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A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux #5)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  5,634 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
Cajun police 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.

An assassination attempt and the death of a cop draw Robicheaux into the Sonniers' dangerous web of madness, murder and
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Avon Books (first published 1992)
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May 31, 2014 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
In reading the Dave Robicheaux series you are usually dealing with the darker side of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. There is the usual mix of racial and class divide, of power and revenge, politics, the Klan, and organized crime but in this outing there is also the impact of child abuse.

Robicheaux finds himself drawn into the painful conflicts of the Sonnier family, childhood friends, when someone takes a shot at Weldon Sonnier. Then a local police officer is murdered when investigating a
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.
Dec 15, 2016 Ctgt rated it really liked it
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.

Another outstanding entry in the Robicheaux series that has Dave dealing with the mob and a trio of siblings from his youth. Bootsie's illness and protecting Alafair add fuel to an already explosive situation as Dave tries to sort out his conflicted feelings for the Sonnier
Donna Davis
Mar 21, 2013 Donna Davis rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 28, 2014 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
Mal Warwick
Oct 22, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 31, 2007 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
Sep 29, 2014 Barb rated it it was ok
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
Mar 18, 2012 David rated it liked it
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
Apr 29, 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
Jul 24, 2008 Kathryne rated it liked it
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
May 04, 2014 Donna rated it liked it
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
Sep 30, 2011 Amanda Spake rated it it was amazing
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
Colin Mitchell
I thought that Mickey Spillane was back in town and I was not disappointed as the book soon has shootings, break-ins, and fighting. All the whileDave Robichaux is trying to balance his relationship with "Bootsie" and his adopted daughter Alafair with his work in the Police Department, where he is now the established detective. The story surrounds the Sonnier family and their father. Is he dead or not? A good fast-paced novel that, in the end ,I had to stay up to complete. The series is getting b ...more
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 12, 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.
Another excellent read from James Lee Burke. I don't think I've been disappointed with any of his books yet. He really is a master story-teller.

And, if you haven't yet heard one of Burke's books narrated by Mark Hammer, you are really missing out on a wonderful experience.
Sally Atwell Williams
Book 5 of the series. I just love the stories, and find myself reading them, while I have other books listed as reading. I have one more of the series - book 6, but I am going to hold off until I get the other two books finished.

Dave Robichaux is a great character - his insights on himself, as well as those people he is caught up with are wonderful. Especially as he ponders his past and the present. One thing I have always liked about Burke's character, is that Dave is attuned to nature - the fl
Carol Oberg
Mar 04, 2017 Carol Oberg rated it liked it
Tried a second one after this. Too much repetition of plot and structure.
Feb 26, 2017 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Dave is up to his neck in "it" yet again. His past and present get mixed up putting his future with Bootie & Alafair at risk. The problem with this book is that there is too much going on.
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
Apr 04, 2013 Monty rated it liked it
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
Mama Rhodes
Jan 04, 2008 Mama Rhodes rated it liked it
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
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
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
Dewayne Stark
Nov 23, 2015 Dewayne Stark rated it it was ok
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
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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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