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review 2016-03-28 14:40
The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) - James Lee Burke

I admit, this was a hard book for me to read. When Hurricane Katrina hit Lousiana, I was glued to the TV in absolute horror. A city that had fascinated me for decades was under water, and it seemed like no one in government cared enough to do anything about it ... and all I could do was throw money at the situation from afar.

Set in the days immediately before, during, and after Katrina, this book finds Detective Dave Robicheaux on loan to the NOPD to help process criminals caught rioting ... and worse. One of the subplots involves a group of teenage African-American kids looting wealthy homes in the Garden District. When one of them is murdered, Robicheaux winds up on the investigation.

This is a gritty, realistic book that is not for the faint of heart. There are murders, rapes and more ... along with the terror of a city that is drowning because the government couldn't be bothered to help. There is more than a passing examination of both racism, and Louisiana's prison system as well.

A hard read, but well worthwhile.

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review 2014-02-02 09:46
The Thin Roof Blowdown
The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) - James Lee Burke

This book deals with New Orleans just after hurricane Katrina; the society has been destroyed, it seems an easy target for crime.

 

It was the first book I read by James Lee Burke, but when I encountered this novel in a book sale I wanted to read this book, so I bought it. The story was OK, and as I'd never read of his other books, I didn't know any of the characters, but it didn't feel as a problem. I could feel the author's anger reading this book, because of the way authorities dealt with Katrina. The book is raw and tough, so I don't think it's a book for everyone, but if this is what you like, I think this is quite a good book.

 

Note: I read a Dutch translation of this book

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review 2013-12-30 00:00
The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16)
The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) - James Lee Burke If you can get past the New Orleans “colloquial speak” this is an interesting book and a good read. Giving insight into the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the lives of everyday people. Exposing that with a little more preparation less cutbacks from the Government many lives would have been spared.
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text 2013-11-26 01:30
Do you put conditions on starting new books?
The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel - James Lee Burke
Saphirblau - Kerstin Gier
River Marked - Patricia Briggs
Doctor Who: Coming of the Terraphiles HC (Doctor Who (BBC Hardcover)) -
Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child - Terrance Dicks

I've been flying through the Mercy Thompson series, but was saving the last one for something and started a long German book recently. I told myself I can't read River Marked until I've finished Saphirblau

 

I also watched the two Doctor Who specials today, 'The Day of the Doctor' and 'An Adventure in Time and Space'. Now I want to devour my the who books I brought with me even more badly.

 

But not until I finish the stupendous Audiobook I'm listening to, The Glass Rainbow which is the 18th Dave Robicheaux book, and my first. Amazing on it's own, I look forward to picking up the other audiobooks. 

 

Please tell me I'm not the only poly-bibliophile who sets preconditions before starting a new book?

 

So, in the case of the former it's baiting the donkey, in the latter, I can't lose.

 

 

 

 

