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4.3 out of 5 stars89
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2013
I have long been a fan of James Lee Burke, in particular his Dave Robicheaux series, and this latest saga now tops my list! He continues his delicate balance of good vs. the very worst evil set in amazingly beautiful prose descriptions of the environment where the sometimes disturbing characters live, work and develop their intriguing relationships. Great regular characters mixing with the new. Highly recommend it to Burke fans or new readers looking for a new literary escape.
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on 6 February 2014
My bookshelves attest to how much I have followed and enjoyed James Lee Burke over the years. He really is right at the top. This latest has many of the Lee Burke touches - atmosphere, beautiful but tough writing, strong characterisation. That said, the overall feel is that it never really knows where it is going. And, above all, it proved one of the most unpleasant books I've read for a long time, full of gratuitous sexual torture. In retrospect, I wish I'd passed.
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on 6 September 2014
I have read all the Robicheaux books and mostly they are brilliant. I love his descriptive evocative writing, in fact our recent trip to the States was in part a desire to see live oaks with spanish moss.
His plots are sometimes chaotic but always in the past I have been captivated by his lyrical style of writing.
Now I come to his latest book and although it has all the hallmarks of his other books it appeared to me to have become almost a parody of the other Robicheaux books.
Robicheaux himself has become pious and Clete is completely ridiculous. The idea that this fat old drunk would attract the attention of a much younger rich beautiful woman beggars belief.
Alafair is irritatingly good and Gretchen as a character is wholly unconvincing.
The action has relocated to Montana, this of course might subconsciously account for my irritation as no live oaks dripping with spanish moss there but it did not stop the author from repeating overblown descriptions of the landscapes, i think use of the word primeval may have been overdone.
The plot was nonsensical, the idea that a couple of tourists to Montana would almost accidentally get caught up with the
machinations of a serial killer defies belief and i had to keep jumping off my reality tree just to finish the book.
Local law enforcement are ignoring the evil living amongst them and it of course falls to Dave and Clete and various other hangers on to ensure that good will overcome evil, oh really!

This is a lazy book and far too reliant on what has worked in the past, a parody, a cliche and i think it is time to put Dave and Clete out of their misery.
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on 30 October 2013
Having read all James Lee Burke books, this was the pinnacle of his career. All we have learned about his characters came together in a thrilling and nail biting way.

I literally could not put the book down and was eager to read more progress in this adventure.

His character descriptions which are another of his trademarks surpassed expectations.

I recommend this fine read at over 500 pages it will keep you entertained and onb the edge of your seat for some days.
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on 4 September 2013
The older James Lee gets, the better his writing. He brings the setting into such beautiful clarity and his philosophy is always absorbing and interesting. So much so, you just want to go there. My America is James` America.
Dave, Clete and now the two girls remain fascinating with time bombs always ticking and the new "villains" are as ever, scary, violent and doomed.
A longer than usual book but remains gripping to the end. Will he write more?
It is so refreshing to see quality and work maintained through a writers career, where so many others get rich, lazy and begin to just turn the handle.
Well done James Lee Burke. Another winner.
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on 31 October 2013
Classic Dave, Clete, Alafair and the most entertaining Gretchen Horowitz. If i asked myself the question "how do they get in so much trouble" constantly it would be difficult to answer, so i enjoy the fact that the book is written and therefore the story takes place.

Beautifully constructed and with an air of the complex world going on in Clete's ever more confused mental state, this one takes them again to the edge.. Classic Robicheaux!

Loved loved loved it and really struggled to put it down and get myself off to work!
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on 26 January 2014
This is my first review for Amazon and it may as well be about a series of books that have been an intermittent part of my life for as long as I remember and an author who is second to none in his chosen, or any genre.
Well the good news is that James Lee Burke and the unholy Bobbsey Twins from homicide are as good as ever. The author has clearly thought about his characters and the direction he wants to take them in in the last few books and maybe he has realised that in real time Clete and Dave would be running riot in a retirement community somewhere in their seventies. Real life time and book time don't equate right, but neither are they stuck in a Simpsons style never time where yellow hair and skin never goes grey and grandpa is eternally senile.
So in this case JLB has had pass the buck a bit and extend his cast of characters with Gretchen becoming a much harder edge and troubled version of Clete and Alafair threatening to emulate her father in a similar way. In addition there's Albert who seems to have no obvious relevance to the plot and ex nun Molly who gives the useless sheriff as good as she gets. And then there is Wyatt Dixon. Wyatt Dixon is like the man with no name with his brain messed up by a psychiatrists' collection of drugs and is well worthy of his amount of stage time. And the hovering presence in the background of the stalker in Montana who may or may not be serial killer Asa Surette. Whoever he is only someone as practiced in the art of evoking gut wrenching disgust could make you able to almost smell the fecal stench he carries which layers of deodorant can never quite erase.
So yes this is JLB doing what all established writers must crave doing and developing and maybe to a certain extent taking risks with what they have. To those who don't like it this is messing with the mix. To those of us, (and as a first time published writer a mega distance behind him I do) who do like it it is opening out the envelope so that other characters other than Dave and Clete, (always via Dave) can strut their stuff and enrich the overall experience by speaking with their own voices. And some of those voices carry the authentic echo of nightmare.
I"ll say one final thing about the Dave Robicheaux books which are quite unique to my mind. They are without doubt both the best and most disturbing series of american stories about a detective and a private investigator, (for you could hardly just call them detective stories) I have ever read and expect to. They are never an easy read but always repay the experience a hundredfold. The biggest compliment I can give them is that reading one be makes me want to read them all over again. Even though I know this will never ever be an easy experience.
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on 11 December 2013
best book of its type that I have read for many years. the characters really come alive. the way he describes the scenery and weather conditions makes me feel as though I am actually there. James Lee Burke has the ability to create pictures from his writing. Absolutely brilliant book, could not put it down.
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on 7 October 2013
I have read and bought all of James Le Burke's books. He is a fabulous writer and terrifically skilled. "Light of the World" starts very well but declines as Alafair and Gretchen continue to appear. Mr.Burke is a very male writer, always has been. I feel he should remain true to himself. I admire Mr. Burke greatly and feel his characters Roubicheaux and Purcell are quite personal to him and should remain that way. I think these women added nothing and rather spoiled the book. I write this, as a woman. Great respect to Mr.Burke.
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on 11 July 2015
I think JLB's Dave Robicheaux novels are great, the way he articulates the leading characters feelings is unusually nothing short of poetic and a joy to read. All of the novels explore some of the darker parts of the human condition and in some respects this novel is no different. Regrettably this novel lacks the poetry and humour which characterise and balance the previous outings for Dave and Clete and as a result it is just dark, dark, dark.

Not only is the light missing from this novel there is an attempt to brink the leading characters daughters Alafair and Gretchen into the story, who knows why they are both damn well annoying; one moment they are super intelligent, double hard killing machines and the next gullible and feeble idiots and so very one dimensional, perhaps JLB is better able to write for middle aged male characters than young female?

The plot line is not credible, it's all just so unlikely and contrived, with the seemingly omnipotent and immortal super villain with a score to settle running wild in small town Montana.

I am sad because for me this is the end for Dave and Clete, it seems they have run out of stories. I wish them a long and happy retirement fishing on the bayou.
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