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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best got better
This novel is the latest in the Dave Robicheaux series. Robicheaux is Burkes flawed hero; an ex-alcoholic cop and a man so basically fair and decent that he almost represents another age. A violent man too, when pushed.

The Tin Roof Blowdown takes place against a backdrop of Hurrican Katrina and the destruction it caused to New Orleans. Called from his local...
Published on 21 Aug 2007 by Mr. P. Hobson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a difficult read in places
An interesting and nicely detailed crime thriller based upon real events, namely Hurricane Katrina. The premise of the story makes for a good read generally but things do seem a little confusing in places. I found it hard to follow at times, partly because James Lee Burke's work is completely new to me and I am not familiar with his leading character Dave Robicheaux,...
Published on 6 Jan 2008 by The Fault


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best got better, 21 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. P. Hobson "Paul Hobson" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This novel is the latest in the Dave Robicheaux series. Robicheaux is Burkes flawed hero; an ex-alcoholic cop and a man so basically fair and decent that he almost represents another age. A violent man too, when pushed.

The Tin Roof Blowdown takes place against a backdrop of Hurrican Katrina and the destruction it caused to New Orleans. Called from his local district of New Iberia to help out in beseiged Big Sleazy, Robicheaux gets caught up in the dissapearance of a Catholic Priest, a random shooting that turns out to be anything but and the theft of money and jewels from a member of the mob. Burke weaves a story so involving and creates characters that you care for so much that it was difficult for me not to read this book in one sitting.

Burke does not deal in black and white but in the struggle between light and dark (and the grey areas in between) that wages in all of us. His wrongdoers are often people who have made poor choices or ordinary people caught up in circumstances that they feel unable to control.

Dave and Cletus (his ex-partner and the sort of man we'd all love to have at our side when our backs are against the wall)are characters so real in my mind that I can think of very few authors capable of drawing them so vividly. This book is a triumph and although it is part of a series of books about Dave Robicheaux I would not let that stop you reading it. Read it and I guarrantee you'll want to start at the begining and read them all; it really is that good.

James Lee Burke is one of America's finest authors and I would urge you to check him out. Not only is he an excellent storyteller but as a social commentator on the basic human condition and the immense greed and wickedness that thrives in the 21st Century, he has no peers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blowing hot and cold, 13 Jan 2010
By 
Catherine Murphy "drcath" (Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Paperback)
I fell in love with the writing of James Lee Burke when I came across "Cimarron Rose". At last, I thought, a crime writer who dares to use an adjective here and there, even, gasp, adverbs. Burke has an expressive flow to his prose which carries you along, effortlessly, as though transported on a current of warm air. This makes his work ideally suited to settings in the southern states - the fictional town of Cimarron Rose is located in Texas - where the heat, dust and occasional hurricane provide the ideal backdrop for his laid back style.

For those paying attention the word "hurricanes" was a clue. "The Tin Roof Blowdown" is set in New Orleans at the time of That hurricane. Dave Robicheaux, hero of many previous Burke novels, witnesses the destruction of his city. Then he sees it destroyed a second time, by another blow down. Then a third, by government inaction and the profiteers who descend like vultures on the corpse. Robicheaux's city dies three times, just like his comrades during a fire fight in Vietnam long ago. And there are other deaths too. Two looters are shot in a wealthy suburb and Robicheaux must find the killer, his investigation bringing his own family under threat as powerful men seek to conceal exactly what the looters had stolen.

It's a lot simpler than it sounds. Burke isn't a fan of tight plotting and is quite capable of shamelessly introducing a new suspect two thirds of the way into the tale if he feels the action is starting to flag. He's not averse to the occasional bout of improbability too - how many rapists are stupid enough to leave the stuffed toy carried by their last victim in the back of their van, along with the rope used to bind the victim? How likely is it that a PI pal of Robicheaux's would happen to take a look inside the van and put evidence, crime and perp together?

