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A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux #5)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,155 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
A bullet shot through the window of Weldon Sonnier's house propels Dave Robicheaux back into the lives of a family he's not sure he wants to be reacquainted with. Weldon Sonnier's CIA-influenced past has led to dangerous connections and commitments, including debts to local mob boss Joey 'Meatballs' Gouza. As Weldon puts himself in the line of fire Lyle Sonnier, television ...more
Published June 1st 2005 by Phoenix (first published 1992)
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Jun 01, 2015 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of southern lit, mysteries
Shelves: mystery

James Lee Burke is an excellent storyteller. He creates a tale full of atmosphere and mystery, and if plot details occasionally seem questionable, well, they remain engaging.

Book five in the Dave Robicheaux series hits all Burke’s high points:

An immersive, sense-filled setting:

“I… walked into the French Quarter. The narrow streets were still cool with morning shadow, and I could smell coffee and fresh-backed bread in the cafes, strawberries and plums from the crates set out on the sidewalks in f
Cathy DuPont
Number five on my quest to read the Dave Robicheaux series of perhaps, 20 or so.

I've really liked the previous four but this one, for me, was lacking in a couple of areas.

Too, far to many, characters for my liking and the bad guys are from all kinds of groups of bad guys. At times, I had to flip back through to figure out who was with what group and what did they do?

As usual though, James Lee Burke's writing just draws me in. One reviewer described it as 'lyrical' and I agree, it is lyrical.
Mal Warwick
Oct 22, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can you resist a writer who describes a vicious criminal like this: “Eddy Raintree’s photo stared at me out of his file with a face that had the moral depth and complexity of freshly poured cement.” Or who writes about “the redneck, coonass, peckerwood South,” referring to its inhabitants in this way: “Each morning they got up with their loss, their knowledge of who they were, and went to war with the rest of the world.”

Are you getting the impression that James Lee Burke is an atypical thril
Apr 03, 2015 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never been to New Orleans, or even anywhere in Louisiana for that matter, but after reading 5 of Burke’s superb series featuring Dave Robichaeaux, I feel like I’ve been there. Burke has a talent for conveying the sense of the place, to the point that you can almost taste and smell it. It’s a rich, sensory world, but unfortunately populated by loads of pretty unsavory characters. The contrast of the idyllic bayou and the persistent crime and wrongdoing that pervades the world is what makes t ...more
I think I probably didn't pay enough attention to this book to do it justice. Unlike, for instance, Black Cherry Blues -- which seemed to be a very quiet book to me -- there are lots of things going on here, in all directions. I think there are probably some interesting themes that I missed because of my relative inattention, unfortunately.

I didn't get the feel of nearly as much nice prose as in the earlier Robicheaux books, but there are still some good passages -- as for instance:

"They reminde
Donna Davis
James Lee Burke can sketch a character like nobody's business. The details he mentions and the ones he infers pack a lot of meaning onto the page without getting bogged down. His protagonist, Dave Robicheaux, is bold as they come, hard as a bag of rocks. But the sun shines down on him when he is with his daughter, Alafair, and Tripod, the family 3-legged raccoon, makes me laugh out loud and lightens up the whole affair. It also gives Dave a lot to lose. He constantly weighs the potential cost to ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Dottie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2008, own
This book reads as smoothly and lyrically as the first encounter I had with a "Robicheaux-like" character (in the film The Big Easy which for all its flaws and predictability I loved). It's just that NO ambience that cannot be beat! I'm loving the developments in the story thus far and already anxious to see the turnings in the various threads I see emerging -- the suspense is building and I can tell this is going to be good!

