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(Dave Robicheaux #21)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  7,236 ratings  ·  943 reviews
James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.


Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images o
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Simon & Schuster
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Popular Answered Questions
Sally Atwell Williams No,not necessarily, but it does help to read the first four or five to get a feel for the main character and his life.
SoulSurvivor I've read all 21 in this series ; start with # 1, 2 and 3 to get background !…moreI've read all 21 in this series ; start with # 1, 2 and 3 to get background !(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Larry H
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I've said it before and I'll say it again: James Lee Burke is one of the finest fiction and mystery writers of our time. Ever since I read my first Burke novel in the late 1980s, I have been an enormous fan, and he continues to leave me in awe with his ability to create some of the most vivid, memorable characters I've ever read about (every time one of them appears in his books, I can immediately recall details about each), along with tremendously evocative, almost poetic imagery.

He is one of m
James Lee Burke is a giant in the field of literary crime fiction, a writer whose Dave Robicheaux series I adore completely. This is his 21st book in the series, and it is still as compelling as the first. This speaks of Burke's unsurpassed gifts in storytelling, characterisation and in his social and political commentary on the US and Louisiana, a southern state still fighting the ghosts of the Civil War with its ugly racism. Louisiana is described as a place where demagoguery is a given, a men ...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nobody does it better. James Lee Burke is a natural born storyteller. His words seem to flow effortlessly, meaningfully. His characters are original, multifaceted, complex, and at times it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad. The bad, often have some good in them. In this story there is a killer, a cleaner as he is called, hands out ice cream to underprivileged children. Has a great love, and not in the sexual sense, for the young, and despises those who mistreat them. The good, not all g ...more
Mary Beth
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This is the 21st book in the Dave Robicheaux series. This is a gritty atmospheric mystery set in Louisiana. Dave Robicheaux is a recovering alcoholic and he is trying to stay sober and he is struggling. He goes to A.A. meetings. He is having nightmares of Vietnam. He is haunted by ghosts of his past.

His wife Molly died in an accident and he is struggling to get over it. He is a detective and he is investigating the death of the man who caused the death of his wife. He then becomes a suspect of
Lagniappe.......Cajun-French for just a little extra.


And that's exactly what James Lee Burke promises in Robicheaux. Always a step ahead of the others, Burke lines this one with his particular eloquence of shape-shifting words and his big bangin' storylines. "We don't hide the crazy. We parade it down the street."

And to the blaring beat of that same crazy staccato of Zydeco music, Burke marches in the likes of grifters, shylocks, hacks, and hustlers revolving between the dark waters of N
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

I've been recommended books from this series since I joined Goodreads and I finally got my hands on one of them.

It took me around two weeks to read it. Even I'm not that slow at reading. I just could not find the will power to want to pick it up. I did finish the sucker though so I'm giving it a big old two star. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read but it was not my favorite so we will go with the average...

You have your main character who has recently lost his wife. Battles the alco

WARNING: Outlier in the room!

POW, right in the kisser! Let me be clear: I don’t mean this in a good way. I mean it literally—there are a lot of POW right in the kissers, because this is a macho man masterpiece where beating the crap out of people is pretty much the whole shebang. So if you want macho land, go ahead and pick up this overly long book, where plenty-o tough guys roam.

I didn’t realize how much I did not want macho until I was in the thick of it. At first, I was wowed by the sarca
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Well, now I know why you make so many of my GR lady friends swoon, Mr. James Lee Burke! Or should I say Mr. Robicheaux? You have a fine combination of deep troubled soul, unflinching loyalty to family, friends and the downtrodden, a deep moral compass that doesn't always match up with the law, and a crazy way with words. I imagine your face is weather worn, your voice is deep and a bit raspy, and you have a bit of a twinkle in your eye.

Ok, enough with the swooning! Seriously, JLB sure can write
Let’s rock,’he said. When he pulled open the door, his coat was heavier on one side than the other.
‘What’s in your pocket?’ I asked.
‘Lint,’ he replied.”

Of course we know what’s in his pocket, because we are familiar with the kind of revenge meted out by characters in Burke’s New Orleans. Sometimes it’s offensively gruesome. But sometimes we want to pump the air and shout YES!, wishing we could deliver jungle justice.

“I hooked him twice with my left hand and caught him again with my right, k
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the memorable words of Rocket J. Squirrel "And now, here's something we hope you'll really like!", we get the book “Robicheaux” the Dave Robicheaux Series #21 by James Lee Burke. It has been five years between the last Robicheaux, 2013’s “Light of the World”, and this addition to the series.

