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Dixie City Jam
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This was my first James Lee Burke book but it certainly won't be my last! This is a writer who has been personally recommended to me by the equally great John Connolly and Greg on the book stall on Eastleigh market (the man knows his stuff!). I wish I'd acted on their advice a lot sooner now! This book was fantastic! It has everything that makes a book great. The characters are all louder than life and yet beautifully conflicted. The settings are so well described you can almost feel the humidity. Most importantly, the story is completely involving and keeps you turning the pages at a furious rate.
Dave Robicheaux is an immensely likable hero; a man who's faced down his many demons and come out of it stronger and with a pretty clear sense of what's acceptable in the battle against evil. Plus he's as tough as nails and not adverse to smacking a bad guy around the head with a shovel!
The novel also features that other staple of a great thriller, a formidable and ultra creepy villain in the shape of new wave Nazi Will Bulchalter. A man so insidiously evil you'll need to read on in the hope that he's going to get his come uppance!
I won't detail the plot because a synopsis can be read above, but, safe to say, there's not an ounce of flab on it (and if there was it'd be a beautifully written ounce of flab!).
In short, this is a fantastic book and should be read by any self respecting crime fan!
Other authors I enjoy are Michael Connolly, Jeffrey Deaver, Nelson Demille, Robert Crais and, in my opinion the only real competition to Burke's wonderfully lyrical prose, John Connolly.
If you like those guys, then you're going to love this!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another outing for Burke's ex NOPD homicide detective Dave Robicheaux and partner Clete Purcell. This time, the pair are battling Neo Nazis who are obsessed by a WWII submarine which sank of the coast of Louisiana. As usual, there is plenty of tough talk and brutal behaviour from Dave and Clete (The Bobsey Twins), as they serve justice in their own uncompromising way. This wasn't my favourite of the series (try "In the Electric Mist..." first), but it is entertaining, and Burke's descriptions of Louisiana are as evocative as ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2015
The story of a Nazi submarine being found off the shores of Louisiana 70 years after the Second World War may sound fanciful, but the key plot device in this pacey thriller is for real. As I was reading I thought: 'That's crazy.' Yet it rung a bell and I looked up a news story of an actual U-boat - it described how people had been searching for the sub for many years.

Anyway, JLB has a remarkable knack for taking real life and weaving it into his fiction (I especially enjoyed The Tin Roof Blowdown about Katrina and New Orleans in this respect). Neo Nazis soon turn up in the hunt for the sub in Dixie Jam City and Detective Dave Robicheaux gets mixed up (often in a very painful way). The fascists and various morally ambiguous local businessmen are up against each other - or perhaps in cahoots. It's DDR's job to unravel the mess.

One quote from Clete Purcell, the detective's hard-living buddy, stood out: "Life in there [he's referring to parts of New Orleans] is about as important as water breaking out the bottom of a paper bag. The city's going to hell, mon." It's an example of JLB's consistent use of his fiction to make social comment... and of course his gift for colourful, colloquial language.

Dixie City Jam is another good one...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Dixie City Jam" (1994) was the eighth novel published by American author James Lee Burke in his 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, in 1936, and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast.

In his previous work in this series, Burke has frequently mentioned a German submarine, sunk with all hands aboard during World War II, underwater in the Gulf of Mexico. So is the twisted wreckage of an oil rig that exploded while Robicheaux's father was working aboard: his father's body, too, is under the salt of the Gulf of Mexico, now so much in the news due to another recent oil rig explosion. In "Dixie City Jam," the buried Nazi submarine assumes central importance when Hippo Bimstone, a powerful Jewish activist from New Orleans, requests that Robicheaux, formerly of the New Orleans Police Department, now of the New Iberia Sheriff's Office, locate the sunken vessel. The beginning of Robicheaux's search is enough to draw a neo-Nazi psychopath, Will Buchalter, who insists that the Holocaust was a hoax, to town, and it seems Buchalter will stop at nothing to find the sub first. Buchalter is pretty much Burke's usual hit man/bad guy, funny-looking, homicidal, psychotic. Of course, this being a book by Burke, New Orleans wise guys soon start coming out of the woodwork too, for reasons of their own: we have here Tommie (Bobalouba) Lonighan, and the Calucci brothers, Max and Bobo. And, to be sure, Clete Purcel, Robicheaux's former partner on the New Orleans Police Department, an overweight, heavy-drinking, brawling, heavily-scarred survivor of the city's tough Irish Channel neighborhood, as are the gangsters, is around to help the detective. We'll also meet the Reverend Oswald Flat and his wife; and a mysterious nun, Sister Marie Guilbeaux, who may have more to do with Buchalter than is helpful for the detective. Then there are some good cops, such as Lucinda Bergeron, and some dirty cops, such as Nate Baxter.

Robicheaux is of Cajun ancestry, and is still reliving the nightmare of his service in Vietnam. He has a drinking problem, and a tendency to violence. In addition to working for the sheriff, he still owns and operates a boat rental and bait business, while living in the house in which he was actually born. He is assisted in the operation of his business by a black man, Batist, whom we've met before, and will see again. Robicheaux is, by this point, on his third wife, Bootsie, who has developed the generally fatal disease lupus. The detective's quietly, illegally adopted daughter, an ethnic Hispanic, whom he's named Alafair, has morphed into a fairly ordinary American teenager, and she's got her pet, the three-legged raccoon Tripod, whom we've met before and will meet again.

The novel at hand is rather longer than Burke's usual, and is shot through with discussion of New Orleans' music: Sam Philips' Memphis Sun Studios, where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis got their starts. Jimmie Clanton's "Just a Dream" the most popular song of Robicheaux's youth in 1957. And the locally- beloved Fat Man, Fats Domino. Burke also gives us a couple of pretty grotesque characters, a hallmark of Southern literature. He continues to write with energy, passion and power, and the longer length seems, if anything, to have given him a bigger canvas than usual to work upon. In fact, like Michael Connelly, the creator of a detective whom he named Hieronymus Bosch, after the great 16th century Dutch artist that used all his canvas to the corners, jamming it full of grotesque characters, Burke in this book seems to have used every inch of his larger canvas, and has himself given us some memorable grotesques.
More than anything else, seems to me, in Burke's work, we'll enjoy some of the most beautiful, knowledgeable writing ever committed to paper about the flora, fauna, geography, and human occupants of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, now so much in the news. 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, including the more recent Jolie Blon's Bounce, and Purple Cane Road have been New York Times bestsellers. But "Dixie City Jam" is certainly one of the more outstanding books in this series.
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on 5 July 2015
Robcheaux novels never fail to hit the target for me. Well written and the stories hang together beautifully. So evocative of the steamy south, and the ever present dangers that surround our hero. Some feel that the series is a little samey, but I don't care, I look forward to the next in line, which I am reading in order.
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on 23 November 2014
Good story, well paced although it is hard to understand how Clet Purcell has managed to get to the age he is? Notwithstanding, it a very enjoyable read and up there with "....Confederate Dead"
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on 1 September 2013
Another gripping tale featuring Dave Robicheaux. The author paints wonderful imagery of place and character, bringing the past history of Louisiana to the present day.
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on 11 March 2015
Bought for my husband who is a fan of James Lee Burke - I wouldn't chose to read his books myself!
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on 29 October 2009
One of the best writers of our time, brilliant story as always well paced and just so enjoyable.
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on 3 March 2015
Amazing as per all of his books
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