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Last Car to Elysian Fields

(Dave Robicheaux #13)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,156 ratings  ·  286 reviews
Sheriff Dave Robicheaux returns to New Orleans in this intense, atmospheric entry in the New York Times bestselling series by “America’s best novelist” James Lee Burke (The Denver Post)

For Dave Robicheaux, there is no easy passage home. New Orleans, and the memories of his life in the Big Easy, will always haunt him. So to return there—as he does in Last Car to Elysian Fie
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Pocket Star (first published September 23rd 2003)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,156 ratings  ·  286 reviews

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Cathy DuPont
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the Dave Robicheaux series has a uniform thread which runs through every book, they are not all the same. Every story, to me, is unique and can stand alone if need be.

However "Last Car..." is in my opinion, the best one I've read in a long time and deserves five stars which I'm very stingy with by the way.

Published in 2003, James Lee Burke is at the top of the game.

James Lee Burke is one my of top five writers alive today. Amazing writer.

Many thanks to whoever suggested I read Burke
3.5 Stars

This was probably the most depressing book in the Dave Robicheaux series that I have read so far. His third wife; Bootsie; has died, His adopted daughter; Alafair; is away at school in Oregon, his home; that his father had built; has burned to the ground, he sold his boat rental and bait shop, and Helen Solileau; once his partner; is now sheriff. Cletus Purcel, his former partner in the NOPD and now a PI, is the one unchanging rock in Dave's life. Thank goodness for Clete. He is a loyal
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last Car to Elysian Fields is the thirteenth book in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series. In this installment, Dave is on his own. Alafair has gone off to school and his third wife, Bootsy has died. When his friend Father Jimmie Dolan is threatened because his actions are making the wrong people angry, Dave tries to throw some interference.

Dave also begins to look into the mysterious disappearance of a old blues singer, Junior Crudup, who went into Angola prison but never came out, nor did
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trying to come up with explanation as to why I never heard of this author and can't. My enjoyment of this book will require that I catch up as able with the other Robicheaux books written by James Lee Burke. Authentic characters and settings, hard-nosed police work that matched the challenges, beautifully crafted descriptions of place and ample updates from past life events that provide enough background information for stand-alone reading. Another element I embrace - hilarious moments.
Movies? M
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another JLB masterpiece...."Wasting no time on preliminaries, Dave and his old buddy, p.i. Clete Purcel, end the opening scene pummeling one-time porn actor Gunner Ardoin for beating New Orleans priest Jimmie Dolan and are soon facing Gunner’s civil suit and his likely innocence. But there are more than enough sleazeballs to go around, from Gunner’s mobbed-up boss Fat Sammy Figorelli to waste-management contractor Merchie Flannigan to Merchie’s wife, crime-writer Theodosha LeJeune, to Theo’s fat ...more
Rainer Bantau
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Burke delivers, as usual. Excellently written, intriguing, and highly enjoyable reading.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Lee Burke is an exquisite writer and Dave Robicheaux is a wonderful character channeling many "middle aged" male items of he carries a gun, got a cool job and great friends...I'm all out of order with the series, but enjoyed this tale of Dave digging into 50 year-old missing Blues Master who disappeared on a work gang...along the way we run into a rebel priest, an IRA hitman and a bunch of assorted NOLA lowlifes...though I've read most of the series, I really think I enjoy Wil ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: robicheaux
One of the main features of the Robicheaux series that keeps it fresh in spite of broadly similar plots is the evolution of its protagonist. Robicheaux's fortunes alternate every three to four books as he is either finding a modicum of peace or plunging into newer depths of loss. The latest cycle started at Purple Cane Road (#11) and focussed on tearing down Robicheaux all over again. So in Last Car to Elysian Fields he is at a nadir that the series last explored at its very inception.

The series
Bill Thompson
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite ...

James Lee Burke is a masterful storyteller. His descriptive narratives are wonderful, and I like them better than his stories, sometimes. This book had too many characters, and I kept wishing I were reading a print book so I could flip back and reread to keep them straight. I’ll read the next one, and I hope it is a better story.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dave Robicheaux and his close friend Clete Purcel really balance each others characters in the three James Lee Burke novels I have read to date. Clete has no restraint drinks heavily as a private eye/ bounty chaser has fewer legal restrictions than Dave does as a police officer In New Iberia, Louisiana. Clete acts rashly and end up jail to be helped by Dave, who almost always is shot at or held prisoner only to be rescued by Clete.

The beating of a catholic priest, and the death of three teenage
Jonah Gibson
I've been a big fan of James Lee Burke for years, but after a handful of Dave Robicheaux stories there gets to be a sameness about these books that triggers the law of diminishing returns. Don't get me wrong. The writing is excellent, the narrative compelling, the characters rich and fully realized. There's just such an abiding sense of hopelessness in the stories that you begin to wish Burke would move on to something else. All the good guys are flawed to the point of tragic and all the bad guy ...more
Tom Swift
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
Of course, another great book from James Lee Burke. Dave Robineaux is such a honest and flawed man, this series is a gem. Once again, there are problems in New Iberia Louisiana, and Dave is in the middle of it. His sidekick Clete, is one of my favorite characters.
Paul Pessolano
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Last Car to Elysian Fields” by James Lee Burke, published by Simon & Schuster.

