Great author but I m not enjoying his subject matter and plot choices.I love this author s writing style, the phrases he uses, his rich and creative descriptions, and the way he develops characters In my review of Black Cherry Blues I give examples of some of his phrases He is a great writer, but his subject matter is too depressing for me He writes about man s cruelty to man, torture and killing of blacks, women, prisoners, and others, and getting away with it I ve read three of his books, but with great reluctance I do not plan to read any.Dave is a flawed hero but a good cop There were two instances of hero stupidity which bothered me One example Dave asks his friend Lou to be his backup when Dave went to a dangerous place to meet someone They arrive, that person is not there, so Dave tells Lou to leave but Dave will wait a little longer So Lou leaves and then something bad happens to Dave.I was also troubled by the way the author had Hog Man delay telling things to Dave Hog Man knew things But the first time Dave talks to him, Hog Man just tells him part of something The second time, Hog Man tells Dave to come to him for info, but then doesn t tell Dave anything The third time Hog Man calls Dave offering to tell him the rest I didn t see a reason or motive for Hog Man to keep doing this if he was going to tell it all eventually I felt the author was playing me, disrespecting me It was a contrivance, not supported with thought.Technically there is a happy ending with some but not all of the bad guys dealt with.There is some fantasy Dave talks to the ghost of a civil war general several times That was interesting, but it didn t add to the main story and it wasn t complete enough on it s own There was a neat occurrence linking the two stories toward the end But something should have been done with the secondary story.The narrator Mark Hammer was good.DATA Narrative mode 1st person Dave Robicheaux Unabridged audiobook length 14 hrs and 5 mins Swearing language strong but rarely used Sexual language none Number of sex scenes one referred to Setting around 1993 Louisiana Book copyright 1993 Genre mystery suspense with a little fantasy. The best written Robicheaux so far, and that is a huge compliment in itself as the series is known for its silky prose Burke insists on clawing and pounding at the glass ceiling like it is the coffin in which he has been buried alive till it is shattered and he can set the bar higher still The writing is mesmerizing, picture it as a pristine lake in the midst of a forest fire, it details a decrepit world filled with corruption, mayhem and despair but still retains an innate beauty Many authors try to give the setting a vibrant personality of its own George Pelecanos comes to mind, he describes Washington DC in minuscule detail in each of his novels , some succeed but very few do it like Burke He describes Louisiana like the city was his unrequited first love The descriptions are beyond vivid, they are intimate portrayals of life in and around the place.The plot has threads than few of the earlier Robicheaux books put together, organized crime, a depraved serial killer and a cold case combine to keep the narrative moving and the tension rising Robicheaux is an adept cop but he is no Sherlock so the cases are solved in a procedural manner However unlike other stories of same ilk, here the investigations don t drag, the excellent hard boiled dialogue, an overlooked part of the series keeps the exchanges terse and always a joy to read.No crime series has such a rich cast of supporting characters and like most Robicheaux books the best of the bunch is the villain Julie Balboni, yet another character with ties to Robicheaux s past is the pick of the supporting cast this time round And there is Robicheaux himself He matures with every book, he was lost in The Neon Rain, broken in Heaven s Prisoners, grieving in Black Cherry Blues, discovering a sliver of redemption in A Morning for Flamingoes and slowly losing it again in A Stained White Radiance In this book, he is angry and tired and he is almost on a crusade against a system that does not work His morality is the first victim to his sense of justice and and indignant rage This character development unlike say Harry Bosch who has only been angry for almost 20 books now keeps the series feel so rich and realistic in spite of the fact that Robicheaux has close shaves with death in a day than all the inhabitants of an ICU combined.There is a mystical paranormal subplot where Robicheaux sees a dead army Captain the titular Confederate Dead that feels strangely out of place in a gritty crime novel It adds a surreal sheen to the writing but it is integrated only haphazardly and tangentially to the plot Stylistically