The New Iberia Blues

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Better than the last book but not as good as the earlier ones, the atmosphere of melancholy and existential despair oozes through the pages but the 'I had no doubt he was mad' is, surely, the ultimate cop-out?

 Plus this is way too long, with too many characters from past books popping up again. There's even that male fantasy of a beautiful young woman falling into bed with Robicheaux who, as a Vietnam vet who remembers going to see a film with his mother in 1946, must be old enough to be her grandfather - ick! 

Despite some misgivings, Burke's stylish writing and vision of evil as a tangible thing gives some heft to the book - all the same,  it feels like this long-running series peaked some books back.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

sorry to say this book wasnt for me...i gave it a good go but i struggled with the descriptive language the author used....

i could see that it was well written and descriptive but not living in american i didnt really get the references a lot of the time...

sorry to say i didnt finish it
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I used to read several books by James Lee Burke about Dave Robigheaux  but had lost interest in his crime novels several years ago. I read several short comments about his newest The New Iberia Blues and decided to try reading it. I"m so glad I did! Dave has always been an interesting and fascinating major character for a crime novel. I feel that his struggles with relationships and alcohol makes stories featuring him more interesting.. In the latest book the plot goes forward and Dave works through his relationships, struggles with growing older, and alcohol and tries to solve a mysterious and violent crime. While trying to solve the crime he thinks of many suspects but the ending was a complete surprise to me and I think to him! 
I hope to read more dave Robigheaux novels in the future.
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New Iberia Blues – James Lee Burke

Once again James Lee Burke has a winner. This time Dave Robicheaux is involved in solving a series of murders in and around his home of New Iberia.  After finding a young black woman crucified on a cross floating in the bayou, he has to deal with evidence delving into Cajun voodoo, clues based on Tarot cards, hit men from the mob, an escaped Texas convict who may hold “the” clue, an attractive blues club singer whom he finds attractive then finds her dead, and a group of Hollywood executives who are taking advantage of Louisiana tax breaks by filming there and bring with them a lot of their garbage. 

Besides dealing with the demons within him and his alcoholism, and recurring visions of Confederates in the Louisiana mist, he has to deal with Alafair, this time with her relationship with one of the Hollywood executives; what to do with his old buddy Clete wanting to handle things “the old way”; visions of his late father and mother; a newly hired female detective with whom he develops a personal relationship; and a young deputy who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The story itself is pretty typical of other Robicheaux mysteries so don’t expect anything much different than what Burke has written previously; however, it’s still fresh enough that it’s hard to put down. I think I read it in two sittings.  But if you’re like me, you won’t put the book down because of the way James Lee Burke weaves a tapestry using the English language.  This alone makes the book worth reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

The following remarks are not meant to be part of any review but rather for the publisher to see before final publication.

I read this book as an advance through Netgalley and found a number of typographical errors which I hope will be corrected before the final release.  i.e. “…wore her pants riding low on her lips [sic]”;  “…..followed me in his car while I was diving [sic] my pickup truck” to point out a couple that I remember. There were other occasions where quotation marks were not consistent.

One other thing that I had a problem with was trying to establish an age for Dave Robicheaux. A couple of times he makes reference to his mother taking him, as a child, to see the movie My Darling Clementine, which came out in 1946.  This means that Robicheaux would have been born around 1940 – 1942.  He also makes reference to the mass shooting which took place in Las Vegas in 2018. This would put him in his late 70’s or early 80’s -- much too old to do some of the things he physically does in this story.

