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Burning Angel [Mass Market Paperback]

James Lee Burke
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1996 Dave Robicheaux Mysteries
The Fontenot family has lived as sharecroppers on Bertrand land for as long as anyone in New Iberia, Louisiana, can remember. So why are they now being forced from their homes? And what does the murder of Della Landry--the girlfriend of New Orleans fixer Sonny Boy Marsallus--have to do with it?

Marsallus's secrets seem tied to those of the Fontenots. But can Detective Dave Robicheaux make sense of it all before there is more bloodshed? In James Lee Burke's intense and powerful new bestseller, Robicheux digs deep into the bad blood and dirty secrets of Louisiana's past--while having to confront a rag-tag alliance of local mobsters and hired assassin.

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Burning Angel + Dixie City Jam + A Stained White Radiance
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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Continuing the Dave Robichaux series, Burke's mystery concerns present-day tensions springing from age-old racial injustices.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the last few years, the publisher has managed to build the modestly successful Burke into a best-selling mystery author with works like Dixie City Jam (LJ 4/1/94). Here, Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux tries to help the Fontenot family figure out who's trying to force them off their land?and runs up against a nasty bunch of mobsters with ties to the notorious Sonny Boy Marsallus.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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THE GIACANO FAMILY had locked up the action in Orleans and Jefferson parishes back in Prohibition. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal, mon June 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
James Lee Burke is one of America's finest mystery writers. Not only does he put together a good story populated by interesting (and sometimes upsetting) characters, he captures the true flavor of a unique region. I moved to Acadiana after having read the first few books in this series. I kept having a weird sense of deja vu as I travelled around Lafayette, New Iberia, and New Orleans. It finally dawned on me that I had read about some of these locations in Burke's books. Burke paints with words, giving a reader a sense of the taste, the smell, the sounds, the *feel* of south Louisiana. This is how the place is (although most folks experience a whole lot less violence in their lives).
I strongly suggest that you read this series in chronological order. A little warning. While Burke never spares us a view of the more violent and vicious side of humanity, some of the books are particularly dark. I wonder if the darkest of the books were written at less happy points in his life. Burke will make you care about characters in the series, then do terrible things to them. These books are outstanding. Be prepared for a wild ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No Peace in New Iberia Sept. 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
BURNING ANGEL by James Lee Burke is another Dave Robicheaux adventure among the mobsters and assassins of New Iberia, Louisiana. In the midst of turmoil caused by racial and class prejudice, Sonny Boy Marsallus, a smalltime hood, asks for Dave's help because several local mobsters are after him. Sonny Boy--a sometime soft-hearted good-guy--convinced many prostitutes under the mob's tutelage that leaving town would be in their best interests. Also, fear of eminent reprisals prompt Sonny Boy to give Dave a mysterious little black journal to hold for him. In addition, Dave attempts to help Bertie Fontenot, a poor black sharecropper, whose lands bequeathed to her by the wealthy owner, Moleen Berrand's grandfather, are being invaded by an enigmatic disposal company. Moleen's situation is less than favorable, too, because of money problems, a failing marriage and a renewed interracial relationship with Bertie's niece, Ruthie Jean. The plot is so complicated the reader can get lost as easily as moving blindly through a Louisiana, crocodile-infested bayou. However, the lush prose makes the trip a real treat.
James Lee Burke has been called "the Faulkner of crime fiction." The phrasing, descriptions, and word usage are so beautiful that the reader wants the cadences to go on and on. Burke was successful early in his writing career. But after his third book was published in the l960s, it was fifteen years before another book made it into print. One book, THE LOST-GET BACK BOOGIE, was rejected one hundred times. It was finally nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Burke's prose is breathtaking. His poetic descriptions put the reader right in the scene where all five senses are pulsating and alive.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a master storyteller Aug. 28 2002
By Jeanie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
BURNING ANGEL is one of James Lee Burke's novels featuring Dave Robicheaux as a detective with the Iberia Parish sheriff's office. Robicheaux's interaction with Sonny Boy Marsallus is at the heart of the story. Sonny Boy is a shady character with a checkered past but as the story develops, he appears to be a guardian angel to Robicheaux and his family. As unsavory a character as Sonny Boy is, he seems like a choir boy when compared to the other characters Robicheaux faces. Even their names (Sweet Pea Chaisson, Emile Pogue, Johnny Polycarp Giacano) invoke images that are reinforced by Burke's descriptions and by the threats they pose to Robicheaux. Secrets emerge and lives change as Robicheaux investigates powerful people and their effect on those who have little or no power.
