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Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux) Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781409108979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409108979
  • ASIN: 140910897X
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 521,968 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.

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Review

"This tale plays out much like "The Glass Rainbow--"intimations of mortality; melancholic musing on the pillaging of once-Edenic South Louisiana; cathartic, guns-blazing climax--but, as always, Burke brings something new to the table . . . Dave and Clete may still be unbowed, but they are certainly broken--and all the more interesting for it."--"Booklist" (starred review)

Book Description

A gorgeously written, visceral thriller by James Lee Burke.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Alexander D. James on 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 By Richard Carter on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Jun. 2014
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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