Not very likely. But Burke's prose allows him to skim over these rough spots. A more serious weakness is the spiritual note he attempts to strike. Mysterious lights appear under the flood waters when a saintly priest is attacked. One of the rapists seeks redemption and is last seen sailing a boat towards nothing so commonplace as land. And the devil is found lurking too of course, setting the scene for a final showdown and fairly predictable conclusion. This element mixes uneasily with the rest and I can't help feeling Burke uses it as a short cut explanation for his characters' motivations. But I'll still be back for more.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph - an insider's view of misery, 13 Aug 2007
By 
Ms. Elaine Bull "grassyhay" (Burton-on-Trent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Once again Burke delivers!
We all saw the images of the misery caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans now we can read the thoughts of a man who saw it all.
Once again marvellous characters - some good some bad - ain't we all!
The reader can actually smell the distruction and putrefaction of a society brought to its knees by nature and the failures of the powers that be. Here nature wins - both the elements and the innate "nature" of man!
A book which is very hard to put down but one which you hope never ends!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disquieting and very dark, 31 Aug 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Paperback)
This is my first James Lee Burke novel but unlike some of the other reviewers here I didn't find it a problem not knowing the rest of the series. While this certainly fits the crime fiction mould, it spills over the edges so much that it's almost a crime itself to confine it to such a narrow genre. It's dark and gritty and consistently disturbing, and the subtexts include Dante's Inferno (which gets name checked in the book) as well as the more apocalyptic parts of the bible: particularly the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Burke gives us a vision of a kind of hell, but one which is shot through with rare but precious rays of light.

I found this an uncomfortable book to read (in the same way that I found Munich an uncomfortable and difficult film to watch) and had to read something lighter in between. But that in itself is the mark of a writer who is able to transcend the boundaries of crime fiction and who has, here, created something far more morally and emotionally unsettling than I would usually expect to find in a crime/thriller novel. Most of all Burke lays out a coherent moral vision which might be rooted in the bible but which is completely at home in C21st America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a crime novel....., 28 Sep 2010
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Paperback)
Hurricane Katrina tears across Louisiana wreaking havoc as she passes. The wind and the water are both destructive forces and cause many casualties. But there are other destructive forces at work - criminals taking advantage of the breakdown of society and government officials who choose to respond slowly to the disaster.

Dave Robicheaux is tasked with investigating the shooting of two looters. Were they murdered by local vigilantes or by Otis Baylor who still has the vivid memories of his daughter being raped by black youths?

James Lee Burke has created a frightening picture of a disintegrating society. He brings alive the panic and the fear of the people during the worst of the storm and also their despair in the aftermath when help comes so slowly. As usual with this writer there are some fascinating characters: Clete Purcell, an alcoholic bondsman, Jude LeBlanc, a cancer-ridden priest addicted to morphine and Otis Baylor, a principled insurance man.
The plot is complex and involves thefts of drugs, money and "blood diamonds", money laundering, gang warfare and a psychopath on the trail of Robicheaux's family. Actually the plot was too overblown and complicated and was not really necessary in such an atmospheric and powerful book.

Burke is one of the best modern crime writers today - he writes with such assurance, passion and skill. This is much more than a crime novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usual sky-high standard, 6 May 2008
By 
S. Taylor (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Hardcover)
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James Lee Burke has been writing blisteringly, unflinching portraits of the less seemy side of his beloved New Orleans for decades. It seems fitting that he has written the most visceral and gripping account if the city's lowest ebb, and done it in a way that won't be forgotten.

Sparkling, smouldering stuff from start to finish. Get his earlier books if you need continiuty, but dive straight in to see a true master at his best. Anyone who's ever enjoyed Harlen Coben or James Elroy would do well to check this out, it's every bit as good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivers the Devastation of New Orleans by Katrina with Passionate Intensity, 8 Aug 2011
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Paperback)
"The Tin Roof Blowdown," (2007) is the 16th novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his mighty New York Times bestselling Detective Dave Robicheaux series. Like the earlier books of the series, and most of the series' works to follow, the book, a Southern noir, police procedural/mystery, is set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, more or less home country for Burke, who was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast.

