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The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  11,958 ratings  ·  550 reviews
Introducing the New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux Dave Robicheaux that he's on somebody's hit list, and now the homicide detective is trying to discover just who that is before he ends up dead. found dead in the Bayou swamp - a case no one seems keen for him to investigate. But Robicheaux persists and uncovers a web of corruption that some would kill to protect, leadin ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published 2005 by Phoenix (first published 1987)
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Oct 30, 2014 StoryTellerShannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: elaine avalakeotes
This is a revised review as of 4/14/2013 with some images to add flavor.

It's like a lot of detective novels set in the 1980s except the real standouts are the fact that it's New Orleans and the author gets that particular sub culture. Burke has an elegant prose and his main character, David Robicheaux, is engaging.

Robicheaux is a 50-something hard boiled detective who survived the Vietnam War yet is still haunted by it and thus turns to drinking (though it becomes evident later he was drinking
I know an author setting a book in a city known for its food like New Orleans would really want to get the regional flavor across by having the characters chow down on the local cuisine, but do they really eat that many po’ boy sandwiches down there? Hell, I’m from Kansas City, but I don’t eat barbecue every day.

James Lee Burke kicked off this long running crime series back in the late ‘80s. Dave Robicheaux is a recovering alcoholic, a Vietnam vet (Yet again confirming my theory that all tough
Dec 04, 2013 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of detective fiction, southern gothic
Recommended to Carol. by: Anthony Vacca ? Was it you?

One of the movies on endless repeat with my best high school friend and I was The Big Easy with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. That and a couple trips to New Orleans are the sum of my Louisiana experience, and yet, when I read Neon Rain I feel as if I'm there, ghosting alongside Dave Robicheaux as he investigates. Burke's writing is extremely evocative, in the very best way for the detective-centered mystery. A strong since of place, of the cultural gumbo of New Orleans and the surrounding rural
Paul Nelson
Two months ago I’d never even heard of James Lee Burke never mind the renowned Dave Robicheaux, a New Orleans’s detective who is the main character in a twenty book series and there’s also a couple of films about the guy. I would have remained in this completely unaware state had it not been for my praise of Will Patton’s narration of Doctor Sleep, a fellow blogger recommended his narration of the Robicheaux series, so I looked into it and lo and behold, I find three of my favourite authors hold ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Dec 06, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Dark, Gritty Thrillers
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
I know of an acquiring editor who ran a board for new authors who not only counted Burke a favorite, but recommended him as an example of a beautiful prose style. From the almost 60 pages I got through, I can understand that.

I didn't abandon this novel because I thought the writing anything less than top notch. The dialogue seems authentic and distinctive, there are descriptions of Louisiana that are evocative and lyrical coming through the first person narrative. This isn't rated two stars bec
It's like a lot of detective novels set in the 1980s except the real standouts are the fact that it's New Orleans and the author gets that particular sub culture. Burke has an elegant prose and his main character, David Robicheaux, is engaging.

Robicheaux is a 50-something hard boiled detective who survived the Vietnam War yet is still haunted by it and thus turns to drinking (though it becomes evident later he was drinking before he went to war). He has since joined the police force as a detecti
Mmmm mmmmm, I do love me some James Lee Burke. I'm a huge fan of beautiful prose, and Burke provides that here in large helpings. If you want tons of atmosphere, lots of poetic phrasing, and a loving sense of place, you can't do much better. And then there's the characters with their regionally flavored dialogue and, in audio format, accents to enjoy. IMHO Burke's books are especially enjoyable in audio, because of all the regional flavors and the natural cadences inherent in his writing. It's a ...more
This is a hard one to call. It was the first James lee Burke offering I had read, and I certainly have mixed feelings about it. There's no doubt that Burke can write very well; he develops interesting characters and creates some brilliant dialogue for them. It could have been a really good book but had some flaws that spoiled it for me, just a little. I say flaws for want of a better word; perhaps shortcomings would be a better term. I am perfectly aware that other people might not be bothered b ...more
Leon Aldrich
Your prosecuted, tried and convicted. The court sentences you to be exiled for five years on a deserted island. No TV. No YouTube. No Britney Spear's poster (a hardship for many of you).

You are allowed a Kindle and a hand cranked device to keep it charged. Then you are told, "Pick one author!"

