James Lee Burke discussion

Have you read any of James Lee Burke's books?

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message 1: by Clare (new)

Clare | 1 comments Mod
I am 61 and just started reading the mystery novels of James Lee Burke. How I have missed reading them before is a complete mystery to me! All too quickly I am working my way through all of them. I am fascinated with these novels starring Detective Dave Robicheaux and his sidekick Clete Purcell. The books have violence but it is never gratuitous. They look at life in the ordinary neighborhoods as well as the underbelly of Louisiana. They make the landscape and people come alive for me. Is there anyone out there who has read some or all of these books? What did you think of them?

message 2: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 1 comments I've read most of James Lee Burke's books and I loved them all. He's one of my favorite authors.

message 3: by Edmund (new)

Edmund I'm a Canadian with a love for most things Louisianan including Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels.

And yes Clare - if there is such a thing as an 'atmospheric' writer James Lee Burke defines the term for me.

message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen (jenforbus) | 1 comments I, too, have read most of the Dave Robicheaux novels. I've also read all but the most recent Billy Bob Holland books. He's an incredible writer, that's for sure!

Clete is a hoot. His character leaves me in stitches. I love the dialogue! But I think Burke is a master with setting. You can actually feel yourself in his settings. Amazing!

His books are also the way I discovered Alafair Burke. I recently did a Q&A with her on my blog and I'm holding a contest now to give away some of her books. Stop by if you'd like (http://jensbookthoughts.blogspot.com)

message 5: by Edmund (new)

Edmund As a Canadian needing a winter reading project I've decided to re-read the Dave Robicheaux series. Have just picked up 'The Neon Rain' from my local library.

message 6: by Cindi (new)

Cindi | 1 comments I just recently finished a similar project. I've ready the majority of the Dave Robicheaux series, but not in sequence. A while ago I went through a stretch of really disappointing reads by other authors. I knew I would never be bored JLB's writing, so I started the series over, this time in sequence. I've continued on and read two more "first times" and I've still got some catch up to do. James Lee Burke is my absolute favorite author!

message 7: by Edmund (last edited Nov 16, 2008 08:01AM) (new)

Edmund Yes Cindi, James Lee Burke never disappoints. I've found with some writers in the genre - Kathy Reichs for instance - inevitably begin to produce their novels to a formula - something James Lee Burke has never done.
Descriptive passages in his novels can stop you dead.

message 8: by Edmund (last edited Nov 20, 2008 06:55AM) (new)

Edmund "Will have to rescind my previous comment. Must admit the re-read was a little disappointing. Found 'The Neon Rain' good but primarily bleak. Burke's come a long way since. "

message 9: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 2 comments hmmm Edmund. I'm intrigued. I may challenge myself to read his books again starting with the first one. I haven't been disappointed with any of his books either, although I am not as huge a fan of the Billy Bob series.

message 10: by Edmund (new)

Edmund Hi Bluedaizy Picked up a copy of 'Heaven's Prisoners' from the library yesterday. I'll let you know how it goes.

message 11: by Edmund (new)

Edmund Hi. Update on re-read of Robicheaux series - following my mild disappointed with 'Neon Rain' looks like Burke hit his stride with 'Heaven's Prisoners' Will keep you all posted.

message 12: by Rod (new)

Rod Allmon | 1 comments I've just started the new book, swan peak. dave, clete and molly are in montana. it's vintage burke. i'm wondering if they are going run into billy bob? hmmmmm

message 13: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 2 comments I just bought the movie, Heaven's Prisons, with Alec Baldwin. I saw it in the theatre and was a bit disappointed to put it mildly. But it was $3.00 and I thought, "what the heck". It'll be interesting, maybe, to watch it again. I'll have to reread the book next. :)

message 14: by Scott (new)

Scott E I actually liked the movie Heaven's Prisoner. It was a bit "moody" to say the least...but it was tough, too. Haven't seen any other movies from JLB.

message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 30, 2009 06:31AM) (new)

I just got Rain Gods. I hope it is a good as the earlier books.

message 16: by David (new)

David | 2 comments Just joined this group and just finished "Jolie Blon's Bounce." I thought it was one of JLB's better efforts. As with most Robicheaux novels, the subplots and side stories are as intriguing as the main plot. Also, if you are on Facebook you can friend Alifair Burke. She is an exceptional young woman.

message 17: by Garret (new)

Garret (ggannuch) I have been reading his Robicheaux series since the early 1990s. I did not read them in order, however, so recently I have begun listening to them as unabridged audio books during my commute. It has been a great pleasure to rediscover them. Listening to them in order has been enlightening as well.

message 18: by Andy (new)

