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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BIG novel with ambitions to be epic - 4-
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...
Published 21 months ago by Blue in Washington

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A little over the top
I am a big fan of James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux novels but I found this one a little over the top. I have the sense that this is the last in the series.
Published 1 month ago by D. Mitchell


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BIG novel with ambitions to be epic - 4-, 2 Aug 2012
By 
Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creole Belle (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. It is probably overwritten and overlong by 150 pages, but there is enough brilliance and passion here to make up for the occasional repetition and overstatement.

*I was reading this in a week when the current, popular governor of Louisiana, campaigning for the presumptive Republican candidate for president, was condemning the Affordable Healthcare Act--this from a man who presides over a state where a quarter of the population has no healthcare at all and is struggling with major problems in education, environment, transportation, etc.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're back..., 24 July 2012
By 
Alexander D. James (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creole Belle (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Lee Burke back on form, 30 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Creole Belle (Paperback)
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excruciatingly beautiful epic, 26 Aug 2012
By 
Stefano Sarao "Dino Sauro" (Milan, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux) (Hardcover)
Barely recovered from the serious wounds they suffered in "The Glass Rainbow", Dave Robicheaux and Dave Purcel are at it again, two mythological creatures fighting evil in Lousiana's bayou country. And it really doesn't matter that, by rights, they should be in their late sixties or early seventies and playing a relaxed game of golf instead of squeezing rounds out of semi-automatic weapons or mixing it up with hired guns and assorted bottom-feeders. As James Lee Burke aptly puts it: "the Bobbsey Twins from Homicide are forever". Dave and Clete are larger than life as usual, and Dave's daughter Alafair shows once again she can think for herself and will make her own choices. A new amazing character, Gretchen, joins their ranks in "Creole Belle". But I'll say no more. You've got to read the book (and count the days til the next one, like I'm doing).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best Robicheaux yet, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Creole Belle (Hardcover)
James Lee Burke is one of the greatest living writers on the planet - and I don't even qualify that with 'crime'. I suspect we'll one day find his stories being studied at universities, the writing is of such an awe-inspiring quality. But like everyone who produces a long term series using the same characters and setting, some are better than others - and this was so good I felt like crying when I finished it. The creation of Gretchen Horowitz as Clete's foul-mouthed, kick-ass daughter is inspired - she is a female Clete, with all of his flaws and virtues, and truly gives the book an extra layer of emotional depth. The sense of mortality hovering around Dave and Clete's shoulders as they do battle against corruption is tangible, and weighs the whole story down with a feeling akin to doom - all the usual atmospheric touches are there, the music, the ghosts, the memories of a Louisiana gone by. The prose is astonishing, the plot complex, the characters always multi-dimensional. I didn't think he'd be able to top the tin Roof Blowdown, but Creole Belle did it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best crime writer of all time(in my opinion), 20 Dec 2012
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I'd give it six stars if I could. Just Brilliant!!
James Lee Burke's prose flows from page to page in a golden stream of words that never ends until it ends (the book that is)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever.!, 8 Dec 2012
By 
BJO Tucker "Barry Tucker" (Cambridge,England) - See all my reviews
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Having read almost everything he has written I would have to admit I am addicted to his style, poetry and philosphy and the environment of the deep South in which his stories are largely based. It really is remarkable that this latest effort is still so readable and enjoyable. Well done James Lee. Please let us have more. No handle cranked here!
Submerging myself completely in the world he creates is still a great experience and when it was over, I felt a great loss.
This latest is full of the usual intrigue, danger and violence and all the well known characters perform their parts as we have come to expect. The author and the characters are all ageing, as am I, but I do hope there is more to come.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Commentary on the BP Disaster and the Nature of Evil, 28 Aug 2012
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creole Belle (Paperback)
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." -- Romans 12:21 (NKJV)

In Creole Belle, James Lee Burke ups the literary qualities of his prose to new levels of poetic imagery. He also does a remarkable job of portraying the problems of perception and memory in ways that resonate more powerfully than any scientific description you'll ever read. I was impressed with the effective way that Clete Purcel seems to have been encompassed by Dave Robicheaux's visions, adding a more romantic aspect to this story.

That said, the outlines of the story will seem very familiar to those who are long-time fans of the series. It's good versus evil once again with a vengeance. Although I don't mind the same story being retold with new garments, in this case there's a reaching out to the evils of Europe that comes across as quite a stretch for a story that's obviously based in the recent past. It felt like such overreaching to me that the story's magic spell was dimmed for me.

So what's the story about on the surface level? Dave is recovering from being shot in The Glass Rainbow. A generous dose of painkillers is affecting his perceptions. When Tee Jolie Melton seems to visit, he's not sure. Because she's missing, everyone else doubts Dave's memory. He's not so sure. As usual, the search goes against the grain for everyone else, but Dave proceeds regardless ... turning up some very curious events and some highly untrustworthy people. Burke takes his time honing in on the evil, beautifully building characters and conundrums in the process. It's like sitting down with someone form southern Louisiana who wants to tell you a story about the old days in the French Quarter. It's going to take awhile, but you probably won't mind. It's quite an experience to listen to such a beautifully told tale.

To me the highlight of the book is the introduction of a complex and highly original character that is connected to Clete's part of the plot. I won't say more ... lest I spoil the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of his best. up to his usual high standard., 16 April 2014
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Chose this book because I really enjoy the writings of James Lee Burke. Definitely a 5 star. Well written, excellent plots and sub plots, absorbing characters. Would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, intense detective thriller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creole Belle, 15 April 2014
Another cracking read from James Lee Burke.I like the way his stories keep you wanting to keep on reading. The problem is that they leave me short of sleep.It's worth it though.
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Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux)
Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux) by James Lee Burke (Hardcover - 17 July 2012)
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