James Lee Burke is a best-selling author whose awards include a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize, two Edgar Awards, and the CWA/Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction. THE NEON RAIN was the first of the Robicheaux series, and Burke's series featuring Texas Ranger-turned-lawyer Billy Bob Holland began with TWO FOR TEXAS.
The author is a consummate storyteller and is a master at description. He conveys the strengths and weaknesses of the characters, both the positive people in Robicheaux's life and those who are less desirable. Burke's love of Louisiana is evident, and the geographic location is an integral part of the compelling story he tells.
Although the writing is excellent, there are weaknesses in the story line. Some events are not connected, and the reader is left with unanswered questions. Burke tells a complex story so these are minor criticisms.
When asked what he would do if he had to give up writing, Burke answered "I would never give up writing!" That's good news for readers! BURNING ANGEL is a must read for Burke's fans as well as for those who want to get to know the people and places in Iberia Parish, if only through the pages of an outstanding novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Angel Descending Aug. 26 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Set in the bayou country of Louisiana, 'Burning Angel' by James Lee Burke blends gritty crime fiction with an understated supernatural element that is both suspenseful and entertaining. Homicide detective Dave 'Streak' Robineaux investigates a double murder that involves Sonny Marsallus, a local gambler, money-launderer, and soldier of fortune. Robineaux isn't the only one interested in Marsallus; a shadowy cadre of assassins wants Sonny dead. During his investigation, Robineaux gets sidetracked into a land dispute between the poor, black Fontenots and an upper-class attorney, Molleen Bertrand.
Burke displays a dazzling command of language and descriptive power, and his vision of the South is elegantly drawn, where ghosts of the past seem close at hand. The main characters, particularly Robineaux, Marsallus, and Bertrand are finely honed, as are the pimps, thugs, and crime lords of New Iberia.
The book only falters in the depiction of the Fontenots. Burke is keenly sensitive to the plight of this family, cast as helpless victims to malevolent external forces (in this case an amoral white overclass). Although we empathize with the Fontenots, characters stripped of free will (and thus unable to influence events) are never interesting.
Nevertheless, 'Burning Angel' is wonderfully paced and well written, and Burke's soaring prose elevates it to dizzying heights. Lost loves and family secrets haunt these characters, and as Robineaux visits the Bertrand plantation one last time, Burke closes with an epilogue that is a tour-de-force of sheer craft:
"And like some pagan of old, weighing down spirits in the ground with tablets of stone, I cut a bucket full of chrysanthemums and drove out to the Bertrand plantation...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Bayous
Book reviewers probably overuse "atmospheric" in their critiques, but to describe James Lee Burke's writing as "atmospheric" is akin to observing that Daniel Steele's literary... Read more
Published on June 27 2004 by Gary Griffiths
2.0 out of 5 stars Desperately Sentimental, Strains Credibility
Well, once again, poor James Lee Burke is back, with his patented mix of stale Sixties cliches and nauseating sentimentality about the glories of the Antebellum South. Read more
Published on March 7 2004 by Lily Bart
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly satisfying
James Lee Burke is a master novelist whose prose is so good that I begin to notice how good it is, and that distracts me a little. Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by Keith Nichols
4.0 out of 5 stars Burke on less-than-top form is still pretty splendid
Not quite the best of the Robicheaux series - that would be either <I>A Morning for Flamingos</I> or <I>A Stained White Radiance</I> - but James Lee Burke's second-best... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2003 by R. J. Stove
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked on Burke's intricate, sensitive, extraordinary books
I've now read nine of his books. I first read Purple Cane Road. It led me to read his stories in order. I'm so glad I did. The quality of Mr. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2002 by Brice Kibler
4.0 out of 5 stars Louisiana Gothic
Dave Robicheaux, ex-New Orleans homicide detective and now a detective for the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, responds to a call from Sonny Boy Marsallus and ends up putting his... Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2002 by Mel Odom
2.0 out of 5 stars BURKE HAS DONE BETTER!!!!
Maybe it was just me but I never could really get into this book. This is the eighth Robicheaux I have read and in my openion one of the worst. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2001 by Mac Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
First book I have read from Burke and found it very different than most authors. The setting felt real and the characters very unique and likeable.
Like a dark Mayberry
Published on Nov. 13 2000 by Mike Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonny Boy come back!
This is my first James Lee Burke book and to be honest, I loved it. It was so incredibly sad though. Read more
Published on April 20 2000 by keatingmary@hotmail.com
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