Ed Raner
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private-investigators, thriller, suspense, mystery, crime-fiction 

The present is the product of the past. 
Nowhere is this more clearly apparent than in the stories centered on Dave Robicheaux in the bayou. If you've never read any of these you should prepare yourself for the dark side of life and the calling to investigate and work for justice whether as law enforcement or private. That being said, I loved this one at least as much as any of the others and hope that he continues to write more. 
Can't call this an unbiased endorsement as I confess to being a Dave Robicheaux addict. 
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Simon and Schuster Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you!
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Always a joy to read the latest by the incomparable literary crime fiction writer, James Lee Burke, painting a vivid and vibrant contemporary picture of the US, providing a political and social commentary on the cruelty, woes and horror inflicted on the land and its people by its political classes, devoid of any principles. This may be the 22nd in the series, but he has not lost his lyricism and sureness of touch in penning this twisted and complex tale of injustice, ritual murders, corruption, Hollywood film industry, the mafia, an abused ice cream loving hitman, and a Texas prison escapee. It is set in the lush, vibrant backwoods and swamps of a Louisana infested and poisoned by its legacy of slavery, brutality, environmental and cultural degradation, corporate and individual greed writ large on a landscape that once resembled God's own paradise on earth. 

Dave Robicheaux discovers the crucified body of a young woman near Cyrpemort Point Estate. The Hollywood crowd have come to the state with Louisiana's own home boy done good, director Desmond Cormier, filming his latest movie here, with his companion with an unsavoury reputation, Antoine Butterworth and producer/writer, Lou Wexler, working closely with Alafair, Dave's daughter. As unspeakable brutal murders pile up, Robicheaux and his larger than life, loyal friend Clete Purcel are short on leads and wonder about the murderous connections with Hollywood as Cormier's movie with its opaque financial backing from the likes of Saudi Arabia and the Mob. On the loose is death row Texan prisoner, Hugo Tillinger, and the oddly likeable hitman, Chester 'Smiley' Wimple makes his presence felt, as indeed does the mob. The Iberia Sheriff Department's newest recruit, Bailey Robbins, becomes the source of love, obsession, and heartache for a troubled Robicheaux. As dark dangers threaten those closest to him, trusting no-one but Clete, Robicheaux gets closer to the killer and his own mortality.

Burke's characterisation is as brilliant as ever, with his psychological portrait of Robicheaux's interior life of dreams, flashbacks to the Vietnam war, hallucinations, the struggle to stay sober, the loss of his wives, the dead, and his philosophical ruminations on life, love, ageing and death. Louisiana is rightly the home of the blues, as we can see on Clete's reflections on the song, 'The House of the Rising Sun', a haunting depiction of bordello life, spiritual despair, and the exploitation of human beings, the anonymous fate that is the destiny of all those used for the convenience of others, a central theme and motif of the novel. This is a unforgettable series, and this is a marvellous addition. A superb read that I have no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for an ARC.
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Lately I have been disappointed in series that I have always liked reading.  They seem to be losing their appeal or something.  But not with this author and his fantastic series staring Dave Robicheaux.

What a writer James Lee Burke is.  His descriptive wording brings the state of Louisiana alive in a way that slides into your skin like osmosis.  You can smell the bayou, taste the food and feel the rain.  The narrative itself makes you feels things you have never felt before and the storyline immerses you into the soul of Dave Robicheaux, tormented, afflicted.  A hell of a story, a hell of a book.

Highly recommended this book will be published in January, 2019.
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I confess to a love of the writing of James Lee Burke, and the tension between the brutality of the stories and the poetry of his writing, My particular favourite is 'In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead', The last couple of books have perhaps over-emphasised the brutality but,  in 'The New Iberia Blues', Robicheaux's love of his friends and family, of New Iberia and of his Acadian community is once again to the fore.
I have never travelled near New Orleans, but Burke's description of 'live oaks' and the Atchafalaya Basin, of the pink of dawn or of storms sweeping in over the Gulf, creates a familiar sense of place. Robicheaux feels the simultaneous existence of past and present, shifting easily between each in a way that is somehow reassuring.
In this story, Robicheaux is mystified by a series of killings connected to tarot characters. He falls in love with a new detective partner (and there is an exquisite, one-paragraph description of their love-making - credit to Burke's writing) but feels his age. Robicheaux's 'podna', Clete, plays a large role in the story and appears less conflicted and more humane than in other novels. By the end, I sense that Robicheaux has said goodbye to New Iberia and gifted the future to the young.
My only reason for a 4 rather than a 5-star review is that I have difficulty with the psychopathic character of Smiley, who makes a return. Though I accept the explanation of his brutal upbringing, I cannot condone his mission to 'kill bad people'. I also find it difficult to visualise somebody who has been 'squeezed from a tube of toothpaste'.
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This is the 22nd book in the long established Dave Robicheaux series. For some reason I have only read a couple of the previous books but I felt able to understand and enjoy this book without knowing much or any of the back story.

