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Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) Hardcover – 15 Sep 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 15 Sep 2003
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (15 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743245423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743245425
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.8 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,892,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The refreshing thing about James Lee Burke's new Dave Robicheaux thriller Last Car to Elysian Fields is that Dave, in many details of the case, is allowed to make a mess of things. We always get uneasy when a series detective is too perfect and the death of his wife and the departure of his daughter to college have robbed currently dry alcoholic Dave of his good angels. His bad angel on the other hand, his roughneck detective friend Clete, is still in rumbustious, corner-cutting violent business as he and Dave connect up the dots and find the links between an IRA hit man with a conscience, a long-dead blues singer, a priest crusading against illegal dumping and yet another of Dave's disturbed upper-crust exes. The atmosphere is always important here--the glamour, glitz and squalor of New Orleans and the fragile beauty of the Louisiana coastline and swamps. What is particularly significant here, though, is a sense of the characters having spiritual lives as well as a daily grind of coffee and pancakes and sniffing the fresh sea air; James Lee Burke writes thrillers with real heart. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Burke perfectly fits the description of what a great writer should be."

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dave Robecheaux's life has moved on considerably since the 'Jolie Blon's Bounce' episode. He is now a much more contemporary figure in 'Last Car to Elysian Fields' by James Lee Burke. It is always easy for a character to have no firm time boundaries but this time Burke is keen that we readers will have no doubt about the time of events in his latest novel. Burke has performed something that must be difficult, he has created a void, a space left by Burke's deceased partner Bootsie. This void has a gravity all of its own and its target is poor Dave. This time its not the despair of an alcoholic but rather the mourning and loss a partner must travel through, and hopefully come out the other side. The story has a pace that keeps one hooked as Dave and Clete explore the backround to a rich Louisiana business man. Dave's search is centred in the past where he discovers the reasons behind a prisoners disappearnce. As usual Clete is in the present trying to counsel Dave through his bereavement, as well as acting as a sort of human exocet device without any stealth technology. In an earlier novel Dave met a character called Legion who managed to both outsmart Robecheaux at one point and leave a kiss firmly planted on Dave's lips. Whatever one makes of that incident remains to be seen, however in the present novel Dave is humiliated in a far more personal attack. These strange and disturbing encounters seem part of a greater plot that Burke is planning that fails to fill one with anticipation. There is relatively little of Burke's rich and descriptive prose describing the Louisiana environment this time around. It is this talent that has, I believe, made the novels so addictive. So there may be a sea change taking place, a turbulence that is in itself unpredictable in its effects on the characters. In spite of these observations, a great read.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jun. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Last Car to Elysian Fields marks a major turning point in the Dave Robicheaux novels. Dave seems cut loose from his few normal inhibitions and lives to regret his loose cannon ways. He's clearly a man headed for a crack-up, and his increased vulnerability makes him a more interesting character. The plot itself is as unpredictable and complex as you can imagine without becoming overloaded.
One of the beauties of this book is that any one of several mysteries would have been more than adequate to have made this an above-average book. For example, an ex-IRA hit man, Max Coll, has a gambling debt he cannot pay off. He's given the choice of killing a Catholic priest. In a second plot line, a talented songwriter and singer, Junior Crudup, found his way into the bottom of Louisiana's prison system from which he disappeared with no trace. The prisoner turns out to have been used as a laborer by a prominent war hero who denies remembering the prisoner. In a third plot line, a 17 year-old girl kills herself and two others while driving drunk. She got the booze at a drive-through "daiquiri window" . . . and someone wants to stop the investigation into the daiquiri window. Dave also finds the man who miswired his house . . . and caused Bootsie's death in an earlier book. Someone is bound to pay for that! In the background, there are also porn stars, ex-lovers, sleazeballs, and other assorted criminals. Against this backdrop, Clete Purcel is his most outrageous righter of wrongs.
After the book was over, I found myself thinking that this book must surely deserve to be a five-star book. Then, I realized that the novel leaves so little room for hope and redemption that I found myself more despairing about people than encouraged about them. I hope that in future books, Mr. Burke will also show redemptive qualities as well as the darker side of human nature.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a fan so JLB's Robicheaux is an old friend and I love reading about his exploits. A flawed individual and a sucker for a sob story. A man-of-honour, even. Books are poetic, atmospheric and un-put-downable. As long as JLB writes them, I'll be reading them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you who, like me, did not think Jolie Blon was up to standard please persevere and buy this book. The depth and color are to the standard of the earlier Robicheaux novels. The action and characterisation are superb - and the local color? Well, I lived for two years five miles from New Iberia and the man has the Teche running through his heart.
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Format: Hardcover
Describing New Orleans as "an outdoor mental asylum located on top of a giant sponge," Burke makes the city itself a character in this study of power and justice, murder and mayhem. Once again, Dave Robicheaux is the local homicide detective who tries to sort out crimes and bring evil-doers to justice, as he has done in previous Burke novels. This time, however, we see Robicheaux as a darker, more vengeful investigator, a man willing to do whatever is necessary to bring guilty parties to justice within this notoriously corrupt political and judicial system. His wife has died, his daughter is in college, and without the family support system which previously "humanized" him, he is now a man with nothing to lose.
Accompanying Fr. Jimmie Dolan though Toxic Alley, a wetlands area where waste disposal contractors have poisoned the groundwater and sickened dozens of young black children with their illegal dumping, Robicheaux visits the granddaughter of Junior Crudup, a blues singer and guitarist from the 1950s, who disappeared in Angola Penitentiary. Determined to discover what happened to him, Robicheaux also wants to know who is responsible for the recent beating Fr. Dolan, the Catholic priest. While this plot is unfolding, three seventeen-year-old girls die in a car crash, shortly after stopping at an illegal "drive-by daiquiri store." The manager of the store soon shows up dead, and his connections to other, supposedly legitimate local businessmen come under scrutiny. The business of pornography and drugs bring Mafia hitmen into the city, and soon bedlam breaks out, as the local police, county police, state undercover agents, and the FBI all lay claim to investigation.
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