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Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux 19) [Paperback]

James Lee Burke
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 2013 Dave Robicheaux 19

CREOLE BELLE begins where the last book in the Dave Robicheaux series, THE GLASS RAINBOW, ended. Dave is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, where a Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him and leaves him an iPod with the country blues song 'Creole Belle' on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie and goes in search of her sister, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf. Meanwhile, there has been an oil well blowout on the Gulf, threatening the cherished environs of the bayous.

CREOLE BELLE is James Lee Burke at his very best, with beloved series hero Dave Robicheaux leading the charge against the destruction of both the land and the people he has sworn to protect.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Nov 2013)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1409109267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409109266
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,394 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


There are not many crime writers about whom one might invoke the name of Zola for comparison, but Burke is very much in that territory. His stamping ground is the Gulf coast, and one of the great strengths of his work has always been the atmospheric background of New Orleans and the bayous. His big, baggy novels are always about much more than the mechanics of the detective plot; his real subject, like the French master, is the human condition, seen in every situation of society. (INDEPENDENT)

The gentle giant of US crime writers, Burke always ensures that his Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux grapples with hot topics as much as with his own inner demons. (i newspaper)

Burke is the poet of the tortured South and never fails to connect at all levels (TIME OUT)

Menacingly dark but with chinks of glittering perception, Lee Burke is the king of Southern noir (DAILY MIRROR on Feast Day of Fools)

Creole Belle is one of the more substantial Burke novels... but every word here... is fully justified (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

The latest Dave Robicheaux novel in the series acclaimed as 'one of the wonders of American crime fiction' (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BIG novel with ambitions to be epic - 4- 2 Aug 2012
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I was pulled into this intense, elegiac and sometime melancholic salute to Dave Robicheaux and buddy Clete Purcell and their Louisiana from the first few pages--but was also overwhelmed and fatigued by it at the closing. Author James Lee Burke has poured heart and soul into this story of greed, exploitation and basic human savagery in such an unrestrained fashion that the effect is like being on a roller coaster that runs on a permanent loop--exhilarating but maybe too much of a good thing.

The storyline is convoluted and secondary to the examination of the lives of Robicheaux and Purcell. It gradually builds to expose garden variety larceny, thuggery, art theft and forgery, white slavery and Nazi war crimes. The intervals between action segments look at the trials and tribulations of the two principals and the dynamics of their relationship over the years. Most interesting to me was the author's observations about the story's context--the state of his state and his obvious frustration with the direction that it has been going in. One telling para:

"For me Louisiana has always been a haunted place. I believe the specters of slaves and Houma and Atakapa Indians and pirates and Confederate soldiers and Acadian farmers and plantation belles are still out there in the mist. I believe their story has never been adequately told and they will never rest until it is. I also believe my home state is cursed by ignorance and poverty and racism, much of it deliberately inculcated to control a vulnerable electorate. And I believe many of the politicians in Louisiana are among the most stomach-churning examples of white trash and venality I have ever known". *

Ultimately, this is an entertaining novel by a masterful writer.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're back... 24 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ohh yes...the two great New Orleans buddies are back having survived their gunshot wounds in their last adventure and Clete is back to his rip roaring best whilst Dave is taking it a little easier! Is Tee Jolie a dream in Robicheaux's morphine induced dreamworld or does she still walk the earth. Doesn't matter, Dave and Clete are looking for her and although I'm only a quarter of the way through this book I know, I really KNOW this will be my read of 2012. The scene where they go back inside to share a po'boy sandwich and a couple of beers with her old, neglected grandfather is one of the most touching passages I have ever read - if you're a fan of great fiction, great crime writing this guy is the absolute (as we say in London,England)Guv'nor
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lee Burke back on form 30 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of James Lee Burke's writing for a long time but recently there's been a marked dropping off in the quality of it, with rather too much moralistic pontificating and sub religiosity; The Glass Rainbow was a big disappointment and I was afraid he was on an accelerating curve downwards. So I turned to Creole Belle with some apprehension - but I needn't have worried, he's bang on form again in this tale. The trade mark descriptive writing is as good as ever, the pontification is kept well under control and the thick-ear stuff is very good.

What, I think, lifts the book above the level of his recent work is the flowering of Dave Robicheaux's daughter Alafair as a character and the introduction of Gretchen Horowitz as Clete Purcell's daughter - and, in fact the interaction between these two is terrific. The scene when they two women first meet is brilliantly handled: they start off being mutually hostile but gradually get to realise that they are, in a sense, two of a kind. And the other stand-out scene is when Gretchen gives the bum's rush to a slimy sleazeball and his two bodyguards, superbly done.

