The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16)
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The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux #16)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  7,969 ratings  ·  593 reviews
In the waning days of summer, 2005, a storm with greater impact than the bomb that struck Hiroshima peels the face off southern Louisiana.

This is the gruesome reality Iberia Parish Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux discovers as he is deployed to New Orleans. As James Lee Burke's new novel, The Tin Roof Blowdown, begins, Hurricane Katrina has left the commercial distric...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 17th 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Libby
James Lee Burke's sorrow and anger are almost palpable in this novel set during Katrina. I read a lot of it with tears in my eyes, because, more than any news story I've yet read, his novel brought back the loss of New Orleans and the overwhelming indifference exhibited by our government to the poor of New Orleans, while telling a gripping tale involving vigilantism, diamond smuggling, and murder.

Once again, James Lee Burke captures his returning characters with honesty and depth. His plots are...more
Rick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey
Apr 16, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Burke fans
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Ben Suckewer
Shelves: read-in-2008, mystery
Burkes mystery takes place at the same time as Katrina and he does describe horrible events that went on there in the context of his book so we see people fighting over scarce resources and bodies floating in the waters and rescuers saving people etc and I have no real beef with his limited description of the catastrophe as it is part of the setting of the book, but its his mystery that I find faulty. I really think the book is overlong and the plot convoluted, unconvincing and generally full of...more
Eli
I have never been disappointed by a James Lee Burke novel, and this, most recent in the Dave Robicheaux series, is no exception. Robiicheaux is a wonderfully complex character, genuinely and consistently conflicted between his visceral urges and more socially acceptable behaviors.

Robicheaux, a Sheriff of New Iberia, Louisiana, has a strong and deep sense of justice, and repeatedly champions the downtrodden, abused and abandoned, while meting out his own version of just desserts to the mean-spiri...more
Karen
These books, which I listen to on tape, are like sedatives. Dave Robicheaux is a dark conflicted hero. He is the male version of "the hooker with a heart of gold" stereotype.

James Lee Burk has always painted very vivid and poignant pictures of New Orleans and the area surrounding it. This is his first novel post hurricane, and you can just feel his heart seizing as he writes a fictional account of Katrina and the aftermath.

I know this book type isn't for everyone. I don't know if the fact that I...more
Marin
This is the second Burke novel I've read, and I'm starting to really appreciate his style: passionately moral and teeth-grindingly realistic. Larger than life.

For some reason, this is the time of year that I like to read murder mysteries. This was an extremely satifying and intelligent shoot-'em-up mystery story. There was a strong good v. evil conflict and a big tangled mess of characters in a variety of colors and flavors. Loved it. The mess of characters doesn't get perfectly organized and ex...more
Ed
Dec 04, 2013 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Crime Fiction fans
I'm not at all sure I really got what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans until I read this book. Sometimes fiction, at least Burke's fiction, is far more evocative than all the news reports, specials and other stuff in the media.

That said, this is the story of how series hero, Dave Robicheaux, is dragged into the chaos following the disaster and is swallowed up in the aftermath of investigating a number of killings. The plot is typical of the series in that it bounces from a first person narra...more
Laura
Booklist review (I can't say it better) "I wanted to wake to the great, gold-green, sun-spangled promise of the South Louisiana in which I had grown up. I didn't want to be part of the history taking place in our state." That sentence wouldn't be out of place in any of Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, all of which have been distinguished by their elegiac tone, but it's only fitting that it should appear in his latest, a heartfelt post-Katrina ode to a lost New Orleans and a lost world. In a sense...more
Kathryne
Jul 23, 2008 Kathryne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any adult
Burke centers this complex story around the tragedy of hurricane Katrina. When I bought the book, I was a bit reluctant, wondering how in the world he could take such haunting images as were created by the aftermath of that killer storm, and diminish them enough to allow us to focus on the foibles of his characters. Well, James Lee Burke is the quintessential wordsmith. Not only does he use his words well, he uses them with emotion that tells us he has lived in dark places. Either that, or he dr...more
Allan
Jun 07, 2008 Allan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Dave Robicheaux fans
Oh lordy yes! Detective Dave Robicheaux and Hurricane Katrina...what better combination of natural forces could be better calculated to lay waste the Big Easy?