In fact this story is so similar to that of the film that I seriously m
Apr 09, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it but not one of the best of the series. Maybe the problem was because I read this one after some later ones.
Luca Lesi
Non ci pensare prima che accada, e mai dopo che è accaduto. Sì, era quello il trucco. Limitarsi a procedere secondo la logica, un piede dopo l’altro...a una certa età ti è concesso anche il lusso di non doverti più scusare con nessuno.
Una sentenza di vita non priva di fascino all'interno di un romanzo non all'altezza dei precedenti.
In questi giorni di Natale , tra albe e tramonti così belli, sorprende il pensiero che Ti vedevo come il sole che nasce ogni mattina. Ecco come ti vedevo.Una donna c
May 10, 2014 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the second Dave Robicheaux novel I have read by Burke. I know I read DIXIE CITY JAM several years ago and really enjoyed it. Not sure why it took me so long to read another in the series. Anyway, STAINED WHITE RADIANCE was highly readable and a great hard-core crime novel. In this one, Robicheaux is working to protect an old friend, Weldon Sonnier, who had been shot at and later whose house had been ransacked resulting in the death of a police officer. This leads Dave to a mob bo ...more
Dave Robicheaux is a tough-talking, melancholy, might for right kind of detective. The first character in this book is S. Louisiana itself, the story actually seems kind of secondary to the descriptions of the weather, the fishing, the bayous, the snakes, alligators, the heat lightening and daily rain, his bait shop and his house, the crab, shrimp, dirty rice and the constant grill smoke floating through the trees, the French, the black, the white, the prejudices, the past and the now. The myste ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Kathryne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
I believe the best authors write from what they know, so I aver that James Lee Burke translates his pain, angst, anger, and soul searing love into his stories. I feel it; others feel it. Hard to fake this stuff altogether, at least at the level he writes.

Ok, the final vote was a #3, but I'm probably not being fair. It was only his 5th Robicheaux and after reading all the others (there are 15 I think) it's like going back a couple of grades in school. Robicheaux's character has evolved to such a
A Stained White Radiance by James Lee Burke.

This is the 5th book in the Dave Robicheaux series. A tangled web of murder and secrets kept hidden by the Sonnier family. Dave has more than just another case to solve on his hands...this one involves his childhood friends. Clete Purcell has a role in this story and will play even more important roles with Dave in books to come.

Although very well written this is not one of my favorites in the Dave Robicheaux series.
Apr 16, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seemed like everyone is out to get Dave in this one. It started with a simple home invasion. This one seemed excessively violent.

I always love the descriptive language in this series. I end up being completely immersed in the bayou and can just picture what it looks, feels and smells like. love it.
Sep 30, 2014 Barb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the 5th in the Dave Robicheaux, Cajun Police detective series by James Lee Burke, but the first for me, which admittedly colors my review. I know the series has a very enthusiastic following. The book was given to me. I read it. On the plus side, I love Burke's atmospheric descriptions of New Orleans and vicinity and his authentic regional dialogue. On the negative, I was uncomfortable with his one dimensional treatment of blacks and women. Maybe these characters are given more space in ...more
May 04, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Burke's way with words is excellent. However, some things didn't make sense. I seem to remember Batist being married in the 1st or 2nd book. Here he seems to be single. Minor problem but keep the characters as initially presented or explain why they are different. Also didn't Cletus own a bar and a PI business. What happened there? Did I just miss some changes?

As a previous reader noted the story was complicated with people who were bad. Too many groups were represented. The ending seemed awkwa
Amanda Spake
This was the first James Lee Burke novel I read, and it was so, so good, it forced me to read everything by him. It's still, I think, his best Dave Robicheaux novel, or perhaps second to "The Tin Roof Blowdown," which was perhaps my favorite. I've read all the others, and I have to say, I can remember little that differentiates them from one another. Not so with this book or the "Tinroof." If you have not read Burke, it's good to begin at the beginning of the series with "The Neon Rain." But if ...more
Dewayne Stark
I have a neighbor who was a big fan of Burke he went so far to buy a baseball hat with Robicheaux on it. Yesterday I was commenting about the inability of the author's use of the words clip and magazine and the .45 Army automatic. The M1911 is not an automatic it is a semi-automatic. I owned one. Mine had a magazine which held the ammo not a clip. A clip holds ammo together and is not a magazine. It is a common error of those unfamiliar with firearms. My neighbor also remarked that he gave up on ...more
John P
Mar 26, 2016 John P rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Burke’s 1992 A Stained White Radiance because it deals in part with a politician who appeals to “the old southern myths” with the campaign theme, “Let me be your voice, let me speak your thoughts.” However, in this novel Robicheaux is written with passion, but not the compassion that Burke reflects in Robicheux in his later books. Roicheaux recognizes his passion gets him in trouble such as being “guilty of that old southern white conceit that we must protect people of color from themselv ...more
Kathleen Hagen
A Stained White Radiance, by james Lee Burke, A-minus, Borrowed from Library Services for the Blind