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review 2013-10-24 10:10
Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries)
Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux No... Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) - James Lee Burke I had never read a book by James Lee Burke until two months ago. If you've never read James Lee Burke, you're probably saying, "Yeah, so what?" If you have read him, though, the words running through your head are more likely to be, "What the hell took you so long?" You know, it sometimes seems as if I've shelved practically every book there is at least once. Some books, I've shelved dozens of times. The books of James Lee Burke fall into the latter category. I love shelving in the fiction sections, and heck, I'm the boss, so I shelve wherever I want. I finally picked up one of James Lee Burke's books for a purpose other than placing it alphabetically on a shelf a couple of months ago, after running out of things to read (I know--I have pile upon pile of unread books in every room of the house, not to mention all the books that have made it to the shelves without ever having been read...still, I run out. It's not rational, so don't ask me to explain it.). I had grabbed an advance reading copy of his latest book Pegasus Descending, at a publisher's expo, and decided to give it a whirl. I read the first paragraph: "In the early 1980s, when I was still going steady with Jim Beam straight-up and a beer back, I became part of an exchange program between NOPD and a training academy for police cadets in Dade County, Florida. That meant I did a limited amount of work in a Homicide unit at Miami P.D. and taught a class in criminal justice at a community college way up on N.W. 27th Avenue, not far from a place called Opa-Locka." Okay, I thought to myself, I'm willing to give this a try. It seems kind of hard-boiled (which I like), it's set in the south (a geographic and cultural area I'm relatively unfamiliar with), and it's not awkwardly written or overly cliched (so far). So I read the next paragraph. Two sentences in, I was intrigued. "Opa-Locka was a gigantic pink stucco-and-plaster nightmare designed to look like a complex of Arabian mosques. In the early A.M., fog from either the ocean or the Glades, mixed with dust and carbon monoxide, clung like strips of dirty cotton to the decrepit minarets and cracked walls of the buildings." By the end of the paragraph I was hooked. "Low-rider gangbangers, the broken mufflers of their gas-guzzlers throbbing against the asphalt, smashed liquor bottles on the sidewalks and no one said a word." A beastly hot, polluted, crime-ridden community of bad luck and no hope drawn in seven amazing sentences. Forget the compelling plot, forget the beautifully rendered characters fully informed by their pasts and being flung--sometimes on their own steam and sometimes propelled by forces beyond their control--into their futures, forget the exquisite descriptions of New Orleans and the New Iberia bayou, so real that you find yourself wiping the sweat off your brow and reaching for a long swallow of the Jax beer you think should be at your elbow--hell, I hadn't even gotten to any of those things yet. But this writing. This is writing that elevates the genre. I know, James Lee Burke could probably care the less whether some bookseller believes his chosen genre is elevated by the caliber of his writing. He might even believe that the genre is just fine as it is, and has no need to be elevated. Shit, I kind of think that myself. I love a down-and-dirty thriller, driven by its dark cliches and workmanlike writing. But this writing. This writing. So unique. Simultaneously pure and ornate (how is that even possible). So evocative. So beautiful. The action in Pegasus Descending ranges over two and a half decades, starting in 1980 with a violent, unsolved armored car robbery and murder, witnessed, drunkenly, by Dave Robichaux. Twenty-five years later the chain of events begun in 1980 in Dade County, Florida find their way to New Iberia, Louisiana. Now, as then, though he's clean and sober, married with a grown-up daughter, Dave Robichaux finds himself drawn into events, haunted by his past short-comings and driven to solve the case and make it right. Although the story, as in all of Burke's novels, is a good one, well plotted and well told, it's the characters (both human and geographic, for New Orleans and its environs is as important a character as any)--particularly that of Dave Robichaux--that drive them. Dave Robichaux is as deep, complex, and interesting as they come: Vietnam vet, constantly recovering alcoholic, multiply married (three or four? I'm not sure, as I've read only four of the novels, and these out of chronological order), the voice of a poet with an almost unbearable violent streak. Robichaux makes mistakes, repeats those mistakes, realizes as he's making a mistake how foolish he's being. He's tender with his wife, he's stubborn in his convictions. He's often wrong. But he gets the job done, and so does James Lee Burke. Burke ends this novel with a brief, post-Hurricanes Katrina and Rita coda, which, in other hands, might have been a cold and calculating move to gain sales with a release timed to just barely precede the anniversary of the storms. Rather, it celebrates the resilience of the people, and the heroes who worked round the clock to save them. "If there are saints who walk among us, many of them wear the uniform of the United States Coast Guard. They flew without rest or sleep, day after day, suspended from cables, holding the infirm and the elderly and the helpless against their chests, with no regard for their own safety, with a level of courage that others might equal but never surpass." And, "...you don't surrender the country of your birth to either the forces of greed or natural calamity. The songs in our hearts don't die. The spring will come aborning again, whether we're here for it or not." Please read James Lee Burke. Read him for his edge-of-the-seat thrillers. Read him for his unforgettable characters. But most of all, read him for his heavenly prose.
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