James Lee Burke continues his stellar writing in yet another Robicheaux novel. If you've ever read any of Burke's writings, I'm preaching to the choir. If you haven't, you pitiful wretch, rectify the situation immediately and get thee to a bookery! This man writes with more power and pain than anyone I know of. He is simply our best writer...more
Diane
Oct 16, 2007 Diane rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who like crime and mystery
Shelves: diane
I could hardly watch the news coverage of Katrina. It was too cruel and awful and I couldn't do anything to help. I wanted to participate in the pet rescue, but someone would have ended up rescuing me before it was over. Reading Jim Burke's book brings it all back and I have a love-hate relationahip with the reading experience. I dread going into that world again, but I'm also fascinated by it and can hardly put it down. Robicheax provides the voice for all those enraged by a government that is...more
Andy Wiggins
This continues the series of books dedicated to the experiences of Dave Robicheaux a New Orleans sheriff's department detective. All of these books are great. They are not just cop stories. They give great feeling and flavor of life in New Orleans. Burke is a student of the human condition and really brings empathy to good guys and bad guys alike. In fact, you come out of these books feeling that there is no such thing as a truly good or bad person. This book is about the days following Katrina....more
Rick Hautala
Can I give this one TEN STARS? ... I love James Lee Burke's writing, and I consider him THE BEST writer working today (Shakespeare and Hawthorne are dead.) I used to think HEARTWOOD was truly his best book to date, but this, pardon the expression, blows everything he's written out of the water. It is a masterpiece for its story, for its description (especially of the devastation), for its honest and unflinching view of humanity, and for the sheer power and scope of storytelling at its ABSOLUTE B...more
Rob Kitchin
I’ve read a few of Burke’s previous books but I had a hard time with The Tin Roof Blowdown. Some of the lyrical prose for which Burke is known is present, and the dialogue is often sharp, but I nearly gave up after the first thirty pages. It felt to me as if two books had been clunked together – one a political commentary on Katrina and its aftermath (particularly in the first 60 pages or so), the other a police procedural. Rather than letting the story do the commentary, Burke has whole paragra...more
David
This Dave Robicheaux novel was better than most. Burke writes with a crisp style and you can almost feel the humidity of New Orleans as you read. This time, Burke attempts to sermonize about some of the terrible events that occured during Hurricane Katrina. He almost seems to attempt to justify the shooting of looters- some of which was likely a proper use of force while most of it was likely open season on young blacks.

Burke actually manages to weave an actual mystery and even surprise me in t...more
Steven Kent
Let me start by saying that this book epitomizes the reason I try to avoid reading series books. The suspense is simply gone.

Look, the detective/hero, his wife, his daughter, and his best friend in this book all walk around with invisible shields. They need to appear in the next installment, so nothing anyone does is ever going to kill them.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Hence, when the evil mercenary with the seventh-degree black belt goes off to shoot one of them, he suddenly can...more
jo
haven't finished this yet but i find this book pretty amazing. i love its noirness, its alcohol-fueled duskiness/dustiness/twilightness/undergroundness. the simmering violence. the simmering heat. the rage (the acknowledgment of the rage is terrific: too bad there is no investigation of female rage as well). the despair. the hanging in there. the chaos. the descent into hell. the each man for himself. the androgynous women. the no-nonsense. the death vibes. the rotten smells. the dirty bodies. t...more
L
Jul 11, 2008 L rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: gio, laura
Shelves: mystery
I don't know if Burke was in Louisiana right after (even during) Katrina, but his descriptions ring true; he goes beyond the media hype (and stereotype) that the nation saw, deals with the abandonment of the poor, the unimaginably horrid situation, and more. I'm not finished with the novel, so can't speak to the story itself. No matter. This is by far my favorite of Burke's novels. Mind you, much of it is not easy to read or fun, but it is powerful.

On a different note, Burke has a way with words...more
A.
It feels redundant to say that this was a brutal and angry book, because most of Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels are -- but this one was particularly brutal and angry, because it's Robicheaux's (and Burke's beloved) New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and all the anger, fear and frustration that it's clear Burke is harboring for the government's reaction in the wake of Katrina seeps through easily and obviously.

But it's really good anger, it's really good brutality -- I wouldn't recomme...more
Charles
I always enjoy Burke's writing and this is no exception. Beautiful wrought and strongly emotional. The story takes place during and immediately after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, which brought back a lot of memories for me.