Vince Flynn. T. Jefferson Parker. Lee Child. Stephen Cannell. Robert Crais. Michael Connelly. John Sanford. All these authors pass through my head in an instant. What the hell. How can I only be allowed one
Julie Davis
I almost felt like putting "foreign lands" as a tag on this book as Burke writes so lyrically about New Orleans and Louisiana that it is like a travelogue. A travelogue through a very gritty, dark place though. This noir style tale of police detective Dave Robicheaux's struggle with personal demons, both internal and from organized crime in the city makes a compelling tale. Even more surprising than the lyrical descriptions though, is the underlying Catholicism that defines Robicheaux's characte ...more
Gripping and raw. The lead character wears his scars (psychological mostly) on his heart and finds that stepping into an hornet's nest and doing the right thing is not the way to live a long and secure life in New Orleans.
Robicheaux keeps you reading, you want to see what happens and how he will end up on the other side of the tunnel at the end. Burke doesn't cheat the reader. Set in the dark underbelly world of bad guys, drug trafficking lords of New Orleans, it's raw, bleak but you keep readin
Aug 05, 2014 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of well written mystery books
Recommended to Mark by: the movie with Tommy Lee Jones
This is the novel I read after "Donna Tartt's Goldfinch" and it was meant as some light relief reading after reading such a massive and complex book. Well that was me looking all stupid. If anything Mr Burke does know how to write a complex story as well, and he brings the Bayous and New Orleans to life on paper. It is my biggest failure of of not visiting the Big Easy before Kathrina and somehow the writer does bring that lost world back to life.

Dave Robicheaux, a brilliant name, visits a man o
Cathy DuPont
Mar 02, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Detective fans
Unfortunately, I read Black Cherry Blues first, then this one and I really like to read character series in order. Too late to complain now. Should have done better research.

Liked this book a lot and had to go through a thought process to determine four or five stars. Wish I could have halfs because I would have upped it to four and one half stars. Settled on four after waffling for a few minutes.

I really liked the book though and it set up the Dave Robicheaux character with more background inf
Mal Warwick
The Neon Rain was the first of the twenty books in James Lee Burke’s award-winning Dave Robicheaux series of detective novels, and an auspicious beginning it was! Burke evokes the clammy, mist-filled atmosphere of his native Louisiana and the Cajun culture of his protagonist with great skill.

Robicheaux, a New Orleans police detective, has stumbled across the body of a young African-American prostitute in what seem to be suspicious circumstances. He was far outside his jurisdiction but can’t resi
Oh James Lee Burke – you make me want to jump on a plane and fly to New Orleans and drive directly to the French quarter and have a beignet dipped in a cup of scalding hot chicory coffee and then chase all that down with a fifth of Jack Daniels and then wash down some Dr.Peppers and oyster Po Boy sandwiches and then go for a refreshing swim in the Gulf. Oh yeah, and also chase some skirts and some really really bad guys and then punch my fist through a wall, and drink even more Jack Daniels and ...more
New Orleans Police homicide detective Dave Robicheaux's life changed forever as a result of his discovery of the body of a young prostitute while fishing in the backwoods of Louisiana. His hardheaded refusal to quit when he's far, far behind causes him no end of grief. Up against a vast conspiracy he has no hope of overcoming,he continues, none the less, to make truly idiotic decisions that don't always work out well. Robicheaux is an alcoholic and the passages describing his struggles with the ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Neon Rain, by James Lee Burke, narrated by Will Patton, A. produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This is the first in the Dave Robicheau series. I am doing a happy dance that Recorded Books is republishing these books now narrated by Will Patton. He is the only person who should do Dave Robicheau books, in my opinion. And he did a good job with this first entry in the series. It’s a gritty hard-hitting book where we first meet Dave Robicheau and his partner, Cletus Purcell.
This was a birthday present, and I can't think of a better one. Brilliantly written, it introduces the reader to Lieutenant Dave Robicheaux, a complex, flawed, fascinating character. Other reviewers say that what is not said is as important as what is. The deft skill exemplified here is a real pleasure to witness, and I kept disturbing my husband, who reads almost exclusively nonfiction and was reading an IT printout, to tell him things I noticed. I could NOT keep it to myself, I was so impresse ...more
This was my first Burke book and, man, was it harsh, but compelling. The protaganist Dave Robicheaux is about as damaged as one man can be and still be breathing. But he's not just a cop, but a determined son of a bitch and he keeps going no matter what the crooks do to him. This one isn't for the faint-hearted, but it's definitely worth the read and it's one of the best starts to a series ever.
Linda J
Neon Rain marks the first appearance of Dave Robicheaux, Burke's idealistic Cajun cop. I've read most of the books in the series but had somehow missed this one.

Burke's writing is beautiful. His descriptions of New Orleans and Louisiana are so vivid I could almost smell the flowers and the rain and the food.

