Dept. In LA, with the help of his long time friend, Clete Purcell ( a P.I.) look into a missing person's case together and find so much more than they'd bargained for, during the times after the oil spill along the Louisiana coast. The book is filled with colorful and believable characters ( I've been to New Orleans) and the twists and turns just keep coming.
I raced through this book, not only because the plot grabbed me but because of
Jul 30, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
There is a part of me, a very cynical part, that recognizes a formula, and another part that shamelessly buys into it. It's James Lee Burke's poetic interludes that hook me, and his fast-paced plots that keep me turning the pages, even when it's lights out, LOL. Now that I have visited New Iberia, I know it's not all as romantic as he describes it, but still, it thrills my heart when he describes the Evangeline Oak in St. Martinsville, and the old French church, and all the familiar Dave Robiche ...more
Rex Fuller
May 07, 2013 Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing
Let's takes the kind of patience expected when listening to a lady of the oldest generation telling of her long dead family and how they still might be heard in the rustle of the switchgrass and the swirl of the water from bream rolling in the tannic shallows of the Teche at the tide's ebb when the sun is low in the evening but its heat is not yet gone...

He really wants you to take it in through all of your senses and you do. If you find the action too slow you might well wonder if you
Sean Lockley
Jul 20, 2015 Sean Lockley rated it really liked it
Excellent, as is usually the case with James Lee Burke. I don't think there's another author who can be so simultaneously formulaic and yet still engaging. Every book has a very similar flow: Some horrible monster in the form of a human being is doing something wicked in New Orleans / Iberia > They run afoul of Dave Robicheaux and/or Clete Purcel > Dave and/or Clete realize this evil personified has some obscure connection to his past > They investigate and run into several more foul sc ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Truman32 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Creole Belle is yet another outstanding novel by James Lee Burke. I’m warning you now that this is going to be a gushing review of what I believe to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His writing is an American national treasure that should be held right up there with Hopper paintings or Gershwin songs.

I’ve been reading the books in Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series for many years now and I can not remember them being this fantastic. Maybe it’s my age now; maybe his stories have go
Feb 12, 2013 Teresa rated it liked it
Latest in the Robicheaux series. Throughout the years I have read Burke; some in this series I have liked others not so much, but one of the reasons I keep coming back even though I don't know how much trashy language will be in one book to another is Burke's passion for the "Big Sleezy" and Lousianna in general. For a detective novelist his prose can be beautifully profound and moving. In this book Dave's wife Molly sums up his empathy for all of the sinners he comes into contact with as not se ...more
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Something Old, So...: August 2013 - Creole Belle by James Lee Burke 2 5 Aug 08, 2013 01:05AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: my monthly nroundup for July 1 7 Aug 01, 2012 04:56PM  
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  • Dead Silence (Doc Ford, #16)
  • A Drop of the Hard Stuff (Matthew Scudder, #17)
  • Taken (Elvis Cole, #15; Joe Pike, #4)
  • Trickster's Point (Cork O'Connor, #12)
  • Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5)
  • Last Call for the Living
  • Die a Stranger (Alex McKnight, #9)
  • The Informant (Butcher's Boy, #3)
  • Crossroad Blues: A Nick Travers Mystery
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  • Mexican Hat (Kevin Kerney, #2)
  • The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire, #5)
James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving
More about James Lee Burke...

Other Books in the Series

Dave Robicheaux (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux, #1)
  • Heaven's Prisoners (Dave Robicheaux, #2)
  • Black Cherry Blues (Dave Robicheaux, #3)
  • A Morning for Flamingos (Dave Robicheaux, #4)
  • A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux, #5)
  • In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead (Dave Robicheaux, #6)
  • Dixie City Jam (Dave Robicheaux, #7)
  • Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux, #8)
  • Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux, #9)
  • Sunset Limited

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“I'm over the hill for come-on lines. On a quiet day, I can hear my liver rotting. For exercise, I fall down. ~ Clete” 10 likes
“I also believe my home state is cursed by ignorance and poverty and racism, much of it deliberately inculcated to control a vulnerable electorate. And I believe many of the politicians in Louisiana are among the most stomach-churning examples of white trash and venality I have ever known. To me, the fact that large numbers of people find them humorously picaresque is mind numbing, on a level with telling fond tales of one's rapist.” 5 likes
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