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A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux #5)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  4,370 ratings  ·  121 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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Louisiana Fiction
12th out of 102 books — 58 voters
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420th out of 464 books — 201 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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
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
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
Enjoyed it but not one of the best of the series. Maybe the problem was because I read this one after some later ones.
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.

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Apr 04, 2014 Eliana added it
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.
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
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.
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
I had only read Black Cherry Blues prior to this one, and I liked the former better.
As other reviewers have mentioned the ending seems to leave loose ends, and I found the plot too twisted to follow - but it could be because I read when I'm just falling asleep....
The best part is his use of English. The descriptions of the way the day started, the scenery, the impression given by a character's glance, or just the way an old truck rattled down a road, totally draw me in to the story. I would find
Good if you like the first few. Carries on in same vein-gorgeous descriptions of the Deep South, wonderful prose and great characters. The end was a bit of an anticlimax, but a good read nonetheless.
Nancy Wright
I was disappointed in this book and I can't say exactly why. Maybe too many bad guys. And I didn't feel like it wrapped up nicely like his later books. That Sonnier family was odd, to say the least, and I never did figure out what criminal act Weldon did. I'm a HUGE fan of JLB but this one didn't do it for me. And the book ended with Dave and Alifair but didn't mention Boots.
Think I'll try series from the beginning. I enjoyed the style of writing, but found myself put off - and just not caring about the cast of characters - other than Robicheaux and his family.
Classic James Lee Burke...not his very best, but still very good! Mystery, complicated relationships, and always a large dollop of philosophical observation...and a wonderful book to be back in print!
Freda Witt
I love Dave Robicheaux. I love the way i hear the south drip off his tongue and the flow of his words.
Almost could not bring myself to finish this book. Rambling to the point of boring. I like Burke's writing, but this could have been edited down to a pithier, shorter book. Burke failed to convince me of Robicheaux's concern for the Sonnier family and to make me care for the corrupt cast of characters. On to book #6....
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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 (Dave Robicheaux, #10)
  • Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux, #11)
The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux, #1) 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)

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