Category - Mystery/ Thriller. Publication Date - 2003.

If you have been following my reviews you know that Burke is, by far, my favorite mystery writer. I often wonder why I just don’t just give the book five stars and just tell everyone to read it, you just can’t go wrong.

Burke gives a description of New Orleans as it was and as it is now. He weaves a mystery around Louisiana that few can match. He does this with his
Colin Mitchell
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Three young women burned to death in a car wreck after having brought alcohol at a roadside kiosk. This inevitably leads to wholescale murder and mayhem. As so often in these stories they start off as well crafted tales and then descend into unrestricted violence, much committed by Dave Robicheaux and his mate Cletus Purcell. Perhaps it's just me. Unfortunately, it takes away my enjoyment of the vivid descriptions of the area, the people and their lives.

I had put this series down but somehow mus
Dwayne Keeney
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dave-robicheaux
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
some of this one was too americana melancholia for me. although the Junior Crudup storyline was interesting and as always, the plot was bananas (in an enjoyable way).

as always, Cletus and Helen were the best parts. i hope we see more of clotile, but I doubt we will.

notes for me:
~ The genesis of Snuggs and Tripod!!!
~clete and the opera and the sex workers + clete and the exploding, very mobile home + Clete running his mouth at the cafeteria unaware
Not very impressed with this read. Very slow to get going and the story was not very good or intriguing for a thriller.
I read this book for a reading challenge, it really wasn't for me but it had a good plot. ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear voice, fun read
Nick Stika
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy my trips to the deep south with James Lee Burke. His books are so atmospheric and you really do get the feeling you are there when he describes his scenes. Love his books.
a third of a slow way through this book (not the book's fault), i thought i'd give myself entirely to that most overused of parts of speech, the adjective. i do this because james lee burke is a great user of adjectives, and even when he uses them abundantly he doesn't overuse them at all. but i will. because i want to. the following adjectives describe one aspect or another of this book, while also encompassing, all of them, the book as a whole. the most hackneyed (but nonetheless correctly app ...more
Last Car to Elysian Fields by James Lee Burke.

The mystery begins with a parish priest and the confessional. Dave is asked by the priest to help solve the disappearance of a man, Junior Crudup, serving time at a prison who was never seen since.

This book was for me quite depressing. The language of that era although presented in a realistic fashion was beyond crude and offensive. The worst part of it all was the narrator. I've listened to numerous Dave Robicheaux books on CD. My favorite characte
Henry Brown
Jul 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
I checked out this audiobook from the library because the idea of a cold-case murder mystery concerning a blues man half a century ago reminded me of a great book by a friend of mine I read some 12 years ago.

I must admit, the actor they chose to read this book probably influenced my experience for the worse. Since the protagonist is a native Louisianan, I guess they figured somebody with a Deep South accent would be appropriate. Between the accent and his rasping about-to-kick-the-bucket squawk,
Michael Mathews
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always Touches Something Deep Inside

James. Lee Burke speaks with a voice that that filters deep within all the layers of within the dark side of south Louisiana. The anguish of Dave Robicheaux takes any storyline
of crime and miscreants to such a vivid vision of a world few of us will ever see and that most could never imagine - yet brought to life in an unquestionable reality. Few authors bring more pleasure.
As always, James Lee Burke's descriptive powers are amazing and the story was engaging. I found I have become quite attached to the other characters in the Dave Robicheaux series so with this "transition" book I didn't get as involved as in his earlier works. I miss Bootsie, Alafair, Bastist and the house and bait shop. But I think I'm going to like Helen in her new role as the sheriff. I'm lookiing forward to reading "Crusaders Cross." ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery afficianados
I love James Lee Burke's books and this one is no exception. They are gritty and violent but not in a gratuitious way. I know I have gone over the edge because I am starting to think of Detective Dave Robicheaux and his sidekick Private Investigator Clete Purcel as real people. I recommend Burke's books to anyone who loves a good mystery, who wants to breathe and eat in New Orleans as if they were really there, and who enjoys seeing the growth of a character as the books are written. ...more
NM Hill
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
New author to me, James Lee Burke. I was confused without the story with the different people and what was happening. To me the story line wasn't very clear or it could of been me. Some parts made sense and others didn't could be I was just lost throughout the book. But will try another one of his books and see if I feel the same. ...more
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book! Great read! If you are a fan of true detective/suspense/mystery you will love James Lee Burke. This is actually part of an ongoing series with protagonist, Dave Robicheaux. I could not put this book down!
Laura Martone
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific as always! As with all of Burke's other Robicheaux mysteries, this one is nicely complex and infinitely heart-wrenching. Clete and Dave are indeed two of the most well-developed characters in modern literature. I just know they're real people! ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not one of my favorites but still very, very good. I used to try to start with the earliest in the series and read forward. My last few Burke novels were published since 2004 - and they have all been fantastic. Highly recommended.
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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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