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Black Cherry Blues [Paperback]

James Lee Burke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 July 2000
Detective Dave Robicheaux reluctantly agrees to help an old friend who is addicted to cocaine. The friend, Dixie, carries with him a brutal trail of violence and murder and even Dave's young ward Alafair is threatened.


Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009941564X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099415640
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,460,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Lee Burke is the author of many previous novels, many featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux. He won the Edgar Award in 1998 for Cimarron Rose, while Black Cherry Blues won the Edgar in 1990 and Sunset Limited was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger in 1998. He lives with his wife, Pearl, in Missoula, Montana and New Iberia, Louisiana.

Product Description

Book Description

The third highly acclaimed novel in the Dave Robicheaux series, and winner of the Edgar award. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

A DAVE ROBICHEAUX NOVEL: 3

Winner of an Edgar Award

Personal tragedy has left Dave Robicheaux close to the edge. Battling against his old addiction to alcohol and haunted nightly by vivid dreams, Dave finds his only tranquillity at home with his young ward Alafair. But even this fragile peace is shattered by the arrival of Dixie Lee Pugh who brings with him a brutal trail of murder and violence.

Robicheaux reluctantly agrees to help out his old friend but becomes more involved than he bargained for when he finds himself suspect number one in a series of bloody killings. Forced to leave his home, Robicheaux's precarious existence reaches breaking point when Alafair's life is threatened.

'No crime writer in America can hold a pen to Burke's mastery of style and powers of evocation and empathy: this is prose that cuts straight to the heart' Guardian

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough stuff 11 Oct 2001
Format:Paperback
Another entertaining read from James Lee Burke. This time, cajun reformed-alchololic Dave Robicheaux becomes the chief suspect in a murder investigation, and goes to (Burke domicile) Bitteroot, Montana to clear his name.
Robicheaux is an excellent character: tough, violent and rude, yet kind-hearted and prone to critical self-analysis. Burke's descriptions of Louisiana and Montana are, as always, a delight, and the plot is fast paced and interesting. The one thing that spoils this book (and it really annoyed me) is that it contains dozens of typos and misprints, almost as if it had been proof-read by Robicheaux's illegal immigrant 6 year-old daughter!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"When I closed my eyes and swallowed, I could even taste that black cherry wine. I knew then it wasn't never gonna be any different. I was always gonna be drunk, whether I was dry or out there juicing. So in my head I wrote a song about it. I could hear all the notes, the riffs, a stand-up bass backing me up. I worked out the lyrics for it, too -

You can toke, you can drop,

Drink or use.

It don't matter, daddy,

'Cause you never gonna lose

Them mean ole jailhouse

Black cherry blues."

- Dixie Lee Pugh, herein, remembering a song he wrote after two days' DTs in solitary

BLACK CHERRY BLUES, the first Robicheaux novel I ever read but third in the series, makes clear from the first page that the reader is entering a new episode of an ongoing story. Robicheaux mysteries are definitely *novels*, in which characters' personal problems often aren't fixed by the last page.

Dave Robicheaux and his adopted daughter Alafair, for example, are still getting through the first year after Annie Robicheaux's death (HEAVEN'S PRISONERS). Robicheaux's former partner from New Orleans Homicide, Cletus Purcel, has found a way around *some* of his problems, but his police career is still lost to him, and he too has more problems than his flippant exterior would at first lead one to believe.

Much of the story - as opposed to the mystery - has to do with Dave's commitment to Alcoholics Anonymous while coping with Annie's death. He *has* fallen from grace occasionally, but sticks to the principle of coping with one day at a time, refusing to let one fall be his downfall.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of American crime fiction 20 Mar 2009
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dave Robicheaux, ex cop, recovering alcoholic with lots of demons lurking in his psyche meets up with an old college friend. Dixie Lee Pugh has problems of his own and soon Dave is embroiled in a trail of murders, corruption, and general mayhem.

Black Cherry Blues is an excellent example of American crime fiction. The narrative is fast paced but believable while at times the writing is quite lyrical. He conjures up life in the Cajun and Montana countryside so well you feel you are there. Of course, some of the bad guys are oh so bad, while others are bad but have a better side to their character. And Dave Robicheaux is a great character - tender to his adopted daughter, loyal to his friends but ruthless in his treatment of those who threaten the ones he loves.