Andy (AndylikesBooks) | 1 comments I loved "In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead" They are all thoughtful and unique. His books do seem to be getting shorter and Shorter after "Dixie City Jam". Here's hoping Dave is OK!

message 19: by Craig (new)

Craig Sisterson (kiwicraig) | 5 comments Read The Neon Rain, Last Car to Elysian Fields, and The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel amongst the ten or so books I read over four weeks travelling during XMas and New Years etc. Enjoyed them all immensely. JLB is just on another level to most other writers (crime or otherwise).

message 20: by Phil (new)

Phil (octlow) I have read most all of JLB's books including the Dave Robicheaux series. I love all of them. I plan on biking down from Wiconsin to LA for a couple weeks either this summer or next. I want to walk around New Iberia, I want to smell the Spanish Moss, I want to feel the humidity on my clothes. I'm looking forward to it.

message 21: by Dermott (new)

Dermott Hayes | 3 comments It's amazing how the writings of JLB can muster and engender such devotion across a wide spectrum of readers, anywhere in the world. I was referred to this group after I began a general discussions, 'Thoughts on the writings of James Lee Burke.' My father and I are both avid mystery and crime fiction readers and it was he who turned me on to the writings of JLB. That was 15 years ago and since then I've sought and read almost everything he has written and published, including short story collections. Humanity, I believe, is the key to Burke's success.

message 22: by Dermott (new)

Dermott Hayes | 3 comments If anyone cares to join the discussion or take a look at it, click on this link. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9...

message 23: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett | 5 comments Dermott wrote: "If anyone cares to join the discussion or take a look at it, click on this link. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/9..."

Dermott, I just saw your blog post. You did a good job. I added a comment in this group regarding "Do all the novels end the same way?" You probably have thoughts about the subject, too. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 12 comments Stumbled upon JLB after spending a week in NOLA and then reading Off Magazine Street, by Ronald Everett Capps. We'd been home about a week, I finished the gbook, Treme was between seasons on HBO, but I hadda get more, so I searched for books set in So. LA, and a rush of JLB titles filled the screen. It's been a bit over a year, and we've both read most of them. Good thing he's prolific, or my habit might begin to make trouble...

message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 12 comments Here's my review of Light of the World:
Goodreads Review Posted

message 26: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett | 5 comments Richard wrote: "Here's my review of Light of the World:
Goodreads Review Posted"

Good review. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 12 comments One of the things I've enjoyed so much as I've read my way through the series is the evolution of his characters and his writing voice.

message 28: by Zack (new)

Zack (zackkeller) | 1 comments Finally just read The Neon Rain before my upcoming trip to New Orleans. Paints quite a picture of the city and the people inhabiting it. I've been hunting for a good po'boy ever since.

message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 12 comments Now you're in for it! A Muffeletta doesn't really cover it. At least we can get Abita Lager locally.

message 30: by Brad (new)

Brad Rogers | 3 comments Edmund wrote: "I'm a Canadian with a love for most things Louisianan including Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels.

And yes Clare - if there is such a thing as an 'atmospheric' writer James Lee Burke defines the term..."

All right!! Another Canadian with a love of Louisiana

message 31: by Brad (new)

Brad Rogers | 3 comments As good as Dave and Clete are, don't ignore the Hack Holland series or the new Holland trilogy. Wayfaring Stranger, House of the Rising Sun, and Jealous Kind. Epic storeytelling, classic Burke!

message 32: by Dale (new)

Dale Edward | 2 comments Clare wrote: "I am 61 and just started reading the mystery novels of James Lee Burke. How I have missed reading them before is a complete mystery to me! All too quickly I am working my way through all of them. I..."

Hi, Clare. I am reading them too, at age 60. I live near Ponchatoula, Louisiana and I love the ambiance of the local lore, as well as the intrigue of whodunit.

message 33: by Salt Lake Joan (new)

Salt Lake Joan (saltlakejoan) | 1 comments I have been reading JLB since Neon Rain in the late eighties. I have never found another writer who compares. If you haven't yet, read the opening paragraphs of Robicheaux, his latest. For me personally, his plots are far less important than his reveal of the human condition. His characters are chillingly authentic as are his settings. In Robicheaux he speaks "of the kind of office where you can hear glass breaking in the parking lot".

message 34: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 12 comments MY wife and I have been trading JLB books back and forth for the past ten years or so. Almost caught up! His characters are as flesh and blood, warts and bruises as characters get! I also particularly love his way with a sense of place. Even when he's not writing about Cajun Country, the sense that he "gets" his setting pervades making the setting as much a character as the humans. Also, for a writer deeply concerned with a sense of justice and fair play, he doesn't come off "preachy" at all, which keeps him in my good stead.

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