Dave Robicheaux is alot like Michel Connelly's Harry Bosch: they both believe every victim has the same right to justice. Wealth, social standing, and lifestyle don't matter. Both characters
Debbie W
3 ½ stars – rounded to 4 – thanks to the narrator
Audio narrated by Will Patton

Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux's haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans' French Quarter -- the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thr
It's taken me a while to get a copy of the first Dave Robicheaux novel and having read quite a few of those that follow it was with some trepidation that I began this one. I wondered if I would discover that the characters had started out somewhat differently than the ones I'd become so fond of in future stories and that I would be disappointed but as Dave might muse in reflective mode " the seeds of the future lie in the deeds of the past" and I was not disappointed.
Dave is a troubled man prone
What a wonderfully evocative title, sadly I think the title was my favourite part of the book.

This felt like the middle ground between something I love and something that leaves me cold, a mixture of Dashiell Hammett or one of those great classic writers of the hardboiled, black as night, noir school of crime and James Patterson or one of the many, many, many generic crime thriller writers out there lining up to shift some units no matter how average to mediocre their novels are.

I liked Dave Rob
I'm new to the legion of James Lee Burke fans (thank you Cathy DuPont). But all that means, is that I still have all these wonderful Robicheaux novels for my reading pleasure, a thought that fills me with distinct satisfaction. For now I'll review the Dave Robicheaux series one by one, until I've gone through the lot and compile a review for all as is my usual habit.

I suspect I have an edge as compared to most Burke fans. I have lived in the French Quarter so aptly described in the Burke novels.
Review from Badelynge
Neon rain is the first of the books by James Lee Burke to feature Dave Robicheaux. He's still employed as a New Orleans homicide detective and by the time the book opens he's already managed to trigger events that will explode in his face with ever more violent consequences. Robicheaux is an odd character. A Cajun Viet Nam vet driven to alcoholism but now dry for some years. Lauded as an outstanding detective by his superiors but seen here to be more versed in the arts of vi
Dave Robicheaux is a lieutenant in the New Orleans P.D. He discovers the body of a dead black woman when he's fishing.

He tries to get the local police to look into the death but they aren't interested in spending time investigating the death of a black woman in Louisiana.

He attempts to investigate on his own and in this regard he learns that a hit has been placed on his life for interfering in the activities of mob members.

He meets a young agent from the bureau of alcohol food and drugs and they
Since I have been following James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series for several years now I decided that it was time for me to go back to the beginnings. The Neon Rain is one of the earlier Robicheaux novels, and it gave me some insight into Dave's earlier life and why he made some of the choices that he did. In The Neon Rain I learned that there were definite reasons why Dave, being the dedicated lawman that he is, does not always go "strictly by the book." In this case he is working to solve ...more
Elizabeth A
I've heard this series is a good one for fans of Harry Bosch, so thought I'd give it a try. While Dave Robicheaux is no Bosch, they are both flawed men who have PTSD from the Vietnam War, and a tendency to do things their own way, torpedoes be damned.

The setting is the seedier side of New Orleans, and what I was not expecting is the poetry of some of the prose. Also a lot more political than your average police procedural. I tried to puzzle out the crime along with Dave, who goes a bit too rogue
Benoit Lelievre
James Lee Burke is a master narrator. His words, his characters and his world jump out of the pages and inhabit your world when the pages are opened, when the pages are closed and when you're finished reading it also. But Burke isn't an expert at pacing. The story often gets far fetched and cluttered with crazy details that will mess with your suspension of disbelief. It's great, it's truly something special and I am happy there are eighteen Dave Robicheaux novels. But I will pace myself reading ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Amazing atmosphere. I feel like I can see, smell and hear the Louisiana locales Robicheaux moves through as he seeks justice along a very tangled trail. Some excellent ruminations on morality and humanity, always something I look for in a hardboiled crime novel. Very violent - often startlingly so and the violence is never just a set piece but something whose ethical consequences are acknowledged. A bit too all over the place plotwise and the romance angle is so superficial - Annie walks in for ...more
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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 a
More about James Lee Burke...

Other Books in the Series

Dave Robicheaux (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • 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 (Dave Robicheaux, #10)
  • Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux, #11)
The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) Black Cherry Blues (Dave Robicheaux, #3) The Glass Rainbow (Dave Robicheaux, #18) In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead (Dave Robicheaux, #6) Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux, #17)

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“The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.” 5 likes
“One day you'll have a quiet heart.” 2 likes
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