the gamble pays off, it adds to the atmosphere but plot wise it becomes a constant distraction It is the only reason I refuse to give it the perfect rating Violence and bleakness as always are constant companion to Robicheaux and unless they turn anyone off, all fans of good fiction should give this series a chance Rating 4 5. Back In Print At Last, James Lee Burke S Suspense Packed Sixth Novel In His Bestselling Dave Robicheaux Series Delivers A Heart Pounding Bayou Manhunt And Features One Of The Colest, Earthiest Heroes In Thrilerdom Entertainment WeeklyWhen Hollywood Invades New Iberia Parish To Film A Civil War Epic, Restless Specters Waiting In The Shadows For Louisiana Detective Dave Robicheaux Are Reawakened Ghosts Of A History Best Left Undisturbed Hunting A Serial Killer Preying On The Lawless Young, Robicheaux Comes Face To Face With The Elusive Guardians Of His Darkest Torments Who Hold The Key To His Ultimate Salvation Or A Final, Fatal Downfall Dave, Dave, Dave Your moral compass seems to move constantly depending on the circumstances The inner demons never go away either so you re in a constant battle with yourself Maybe easing up on yourself would help Perhaps, but probably not And how would you do that anyway A psychiatrist couch That s not going to happen Thank god for Alafair and Bootsie who help you keep the hands on the moral compass in the green area and out of the red and yellow although sometimes they can t even help you You can only help yourself and it s a constant battle, we know And if not for these colorful and crooked old classmates of yours, your life would be less eventful but then I could not enjoy the adventure you take me on each reading when I can t turn the pages fast enough Dave, you had multiple storylines this time around murder you witnessed 30 years ago serial killer on the loose making of a movie about the Civil War a drunken actor who insists he s seen war torn solders your own visions and an old schoolmate and not so upstanding citizen who moved back to New Iberia for the movie Looks like he may have a monetary interest in the movie as a scam Plus, Dave, there are a number of secondary storylines such as your new temporay partner from the FBI, Rosie Gomez, who has her own demons and moral compass to contend with On top of all that s going on, you, dear Dave, through your boss, you have to take the heat from the Chamber of Commerce and other local business owner s because these folks are bringing in money from the picture being shot in the area Morally, who cares that there are mob connections Or maybe a murderer among them They re bringing in money Oh, my, Dave, another moral dilemma, back off or do your job Dave, you ve once again taken me on a wild ride and I thank you Your description of the beautiful and haunting area you live in, only adds to the atmosphere, dark decisioins and mood of In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead Once again, it s been great. This is my favorite James Lee Burke novel and the first I ever read His use of language in this book was wonderful and he never really replicated that in any of his other books This was made into a very poor movie starring Tommy Lee Jones it s another example of how films can t capture the language and nuance of the written word Highly recommended. James Lee Burke s Dave Robicheaux novels are never typical crime novels First, there s Robicheaux, a disgraced, former NOPD Homicide lieutenant turned sheriff s detective in Iberia Parish Robicheaux is a good man with a chequered past a Vietnam veteran and recovering alcoholic who carries traces of post traumatic stress disorder and an unspecified, but lingering, guilt from the eruption of his parents marriage, his father s death and his mother s violent murder at the hands of corrupt, NOPD detectives His background is working class,backwoods, Louisiana Cajun He s Catholic He runs a bait shop and bayou cafe when he s not detecting He has problems with authority, is single minded in his pursuit of wrongdoers, corporate polluters and the antebellum remnants of the southern ascendancy.Robicheaux, although an essentially good man, has a violent streak Some of Burke s other novels, like Two for Texas, are historical explorations of the complex forces that combine to make up Robicheaux s contemporary environment Louisiana s sub tropical swamplands, struggling to survive against the elements of natural phenomena like hurricanes, corporate greed and pollution and the complicit dealings of corrupt politicians, police and the Mafia.Into this milieu in In the Electric Mist , he introduces a story about a violent and sexually perverted, serial killer, an alcoholic, Hollywood actor with psychic leanings and a sociopathic, Mafia