The writing was rich and lyrical and immediately drew me in. The plot was complex but credible and the characters brilliantly drawn and I devoured the book over a mammoth two day sitting.

This is a novel for readers who appreciate quality writing and I now have another twenty or so books to catch up on given how greatly I enjoyed the one.

Highly recommended.
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The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke
The New Iberia Blues (Dave Robicheaux #22) 
by James Lee Burke  
M 50x66
Lou Jacobs's review Nov 04, 2018  ·  edit
it was amazing

And yet again another masterpiece from Burke. A dark, complex and haunting tale of the beloved knight errant, Dave Robicheaux, our imperfect hero ever struggling with his sobriety and the memories of his wives. Even while pursuing his most recent investigation of the murder of Lucinda Arceneaux, he continues to be plagued by his past demons in visionary and auditory hallucinations .
In this riveting and twisted narrative we are treated to the presence of not only his adoptive daughter, Alafair but also his best friend , Clete Purcil , the violent, alcoholic, ex-police officer and private investigator .
Burke is one of a few writers who can make a run-on sentence a work of art. His prose is always lyrical if not poetic. His narrative theme as always uncovers the baser side of humanity.
An idealistic your woman, Lucinda Arceneaux, a minister's daughter is injected with a lethal dose of heroin and is posed on a cross with her ankles nailed to the wood and found bobbing in the water by Robicheaux. The twisted tale implicates many characters across the strata of society. The Golden Glove and Academy Award winning director and native son, Desmond Cormier and his entourage of Hollywood friends are certainly prime suspects. Notable and suspicious are Antoine Butterworth ... actor, supposed ex-mercenary, a man of dubious and sadistic past , as well as, Lou Wexler, a screenplay writer and producer of Desmond's next and anticipated greatest film. And, not to be forgotten are the Mob and other criminal elements who are apparently provide the financial backing.
The narrative is nicely complicated by the appearance of escaped Texan inmate, Hugo Tillinger and the deranged and somewhat ethical psychotic hitman, Chester "Smiley" Wimple. The murders pile-up during the investigation with un-explained and possible unrelated motives. Somehow Burke elegantly weaves together a tale of these varied forces into an intriguing tour de force with an unexpected but satisfying denouement. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon Schuster for supplying an Advance Reading Copy of this marvelous book in exchange for an honest review.
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James Lee Burke never fails to satisfy. I find that most series books get redundant and predictable as they multiply, but the Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke is like aged whiskey in a barrel floating down a backwater bayou, it just doesn't get any better than this. Burke's poetic prose and geographic awareness put you deep in the heart of the steamy Louisiana swamp as if you were the lead paddle on the pirogue. His plot is often tangled with morbid and mysterious characters who bring the seemingly chaotic story to a haunting end that you will remember and want to go back and read it again, to savor that unique taste that Burke brings to his novels. Not to be redundant and predictable, but I can't wait until the next one!
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Oh Netgalley, thank you, thank you, thank you! What a privilege to get to read about the latest adventures of my most cherished murder-mystery protagonist, the tortured alcoholic detective Dave Robicheaux, by my all-time favorite author James Lee Burke, who is one of the literary giants of our time (anyone who’s got something uncharitable to say about calling writers of popular literature “literay giants,” stuff a sock in it). JLB’s Robicheaux series is not simply about murder mysteries; they are lyrical tales of—well, murder and mystery—but human suffering, misery, and joys, the last sometimes so hard to come by and easy to miss, but all of which make life worth living., because one cannot know joy without suffering.  And of the South, where I’ve never been, but after reading JLB’s first two Robicheaux books, I only had to close my eyes to be in New Iberia to see the orange and red purples of the morning sky.... and, well, my trying to repeat JLB’s descriptions of the splendors of the beauty (what’s left of it) that Mother Nature has bestowed on Louisiana will only sound like blasphemy. AllI can say is, James Lee Burke has allowed me to visit Southern Louisiana while lying with my feet up in the air in my Minnesota parlor (yeah, ok, but I love that word, “parlor” (in a Victorian house) is a much cooler word than “living room.”)