Things have turned soft and brown for Dave. His third wife has recently been killed in an auto accident. (His first wife, Bootsie, died of lupus, his second wife Annie Ballard, a social worker, was murder
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is the 21st book in this series, revolving around Dave Robicheaux, a man haunted by his past, by his time in Vietnam, his battle with his demons leading him to alcohol in the past, and sometimes still he strays from his promise of sobriety. As a detective in Louisiana, he is also surrounded, involved in the seedier side of life, it wears on him, making it harder for him to win his battle against the demons of his past that haunt him.

I have only read one other book by Ja
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bayb-2018

Detective Dave Robicheaux is one of James Lee Burke's most popular characters. In this 21st book in the 'Dave Robicheaux' series - set in the Cajun environs of south Louisiana - Dave is involved in investigating several killings and an alleged rape. The book can be read as a standalone.


Background info: Dave - an investigator for the Sheriff's Department in New Iberia, Louisiana - has had a rough life.

Dave's mother deserted the family when he was a child and his father was killed in an oil r
Andrew Smith
When I first met Dave Robicheaux, in The Neon Rain, the Vietnam veteran was a lieutenant in the New Orleans PD and was already wrestling with an addiction to alcohol. In those early days he was prone to occasional blackouts during which the red mist that sometimes descended could push him to commit vile acts of violence, the details of which usually escaped him the morning after. Well time has moved on in the books that have followed (this is the 21st) and throughout much of this period Dave has ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit - when it comes to James Lee Burke, I am biased. He is one of my favorite authors and his new novel Robicheaux was not a disappointment.

HIs writing is so visually descriptive and as colorful as a painter's palette When reading Robicheaux, you can hear the dead leaves blowing in the wind and across the ground, smell the particulates carried by rain and taste the salt blown into the air.

Burke's characters are three dimensional and complex and often times, Burke purposely leaves th
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Lee Burke’s novels are often considered crime fiction, but that does the author and his work a great disservice. Yes, there are police and criminals and investigations but the novels are so much richer and deeper than that. In my opinion, he is one of America’s greatest living authors. In this most recent outing for Dave Robicheaux and his pal Clete Purcel, Dave is suspected of murdering the man who killed his wife Molly in an auto accident. Dave’s friends and family don’t believe he could ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think James Lee Burke may be my favorite crime fiction novelist because the plots are complex, engrossing and not clichéd, the characters are believable and interesting and the dialogue and use of language are brilliant. This book had all of the above. I particularly liked that the book did not have a tidy conclusion. It is not necessary to have read any of the author's other books in order to enjoy this one.

Dave Robicheaux is a sheriff's detective in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. After a night s
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Robicheaux is an extraordinarily powerful novel, an absolute masterpiece of crime fiction. It is filled with the most incredible prose, thoughtful, violent, nasty, and just plain out great writing. It’s worth reading more than once -just that good.

Although I am a bit late to the party - starting with book 21 of the series that stretches back over many volumes, I fully intend to read each and every one of those other 20 books.

Robicheaux takes us to New Iberia, a Cajun town near New Orleans, hau
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought James Lee Burke’s Robicheaux at the start of the year when it just came out. But I didn’t read it, struggling with the fear this was going to be the last book in one of my favorite and most beloved series. Honestly, I love this series more than panda bear cubs, those jeans that make my butt look like two cantaloupes just ripe for the picking, all but four of my relatives (you guys know who you are-wink-wink), and every variety of Girl Scout cookie. These are books that have meant a lot ...more
I've only heard of James Lee Burke this year. I read the first novel in this long series earlier in the year. This is the latest instalment.

There were a lot of things to like about this novel: the settings and the descriptions were wonderful, honestly, I can't remember the last time I read a thriller/mystery novel that had so many detailed descriptions. As much as I admired Lee Burke's ability to come up with so many descriptions of settings, smells, atmospheric conditions because it was narrate
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was great to get back with Dave after a five-year gap while Burke concentrated on his historical fiction series. After reading 20 out of 21 in the Robicheaux series of police drama set in southeastern Louisiana, it is like catching up with a family member. He is in tough straits as he hasn’t recovered much from losing his second wife to a hit-and-run accident two years before and lives alone in isolation with his memories. His compelling case of the disappearance and presumed rape and murder ...more
James Lee Burke is one of our finest story tellers. His novels are masterful, lyrical, colorful. As the title might suggest to those familiar with the author in this novel he brings back one of his favorite characters. Dave Robicheaux is a complex character. A Vietnam veteran, an alcoholic, a man haunted by ghosts of the past, and now the sudden loss of his wife Molly.