detective Dave Robicheaux knows the Sonnier family of New Iberia -- their connections to the CIA, the mob, and to a former Klansman now running for state office. And he knows their past - as dark and murky as a night on the Louisiana bayou. The story begins with Dave being sent out to the Sonnier house where there is a large bullet hole through the glass and it appears that an attempt was made to s
Mama Rhodes
When I purchased this book by, to me, an unknown author for $1.00 at a library booksale I never expected to fall in love. No, not with the author, but with the main character, Dave Robicheaux. I don't always like whole parts of his books--too graphic and I get tired of he and his wives having the same sexual position and I skip those parts BUT the poetic descriptions of Louisiana take me there--I smell the fog of the salt air, the sultry sun seeps into my skin, and I can hear the grunt of gators ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Monty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have just as easily given this book a four star rating. I was in New Orleans recently and decided to read a crime book that takes place in that part of the country when I ran across this Dave Rbicheaux book (unfortunately it turned out to be the fourth in a long series rather than first so I will read The Neon Rain --the first in the series--next). This was a terrific read for me. The author is quite literate and has a wonderful way of describing people, weather, wildlife, clothes, build ...more
Mar 10, 2016 BeParticular rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With each successive book in the series I find myself enjoying them more and more. Dave is still tenacious to the point of self-destruction, but he is also slowly learning to let go of his past. My only wish is for him to start treating the women in his life as actual living, breathing people and not just his ideas of them. Bootsie was conspicuously missing from the epilogue. Left me wondering what that meant. On to the next book in the series to find out.
Oct 08, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An awesome read AS ALWAYS!

A solid book in the series. Not as eventful as a morning for flamingos... but awesome nevertheless. I am excited to get going on the next one. By far the best detective/mystery series AND most well written series I've read. I live on the West Coast... but when reading James Lee Burke: You feel like your right-there with Robocheaux at a crawfish-boil in Louisiana. You should definately read this book!
Cook Memorial Public Library
Recommended by Andrea, who writes: If you've never read Burke, this is the place to start. His Dave Robicheaux series transformed the mystery genre with its beautiful prose, its compassion and its complexity. Burke is one of our finest living mystery writers.

Check our catalog:
Gifted crime novelist. Funny, sometimes harsh world view honed by military service followed by a lifetime of police work, Dave Robicheaux is the man who sees it all and tries to avert the worst of it with the help of his former partner Clete Purcel. The imagery of the bayou, the gift of capturing real conversation and clever plot lines combined with literary grace is the mark of David Lee Burke.
Jan 12, 2011 Hobart rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
Elmore Leonard famously quotes Steinbeck saying, "Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story."

I sincerely wish Burke would follow Leonard's urging to get rid of the hooptedoodle, or as he puts it later, "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

There's a whole lot in here
Feb 28, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One reads Burke to marvel at his stylistic talents as well as appreciating at the development of his characters and the intricacies of his plot. This is a developmental novel first and then a thriller. It's rewarding to see Dave Robicheaux's relationship with Bootsie futher examined and a revelation of his past with the crazed Sonnier family, but I felt this was at the expense of the tension and plot.
Dec 31, 2009 Barbra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 5th in the Robicheaux series and the series just keeps getting better. A good intricate plot and a good story.

Back Cover Blurb:
A bullet shot through the window of Weldon Sonnier's house propels Dave Robicheaux back into the lives of a family he's not sure he wants to be reacquainted with. Weldon Sonnier's CIA-influenced past has led to dangerous connections and commitments, including debts to local mob boss Joey 'Meatballs' Gouza. As Weldon puts himself in the line of fire Lyle Sonni
There are no easy answers for Dave in the fifth installment of Burke's Robicheaux series. This didn't quite hit the highs of the previous two and maybe it's because there were a few too many things going on. I also found the female characters seriously lacking in personality or agency. It's like they're around to be protected or admired.
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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
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)
  • 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
  • Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux, #11)

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“We all have an extended family, people whom we recognize as our own as soon as we see them.” 1 likes
“Saint Augustine once admonished that we should never use the truth to injure. I believe there are dark and uncertain moments in our lives when it’s not wrong for each of us to feel that he wrote those words especially for us.” 0 likes
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