Although I like the David Robicheaux character quite a lot, I found myself irritated in places with him in this book. In particular he seems to show greater sympathy for one particular criminal, who has been involved in two rapes and inadvertently caused the...more
Bob
James Lee Burke has a real love for Southern Louisiana and it is apparent in his novels. With this in mind I had wondered how he would respond to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This book takes rural detective/ex- New Orleans cop, Dave Robicheaux into the center of the aftermath to help with recovery efforts. Burke/Robicheaux provides the reader with a very real and disturbing picture of how the hurrican affected the people and the City he loves. Along with this insight is the development...more
Diane
Feb 22, 2008 Diane rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a mystery
James Lee Burke's sixteenth novel in the Dave Robicheaux series opens as Hurricane Katrina churns its way through the Gulf, homing in on its target of New Orleans. In The Tin Roof Blowdown, New Iberia police detective Dave Robicheaux finds himself in the heart of the Hurricane Katrina disaster when his department is temporarily assigned to rescue and response duty in the Big Easy. Burke once again assembles a large cast of characters whose lives inevitably collide, causing chaos and death.

This m...more
Jennifer
Oct 28, 2007 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: those who just watched "When the Levees Broke"
Burke is back in classic "Burke" form--moody, atmospheric, violent, angry, etc. This is the first Dave Robicheaux novel set post-Katrina. Though Burke has always explored the seamy underbelly of New Orleans (the "big Sleasy" as one character calls it), now the underbelly has spent too much time in the water and lies rotting on top of a pile of garbage. Numerous events collide the night of the hurricaine and in the weeks that follow, Dave, his family, and his best friend, Clete Purcell, get sucke...more
Steve
Had a difficult time deciding if this should be three or four stars. Since it was James Lee Burke, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, I knew that if any writer could help me understand what had happened to New Orleans it would be James Lee Burke. So, I’ve looked forward to his treatment for that reason – and I was not necessarily disappointed in that part of the story. Did find what appeared to be a story editing mistake and thought much of the prose was not as pol...more
Melissa
I never read this author before, and I wonder if he writes as eloquently when he's not covering such a powerful issue as New Orleans after Katrina. I often found myself tearing up over the descriptions of the flooded city and yearning to make a visit. The mystery itself was not as compelling as his descriptions of New Orleans' cultural history and mores, the backstories of both the good guys and the bad guys, and a particularly moving section about the greatness of librarians. There are some gru...more
Pam
James Lee Burke is my favorite Louisiana AND crime novelist. Burke's writing is elegant and gritty at the same time; no easy feat. But the books are never totally grim; there's humor and irony throughout. This is his "Katrina" book and conveys the physical, emotional, and spiritual devastation of the people of the delta & New Orleans. His main character, Dave Robicheaux & pal Clete Purcell are flawed and complex men, but honorable in their own fashion. This is the 16th book in the series...more
Julie
I am half way through this book and it is the 15th or so book which follows Detective Dave Robicheaux, a Louisiana detective. This book puts Dave in New Orleans right after hurricane Katrina. It is obvious that the author did a lot of research. It is a poignant commentary on the race wars that broke out after the storm. Even if you don't know the character, the book is awesome. (But I do suggest Neon Rain, which was the first book in the series, so you can at least get to know the character befo...more
J.R.
This book has already warranted so many stellar reviews I was almost reluctant to post my own paean.
Tin Roof Blowdown is vintage Burke. Few can use multiple viewpoints as effectively as he.
Burke has a knack for depicting well-rounded characters and none are detailed more realistically in this novel than the storm whose impact on the city and its residents was made even more tragic by the incompetence and greed it inspired in others.
Michelle Huff
I read this book summer 2007 and it was great. The book takes place during the chaos that follwed Hurricane Katrina and Burke was able to capture and bring to life all of the emotions that were being felt at the time. In conjunction with his vividly accurate discriptions of locations, the familiarity of some of the characters' names made it easy to relate to the book. This book truly captures New Orleans in every essence.
Kathy
First...Will Patton IS Dave Robicheaux...and Clete Purcell...and Helen Swallow. He makes Mr. Burke's rich prose an intimate conversation with the reader. I am all about the audio for these books.

Second...prepare to be haunted for days, even weeks, by the pain, sadness and loss in these words. Only someone who has grown with and loved New Orleans - and New Iberia - as much as Mr. Burke could have written this book.
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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
More about James Lee Burke...
The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux, #1) 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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