Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries) Hardcover – 15 Sep 2003
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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."See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another brilliant book from James lee Burke, slowly working my way through the list of Dave Robicheaux. By far my favourite authorPublished 6 months ago by Juan
I absolutely adore all of the Dave Robicheaux series. James Lee Burke is a superb writer and I am never disappointed. I cannot give this less than 5 stars. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jackie Leach
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