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The Glass Rainbow (Dave Robicheaux Book 18) [Kindle Edition]

James Lee Burke
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When Dave Robicheaux gets the call saying his ex-partner Clete Purcel is in jail for felony assault and resisting arrest, bailing him out is instinctive. After all, Clete is the man who saved Dave's life by carrying him down a fire escape with two bullets in his back. But Clete's latest escapade isn't just worrying because it shows his demons are gaining the upper hand; it also brings some of those demons into Dave's life, in the most personal way possible.

The man Clete assaulted, a big-time pimp and meth dealer is a suspect in the murder of a series of young women - but his criminal activities are hidden behind his involvement in a charity aimed at getting young women off the streets. As Dave probes the charity further, he finds that its main sponsor is the smooth-talking scion of a wealthy family, and a man whose motives Dave instinctively mistrusts. He also happens to be Dave's daughter's boyfriend.

Product Description


With the atmosphere as thick as the fug of Louisiana's swamps, Burke displays a poetic vein that sets him apart from most crime writers. He also knows how to tell a cracking story. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A deeply lyrical howl of outrage from a master. (CATHOLIC HERALD)

A superior piece of crime fiction. (SUNDAY BUSINESS POST)


With the atmosphere as thick as the fug of Louisiana's swamps, Burke displays a poetic vein that sets him apart from most crime writers. He also knows how to tell a cracking story. -- Simon Shaw MAIL ON SUNDAY A deeply lyrical howl of outrage from a master. CATHOLIC HERALD A superior piece of crime fiction. SUNDAY BUSINESS POST

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 900 KB
  • Print Length: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (11 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049MPHNU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,953 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glass Rainbow 22 July 2010
James Lee Burke has crafted possibly the best Dave Robicheaux novel in terms of both its literary quality and the storyline. Recent novels have mirrored contemporary reality focussing on the effects of hurricane Katrina for example. In this latest work Lee Burke provides the ecological backdrop, the many canals dug into the Bayou, to what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Robicheaux is ageing and is particularly reflective on death in this novel which begins with the discovery of human remains in Mississipi. Indeed rather like the caduceus death winds itself around the characters and the region like the snake in the symbol.
The investigation into the origins of the human remains leads Robicheaux and his faithful sidelick, Cletus Purcell, into a very sinister group of people whose motives are initially unclear. Using the lead characters daughter, Alifair, in the plot could have been a mistake, however, Lee Burke succeeds and Alifair is quite a credible component of the scene. Some of the prose Lee Burke writes are often stunning and moving and contribute to the overall quality of the work.
Between Robicheaux and Purcell there is a wonderful bond of loyalty and friendship that has lasted throughout the series of novels, both characters have their failings which each recognises and accepts. A little more of Helen Soileau, the Sheriff, comes to light in this novel. Her softness towards Robicheaux is touching and despite her orientation there is a sense of romance in the relationship.
Unlike other Robicheaux novels the bad guys are credible individuals, people that one might meet socially and it is this aspect that highlights the craft Lee Burke has used.
I found the book difficult to put down and I recommend it highly to initiates and newcomers, it is an excellent read.

Mike Alexander, Leeds.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 5 Jan. 2011
I have read all of Burke's novels, even hunting down his earlier westerns. The Robicheaux series however is my favorite. In many ways Dave Robicheaux has been representative of post WWII Louisiana Cajun culture. Themes of mysticism, despair, and elation that tempt the soul have been a thread through these novels. I won't ruin the story by giving away anything, but this is another great addition to the series. For more great viction I have to recommend "The Bridge at Valentine"
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You couldn't even get a job as the Good Thief." 30 July 2010
"That they may successfully do evil with both hands--
The prince asks for gifts,
The judge seeks a bribe,
And the great man utters his evil desire;
So they scheme together. -- Micah 7:3 (NKJV)

This is the best new novel I've read so far in 2010.

The best of the Dave Robicheaux novels draw on deep roots into the antebellum South, long-standing class and racial divisions, mystical visions on the bayou, an unquenchable will for justice, Clete Purcel operating like a one-man demolition derby, and some of the slimiest villains ever conceived and described. Usually, I find one of the elements to seem under or over developed. Not this time. The Glass Rainbow is just right, and I strongly urge you to read and enjoy the book.

Dave is trying to find out who has been killing "throwaway" young women. At the same time, he's deeply disturbed that Alafair, his adopted daughter, is spending time with Kermit Abelard, who seems just right to Alafair . . . but all wrong to Dave. If that sounds like a plot that isn't very deep, you should remember that ninety percent of icebergs stay out of sight. Ultimately, the book succeeds as a dark and desperately pessimistic portrayal of the evil that men do. Unfortunately, it rings true. And that's the book's greatness.

One of the particular strengths of the book is the way that James Lee Burke lets you use your imagination to fill in the blanks that describe the ugliness that has been and is going on.

The action scenes are among the best that Mr. Burke has ever written. Two in particular will stay with you for a long time to come.

Bravo, Mr. Burke!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No letting up; Robicheaux as good as ever 5 Jan. 2013
James Lee Burke has written Dave Robicheaux into crime fiction history and, as with any series, for the new reader, the latest story has to stack up, otherwise why go back and read the rest. Now The Glass Rainbow is not the latest as Creole Belle was release in 2012, but I have not read that yet so this is the marker. I should say at this point that I am a Dave Robicheaux fan of some years, but for me also that means any new novel has to meet some exacting standards.
The Glass Rainbow ticks all the boxes. Burke's descriptive style and restricted range of players forces the reader to either embrace the characterisations and their context or miss the plot almost entirely. Whatever the reality, Burke's portrayal of New Orleans' history, its people and places, the continuing racial undercurrents and its own class struggles, and the bringing of all that to a modern crime drama come across as convincing and compelling. Dave Robicheaux's world maybe a little fanciful, although Burke has a way of persuading one otherwise, but it is far from the fantasy that has seemingly overtaken other contemporary crime writers, there is enough to hang onto here to believe in the possibility that such events might occur.
If you are prepared to spend time getting to know Dave Robicheaux's world then Burke will paint you a romantic picture of some of the best and worst living conditions in America today, and go on to explain why they are the way they are as with the people who inhabit them. Meanwhile, the action scenes are as graphic and as gripping as any you might read. But it is in the dialogue that Burke really sharpens his attack, with the occasional passage that harks back to the very best of Hammett and Spillane, maybe even transcends it.
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