I said Dave Robicheaux is a tortured soul, and if you’ve ever been one yourself, spending time with him is a form of therapy. Not because his mental anguish, sorrows, and anger (of which Dave—like almost all alcoholics—has plenty, but anyone thrice widowed is entitled) are a therapeutic read, but how he deals with his spiritual and mental torments. Whether by attending a meeting, going to Mass, introducing the jawbones of some obnoxious know-it-all to his fists, or by reciting the short form of the Serenity Prayer (FI—you can figure that one out...).

In his job as a New Iberia detective Dave Robicheaux comes not only comes across New Iberia and the area’s underbelly but also travels frequently, if somewhat uneasily, in the the world of the South’s rich and famous, often philantrophic, commonly criminal, elitist inhabitants, who not infrequently are tortured by soul-crushing insecurities that despite their designer duds and digs follow them like the stink of a decomposed swamp creature. 

In this story, a young man, Desmond Cormier, whom Dave first met on the streets of New Orleans—then a boy small for his age, and bullied by his peers— has grown up to become an Academy and Golden Globe award nominated Hollywood director. When Dave pays an impromptu semi-social visit to Cormier—Dave and a young deputy are working close to the director’s Cypremort Point estate, which impresses Dave’s young colleague, and when they knock on the door they are invited in for dinner. While admiring the spectacular view across Vermilion and Weeks Bay via Cormier’s telescope, Dave sees a horrible image—the body of a young woman who’s been crucified is floating toward the shore—but when Cormier looks through the telescope, the director claims to see nothing, and neither does his (degenerate, oleaginous) actor friend, Antoine Butterworth. But Dave is’t buying it. 

As the body count increases Dave finds himself investigating the Cormier’s Hollywood film crew and onhangers, the mob, and other delightfully sociopathic characters that only JLB can bring to fascinating life on a page. Dave’s daughter Alafair, scriptwriter and Stanford law grad, is working with Cormier, which complicates things, and of course Clete—sweet, funny, lovable, loyal Clete—with his usual “understated” and always effective elegance of an elephant in a china store, gets involved in the investigation with his best friend. 

I once suggested to JLB, when the end of one book read worryingly like it was the end of the Bobbsey Twins—that he simply write about Dave and Clete a la The Simpsons style, in suspended animation. There was no need to count the years, just write endless stories, please!? But that was three or four books ago, and the Bobbsey Twins are still going strong!
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You're in for an intelligent and edge-of-your-seat ride with this one. Lots of graphic violence (I skim that part) and intellectual soul searching by and to every character no one is all evil not all good--well maybe 1 or 2...yep I think some are born evil. With Louisiana as the backdrop with its gris-gris and magic the author writes one back of a thriller
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Nobody writes like James Lee Burke.  Lush, lyrical, poetic, and melancholy.  All while telling a story we want to hear.  Another spectacular addition to a spectacular series.
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You know what you’re going to get when you pick up a JLB novel: the story will be gutsy and the language ornate; the plot will be convoluted and the thread of the piece sometimes hard to follow. But one thing you can be sure of is that if you have any appreciation at all of his gift then day you pick up his next book will be a good day – a very good day.

