Laura's Reviews > The Tin Roof Blowdown

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
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Sep 27, 2007

really liked it
Read in September, 2007

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, Dave Robicheaux, Burke's Cajun detective, whose heart is in the past and whose eyes are on the horizon, expecting trouble, has always been anticipating Katrina--or at least some form of cataclysm--as he has watched his world spin further and further out of control. But Katrina was no fictional event, and Burke writes about its aftermath as vividly and powerfully as any nonfiction chronicler. The plot itself, the investigation of the murder of two black men in the ninth ward, hinges on familiar Burke tropes--the powerless caught in a web of circumstance; surprising acts of nobility from the least likely people; unfathomable evil prompting eruptions of Robicheaux's thinly suppressed rage--but the novel's power comes from the way it explores the tragedy of Katrina in a way that is perfectly in tune with the series, a kind of perfect storm brought together by the confluence of fictional and nonfictional realms. Bill Ott
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