This time around, Burke has collected and disciplined himself enough to deal with the way Hurricane Katrina, a storm with greater impact than the atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, destroyed the Gulf Coast, and particularly Southern Louisiana/New Orleans, in August 2005. And, I expect, this book has more than satisfied the many of his fans who had been waiting for it. The book is overwhelming, full of Burke's, and Robicheaux's, pain and anger brought on by Katrina and its aftermath. After all, Burke has used this series for many years to show his love for the land, the flora and fauna, and the cultures of New Orleans, and it is his reaction to the hurricane's devastation of the city that dominates the book.

There are mysteries, of course. New Iberia detective Robicheaux has been deployed to the Big Easy in its agony. In its post-apocalyptic landscape, he must hunt looters and vigilantes, and find two serial rapists, and a morphine-addicted priest.

Burke attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute; later received B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, a pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps. His work has twice been awarded an Edgar for Best Crime Novel of the Year. At least eight of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

Burke delivers energy and power, and, to quote the great 20th century poet William Butler Yeats, passionate intensity, in this work. I have a hard time imagining another one, fiction or nonfiction, that can summon up Hurricane Katrina and its horrifying aftermath, brought upon the city as much by incompetence, indifference, and greed, as by the raw power of nature, with a more passionate intensity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soaked in atmosphere, 28 Jan 2008
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tin Roof Blowdown (Paperback)
Set in and around New Orleans during and following destructive hurricane Katrina, the Tin Roof Blowdown is a complex piece of crime fiction. Graphic descriptions of the terror and destruction wrought by Katrina, and frequent reminders of the ineptitude of the authorities in handling the tragedy, form the backdrop as the drama unfolds. Drama involving the disappearance of a young priest, the murder of a young black rapist and an innocent black teenager with the father of the rapist's victim being accused, and somehow the involvement of organised crime.

With the NOPD overwhelmed, Detective Dave Robicheaux is called in to investigate. As he works in the company of his old friend and ex-cop Clete Purcel, Robicheaux finds his own family comes under attack form a deranged .

Soaked in atmosphere and full of detailed description, and not fearing to make political comment, this is a thoroughly involving story. Part narrated by Robicheaux, and part related in the third person, a devise which while providing the full picture of events also provides a personal view on matters, we get a clear picture of the intricacies of the plot; and such is the skill of the writer that we not only see inside Robicheaux's mind, but we can actually hear his voice when he speaks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a difficult read in places, 6 Jan 2008
By 
The Fault - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Hardcover)
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An interesting and nicely detailed crime thriller based upon real events, namely Hurricane Katrina. The premise of the story makes for a good read generally but things do seem a little confusing in places. I found it hard to follow at times, partly because James Lee Burke's work is completely new to me and I am not familiar with his leading character Dave Robicheaux, who features in a series of JLB novels. Hence some of the references to previous novels were lost on me. I also found the plot somewhat confusing in places, finding it difficult to piece things together. I think because of this I failed to enjoy the book in perhaps the way I should have. If you have a good attention span or are familiar with James Lee Burke's other work then this is certainly worth reading. Otherwise I think new readers like me will struggle in places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Grit, 15 Dec 2007
By 
Mr. T. Brandon "timmy88" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Hardcover)
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While the Hurricane Katrina disaster truly was a terrible event and one ripe for storytelling, James Lee Burke has taken it and made it as bleak as possible. With interweaving and often confusing storylines involving mostly unlikeable and morally bankrupt individuals we are presented with a dire situation with extra grit thrown in.

What could have been a realistic tale of survival became an over the top crime thriller told using cliched thriller characters. The storylines become so horrific and confused this novel is both hard to follow and to swallow. A good opportunity to properly examine the disaster on a human was lost, though Burke does succeed in part in presenting just how catastrophic Katrina had been.
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The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (Paperback - 26 Jun 2008)
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