I’ve been following the adventures of his Louisiana based cop Dave Robicheaux for years and I’ve grown to love him, with all his foibles, and his side-kick Clete Purcell too. To me they’re the best pairing in crime fiction. Hell, they’re the best pairing in any brand of fiction. Dave is getting on in years now, but he still wears his detective’s badge with pride. He’s not wedded to rules in the same way some cops are but his heart is in the right place and his determination to track down the bad guys is unrivalled. Clete – his ex-partner from his NOPD days – doesn’t work to any rules at all, and has been described by the author as the nemesis of authority figures and those who sought power over others…a one-man demolition derby.

In this episode a young woman is found impaled on a cross, floating in the sea off Cypremort Point. The location is close to the sometime home of an old friend of Dave’s. Desmond Cormier is a local boy made good, a movie maker who made his fortune in Hollywood. He's returned to Southern Louisiana to make a film and his whole entourage is in town. Is Desmond or a man who is staying with him in any way linked to this strange, ritualistic death?

Dave’s daughter, Alafair, has gotten wrapped up in the film making endeavour and is spending time with one of the producers, much to Dave’s chagrin. Throw in an escaped prisoner running loose and the return of one of JLB’s legendary bad men, Smiley Wimple, and you have all the ingredients for a pretty wild romp. And as the body count mounts Dave, with Clete in tow, desperately tries to make sense of it all and track down the killer(s).

This book is replete with dreamlike encounters with characters from Dave’s past and throughout we get the the clear message that he is beginning to see the coming of the end of days as he ruminates and broods over the ruination of the land he loves, the ostentatious displays of wealth he sees around him and the general greed of today. Above all it’s his perception of the loss of Acadiana – the physical and cultural changes to the French Louisiana region his mother and father inhabited and which he was born into - that distresses him most. 

As always with this writer, the prose is top drawer and the characterisation is brilliantly done. In my view he writes the best literary crime fiction out there; I enjoy his books more than any other author I can name. Long may he keep writing and turning out novels of this quality.
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The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke- The Twenty-Second Dave Robicheaux novel starts off like a visit from an old friend, then takes you down a dark forbidding road.  Movie-making, and Hollywood low-lives once again become part of the story, and Dave must wade through all the blood, greed, and death to find the truth behind the silver screen.  I‘ve read quite a few of this series and this one holds up with the best, but at times it gets too depressing, all the bad there is in the human heart.
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I love the atmosphere of every James Lee Burke's book, but the ones set in the bayou are most enjoyable. That said, this was not my favorite of his books. 

Burke brought back a character from his past, a local-boy-makes-good who returns to Louisiana to film a movie, bringing along a crew of unsavory types and -- possibly -- unleashing mayhem on New Iberia.

There are tendencies in all of Burke's fiction that mildly bug me, but were strong enough in this outing to over-ride my pleasure in the story. For one thing, his dialogue often seems set up just to introduce colorful language or pithy sayings, not to evoke a real conversation between two characters who are actually speaking to each other. It's kind of a non-sequitur call-and-response. That pattern was stronger than ever in this book.

Plus this book was long. Way long. I can't ever remember feeling this strongly about a Burke story -- it was like I was squirming in church waiting for a long-winded preacher to finish. Of course, I read to the end because -- James Lee Burke! But I had way too much time to think while reading it, which isn't usually the case.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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Thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to preview this book. I found the previous installment in this series a little disappointing, however, this one was fantastic. Strongly recommended.
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Burke delivers his story with a panache that has become his trademark. The setting, the characterization, the plot: everything is as brilliantly done as you would expect from Burke. The dialogues are sharp and the pace fast.. Another thrilling book from the master storyteller....full review soon on blog.
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Back we go to Bayou Teche in New Iberia, and join again with Dave Robicheaux, James Lee Burke's haunted, introspective protagonist.  More than the usual number of bodies, it seems, but with the trademark literary, painterly descriptions of humid, late Autumn Louisiana.  The usual cast of characters with some new ones, and regrettable losses, but alas no shrimp etouffee, more barbecue chicken than usual.  I must admit to a partiality for Burke's characters, despite having to speed past some of the more grisly descriptions.
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