My first James Lee Burke book - but it certainly won't be my last.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Tough-guy Mystery 27 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
Dave is one Cajun who subscribes to the philosophy: “hit first, before they hit you.” When Dave’s old college roommate, Dixie Lee, comes into town, he asks Dave to look into the possibility that his coworkers may have killed two guys in Montana. Robicheaux gets pulled back to his old ways, and sure enough, he must travel to Montana solve a murder before he's put in jail. The plot is much better than the two previous novels. I enjoyed the ending and Burke’s exceptional writing. This one deserved to win the Edgar Award!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Scenes, Great Mystery!!!! 30 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Mr. Burke writes rather "noir" books, based in the southern USA...mostly New Orleans. Black Cherry Blues was just great! It has everything -- an ex-cop, great New Orlaens street scenes, and really interesting characters....a murder mystery that will not only take you to New Orleans, but holds your attention!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 16 April 2012
Format:Paperback
I broke off reading this book when I felt that the violence being visited upon Dave Robicheaux's family was too much. Since then I've read Zen and more Montalbano, but having got to the end of the Zen books and found them increasingly frustrating I decided to pick this book up where I'd left off. I'm so glad I did. James Lee Burke's descriptions of landscape are so lyrical, his characters so complex and Robicheaux himself is such a fascinating conflicted individual. Another reviewer complained elsewhere that Burke uses too much 'slang' and is sometimes difficult to understand but I really don't agree. I think the colloquial language and Cajun speech patterns brings these characters to life in a very vibrant and attractive way. As you will have gathered, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of American crime fiction... 30 Aug 2009
By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dave Robicheaux, ex cop, recovering alcoholic with lots of demons lurking in his psyche meets up with an old college friend. Dixie Lee Pugh has problems of his own and soon Dave is embroiled in a trail of murders, corruption, and general mayhem.

Black Cherry Blues is an excellent example of American crime fiction. The narrative is fast paced but believable while at times the writing is quite lyrical. He conjures up life in the Cajun and Montana countryside so well you feel you are there. Of course, some of the bad guys are oh so bad, while others are bad but have a better side to their character. And Dave Robicheaux is a great character - tender to his adopted daughter, loyal to his friends but ruthless in his treatment of those who threaten the ones he loves.

My first James Lee Burke book - but it certainly won't be my last.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars vintage Burke
Really enjoyable read. Burke's mixture of light and dark is captivating. The character is beginning to develop well in this novel.
Published 2 days ago by C. Mc Intosh
4.0 out of 5 stars best so far
I am reading the james lee Burke books in order of publication and this book, in my opinion, is the best so far!
Published 22 days ago by Kenneth H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Newly discovered at least by me
Better than Michael Connelly I have already acquired almost everything James Lee Burke has written smooth and beautiful to slide your eyes over
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a short story
Just finished this one. I already read several of the other novels, but this one struck me in that about 90% of the text is spent describing what the scenary is on the travels,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mark Stephen Vear
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed!
This is the first JLB book that I have read. It may just be me, but I wasn't impressed compared to authors such as Lee Child, Ian Rankin and Geoffrey Deaver. Read more
Published 5 months ago by T Walford
4.0 out of 5 stars JLB never disappoints!
Top writer. Superb plotting and excellent style. Very well paced with brilliant characterizations.
JLB never disappoints down on the bayou.
Published 5 months ago by Alan Attfield
5.0 out of 5 stars JLB classic
Louisiana & Montana wonderfully described in one novel. Complex characters, earthy, funny, thrilling, and another hard hitting story. Loved it.
Published 6 months ago by Hazel Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic James Lee Burke
Another very good story from JLB, this time with a reduction in the violence
I guess. There is still plenty of heavy villains here, but a little more subtly put than... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Highmark Ltd
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Cherry Blues
James Lee Burke is one of my favourite authors. Aside from a terrific story, he makes the reader care for the characters as well as the state of Louisiana and the city of New... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Valerie I Flett
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Robicheaux
"... then her eyes looked at my face with both expectation and perhaps a moment's fear. I suspected she was one of those whose heart could be easily hurt, one to whom a casual... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Joseph Haschka
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