The book is long (500+ pages) but it never drags and I found it very hard to put down. More, please, James!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excruciatingly beautiful epic 26 Aug 2012
Barely recovered from the serious wounds they suffered in "The Glass Rainbow", Dave Robicheaux and Dave Purcel are at it again, two mythological creatures fighting evil in Lousiana's bayou country. And it really doesn't matter that, by rights, they should be in their late sixties or early seventies and playing a relaxed game of golf instead of squeezing rounds out of semi-automatic weapons or mixing it up with hired guns and assorted bottom-feeders. As James Lee Burke aptly puts it: "the Bobbsey Twins from Homicide are forever". Dave and Clete are larger than life as usual, and Dave's daughter Alafair shows once again she can think for herself and will make her own choices. A new amazing character, Gretchen, joins their ranks in "Creole Belle". But I'll say no more. You've got to read the book (and count the days til the next one, like I'm doing).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
If you have read any of the preceding Robicheaux novels then you know exactly what to expect with Creole Belle. James Lee Burke delivers more of the same; the heady scents and authentic sense of Louisiana in all its natural beauty and unnatural cruelty. Add to that Dave’s eternal battle with his own righteousness and his own weaknesses – in this instance, set against the back drop of the oil spill which followed Katrina in visiting yet more hardship on the people of the bayou and New Orleans.

Robicheaux is a crusader and he willingly flings himself against the mighty machinery of every oppressor he runs up against. As usual, the bad guys are rich, white, modern-day inheritors of the slave plantations who live in rambling old mansions shaded by live oaks, and who prey on the weak and the poor and those they can abuse or profit from. Their sleekly pampered women are beautiful and dangerous; seductive and ambiguous. Their crimes are many – but most of their activities fall well beyond the scope of a sheriff’s deputy in New Iberia parish. That’s until a dead body turns up in the swamps; a frozen dead body of a missing girl.
JLB hits every beat of the best Robicheaux investigations in this novel. The plot serves simply as a backdrop to his ongoing discussion of a series of themes about the southern States, the nature of the country, of man’s exploitation of the weak.
In this episode it’s sparked into new life by the arrival of Gretchen, a spiky young woman who may be Clete’s daughter. She may also be a mobbed-up contract killer with paper to serve on Dave’s family and friends. Gretchen enlivens the already rich cast of characters; her sharp edges and blunt manner serve as a perfect contrast to Robicheaux’s daughter who, truth be told, is always a little too good to be true.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a dream, just a dream
A song written and performed by Jimmy Clanton of Baton Rouge, Louisiana which became a hit for the lad way back in 1958. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Dangerous Dave
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed
James Lee Burke is, without doubt, a towering talent whose books are a joy even if they don't tick every box in a truly great crime story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kentspur
3.0 out of 5 stars ok but needed some editing.
a little too long. could have used some editing for length and editor could also could have suggested author be a little more subtle in advocating his political and social views. Read more
Published 2 months ago by fcosco
5.0 out of 5 stars Burke at his best.
I now have all James Lee Burke's novels. Just get immersed in his narrative. Neat back references. The inevitable evil character in shifting locations. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. P. E. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars one of his best. up to his usual high standard.
Chose this book because I really enjoy the writings of James Lee Burke. Definitely a 5 star. Well written, excellent plots and sub plots, absorbing characters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jacks grandad
5.0 out of 5 stars Creole Belle
Another cracking read from James Lee Burke.I like the way his stories keep you wanting to keep on reading. The problem is that they leave me short of sleep.It's worth it though.
Published 3 months ago by Joe Gibbin
2.0 out of 5 stars Chandler, it ain't
I should start by saying I've read JLB's books before and enjoyed them. This one, though, I found very hard to finish. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ignatius J Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars The best so far
This is James Lee Burke's finest book so far. It follows almost immediately from the events in 'The Glass Rainbow' but you don't need to have read Rainbow first (although all fans... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Acton
4.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended
Another wonderfully written James Lee Burke novel We have come to expect nothing else This is crime fiction at its best
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A little over the top
I am a big fan of James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux novels but I found this one a little over the top. I have the sense that this is the last in the series.
Published 4 months ago by D. Mitchell
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