Robicheaux has difficulty dealing with the death of his wife and whether it was an accident. Unfortunately, and as he has too oft
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another favorite from a favorite author. Dave Robicheaux has lost his third wife, Molly, before this book begins but that loss sets a haunting tone for all that happens. He is deep in despair and having difficulty fighting his constant enemy, the bottle. He doesn't fall off the wagon; he jumps. But he also is a man who knows responsibility so he works to fight his way back to sobriety. So many twists and turns in this excellent book. Molly was killed in a car crash which Dave believes was not an ...more
Barbara K
An online definition of the noir genre states that it is "characterized by cynicism, fatalism and moral ambiguity", and there can be no question that this book, as with the others in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series that I have read, fits that criteria. Robicheaux has always been obsessed with the darker regions of the human heart, the beauty and history of his beloved New Orleans and New Iberia, and the corruption, bigotry and violence endemic to the area. In this book, Burke expands hi ...more
Sharon Metcalf
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, 2017
Probably the less said from me the better.     Having heard so many great things about Dave Robicheaux and really wanting to read JLB I can finally tick this one off the list.    Disappointed is probably an apt word to describe my reaction to this reading experience.     Disappointed because I fancied myself belonging to the millions of Robicheaux fans.   Disappointed that I didn't start at the beginning of the series, fall under his spell and follow his story in sequence.     Disappointed to re ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
Robicheaux is back full throttle battling his demon of alcoholism. He goes off the wagon and has a major black-out that leaves him wondering if he murdered a man who killed his wife. He has absolutely no memory of it. Burke's writing is so vivid that the thirst for the drink almost jumps off the page. I don't think anyone has written about this disease so understandably and in such detail than Burke has.

The problem with Burke is that he's such a great writer that it's hard to put down a book o
Robicheaux by James Lee Burke.

In case I haven't said it before, I'll say it now: James Lee Burke is a ONE IN A MILLION AUTHOR.

Robicheaux has ghosts from his past that cloud his mind til this day. He has never come to grips with the death of his wife Molly. The person who was responsible for her death haunts him and leaves him with an uncontrollable passion for revenge. The drinking problem that may have led to unspeakable acts of aggression in his job remains another mystery to uncover.

I must c
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
James Lee Burke is one author I buy in hard cover. I can't wait to read them and I like having a copy to pass along to a like-minded friend. As I read, I am torn between reading fast to find out what happens next, and reading slowly so it will last longer.

It isn't just plot with James Lee Burke; the Dave Robicheaux books (this is #21) really star Louisiana, and it is a love/hate relationship. The love is in watching the mists lift off the Bayou Teche, taming a friendly raccoon to be companion t
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of his best prose writing, but some plot elements were ragged, some left dangling, and some were simply not credible. Ending was abrupt and "forced" - like "Suddenly, everyone was run over by a truck. The end." Nevertheless, four stars because I can never get enough of James Lee Burke's writing, and I resonate with his political and social sensibilities. You know just where he (or Dave) stands and what he stands for. Right there with you, Big Mon.

Three final comments: (1) I pray there is a
3 no 7
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Robicheaux” is number twenty-one in James Lee Burke’s “Robicheaux” series, but it can be read as a “stand alone.” I am a new reader, but it took only a little time to become familiar with all the characters; Burke fills in any needed background as the story goes along.

Dave Robicheaux is a Louisiana police detective, devoted and complex, and yet imperfect and troubled. He is tormented by the death of his wife, his time in Vietnam, and his alcohol abuse. The addition of a contract killer and a p
Jerry Peace
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look, this is James Lee Burke and Dave Robicheaux. But in case you haven't read any of these, here goes. First, one quote-"The Teche was high and yellow at dawn, lapping into the canebrakes and cypress knees along the banks, the sun pink and the sky strung with white clouds and patches of blue. The trees were dripping audibly and throbbing with birds. It was a grand way to start the day, in spite of all that had happened." If that gets the lyrical monkey clawing your back, you don't need a drink ...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, receiv

Other books in the series

Dave Robicheaux (1 - 10 of 23 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)
  • A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux, #5)
  • 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)

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