boss turned film producer The actor taps in to Robicheaux s own psychic inclinations by introducing him to the ghost of a one legged, one armed, Confederate general who, along with his ragged bunch of soldiers, haunts the swamps around his home.Now he s worried it s just a dry drunk dream or living nightmare or has he conscripted into a new struggle with the Confederate dead, to fight the forces of evil, whether corporate, criminal or perverse or combinations thereof, that threaten his life and the lives of those he love as well as the environment they live in I ve read everything I could find of James Lee Burke s and I m a fan. A convoluted, almost hallucinogenic tale involving a drug lord, movie making in the Louisiana swamps and a Confederate army officer who appears to our hero at odd times or does he I have read all of his novels I have even read his daughters first novel, she is called Alafair, the name of Dave Robicheaux s daughter in the books I have watched his writing mature to its present gravitas Early on, I admit, I used to rush through his descriptive passages but as he wrote, these became and beautiful, and now the darkness of the crimes and violence are melded with the beauty of the landscape In this book, the psychic element was introduced in an historical invocation of American history Magnificent I can never wait for the paperback to come out I rush out for the hardback as soon as they are published Can there be a better reccommendation we had welcomed him back, winking our eyes at his presence and pretending he was not what or who he was The 6th, and maybe the best, in the Dave Robicheaux series thus far Dave is returning from the scene of a particularly gruesome murder of a young prostitute when he pulls over a drunk driver and a series of events are set in motion The driver, Elrod Sykes, is in New Iberia to star in a Civil War movie He tells Dave about a skeleton he saw in the Atchafalaya Swamp while filming The same location where, in 1957, Robicheaux witnessed the killing of a chained black man by two white men Soon the body of another young woman is found in a barrel Haunted by the past and confronting the present day apparent serial killing of young prostitutes Dave partners with FBI agent Rosie Gomez to try and apprehend the psycho Their investigation connects the recent murders to mobster Julie Baby Feet Balboni who has a partnership in the movie production A movie that is bringing a lot of money and jobs to New Iberia In fact the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce put pressure on the sheriff to try and get Robicheaux ease up on Baby Feet There is also the cold case from 1957 that some would prefer remain in the past Is there a connection between the murder of a black man in 1957 and the serial killing of prostitutes today One thing is sure Dave Robicheaux will not quit the investigation of either.Throughout the story Dave is haunted by a series of dreamlike encounters with General John Bell Hood and a troop of Confederate soldiers What is the meaning behind these dreams Is there a message If so what is it And Dave is not the only character in the story to have encounters with the Confederate dead In previous books in the series Dave struggled with sobriety Often times having relapses In this story his sobriety is strong and he works to help Elrod Sykes get sober They say the key to sobriety is to help another alcoholic and in helping Sykes, Dave has his work cut out for him At first Sykes is not very likable but this changes as the story progresses.I always enjoy the close relationship between Dave and Alafair, his adopted daughter And of course Tripod, Alafair s three legged pet racoon The conversations between Dave and Alafair usually add some levity to an otherwise dark story. The best Dave Robicheaux so far Almost too much of a good thing Too much of Dave s brooding and too much sensory overload in the prose But too much of good thing is still a lot of a good thing The plot is bit of a procedural but the mystery is good, the villain heinous and the magical realism supernatural elements push this into what it is, a meditation of the south and its history of violence Civil war, civil rights era lynchings, and the squalid presence of Angola prison Great character names in this one Julie Babyfeets Balboni, Cholo Manelli, Doobie Patout, Bootsie, Cherry Leblanc, Dewitt Prejean, Twinky Herbert Lemoyne, Poteet, Alafair, Sam Hogman Patin etc Both a celebration of southern life and a look at its underbelly of sleaze and violence.
Dave Robicheaux series He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for
- 496 pages
- In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead
- James Lee Burke
- 11 October 2018 James Lee Burke