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Cadillac Jukebox [Mass Market Paperback]

James Lee Burke
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Swamp Cajun action! June 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, this was my first Burke book, and to say the least, it probably won't be my last. I was introduced to Detective Dave Robicheaux for the first time, and I enjoyed it. In this mystery you find that the question is about Aaron Crown, and why so many people want him dead. Join Dave as well as Clete Purcel as he squares off with Budford and Karen LaRose, tries to find out information about Mookie Zerrang!
So sit back, relax and enjoy some crawfish and something cold to drink along with this book as you read some swampy Cajun action all around the bayou! Makes an interesting read, and leaves you wanting to read more by James Lee Burke! Well done, noble mon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars word candy for crackers April 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
James Lee Burke's Cadillac Jukebox is a fine piece of suspense fiction, but it trades on rough language and violent situations. It is a sort of word candy for crackers, because it portrays Southern macho men the way they would like to think about themselves. In some ways it reminds me of the old John D. MacDonald mystery novels of the 1980s or Sam Spade. The language in Burke's novel is colorful, the characters are rich in local color, and the plot is totally blasted. I guess you don't need to bother yourself to read a novel if all you want is reality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like a trip back to Louisiana. July 21 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I spent my early adolescent years in southeastern Louisiana and have a lot of fond memories of this uniquely charming piece of America. Burke's Dave Robicheaux never fails to transport me back to the gumbo restaurant in a trailer, the trek through a Morgan City swamp that brought me awfully close to an alligator, and Pete Fountain's jazz club at the Hilton. Simply put, Burke knows Louisiana and how to evoke it.
Cadillac Jukebox is overall a good read. It's basically a tale of the dark motives that drive people across the line from good to bad. Unfortunately, Burke let the story get too complicated. I wish I had made a chart of the characters as I read the book, because keeping track of who's who got confusing. The storyline also spreads out to the point that staying on top of it becomes a chore.
I thought the story got formulaic at points. The mythological symbolism in the fate of the husband-and-wife antagonists was over the top, like a classical bass drum roll at the end of a Warren Storm tune. But Burke didn't miss a beat with his characters. I was scared by Aaron Crown and Mookie Zerrang, I felt sympathy for Buford LaRose and enmity toward his wife, and I felt like I'd known Batist for a long time. Dave Robicheaux was as polite, resolute, and conflicted as ever.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
We can see why the readers from the Deep South, especially Louisiana, love James Lee Burke. His prose borders on poetry as he creates mind images for the readers that are close to cinematic in their descriptive power. Thus he recreates the geography, the sights and smells, of the bayous for his fan club.
Alas, his writing prowess does not necessarily translate to compelling story telling. While we found ourselves liking his leading man of some dozen of his 22 books, Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux, a huge supporting cast of small time hoods, politicians, barflies, and so on, were difficult to follow without a scorecard. While Robicheaux and his wife Bootsie were well defined, most of the other players were not. Thus the plot became just as muddy as the bayous where much of the story is set. We found ourselves thinking Burke might be better at writing fiction that does not pose the pressures of a mystery, where clues and plot evolution have to lead to some relatively logical conclusion.
These findings seem to coincide with a majority of his reviews -- either one is overcome by his mastery of the language into more or less ignoring the story per se; or one is left admiring his imagery while finding that the story line disappoints as it unfolds. We would like to try a non-series Burke, perhaps his Pulitzer nominated "Lost Get-Back Boogie", to see if he can get it all together. Stay tuned.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Half-Way Through, He Just Lost Me Aug. 15 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've heard such good things about Burke, so I was pretty enthusiastic about reading Cadillac Jukebox. But for all my enthusiasm, this book just didn't do it for me.
Burke's natural writing talent is obvious, and he grabbed my attention right away. The characters are all very human and real, it's a great setting, and things click along at a brisk pace. I found myself zipping my way through this book eagerly awaiting the next surprise.
And then, about halfway through the book I just got lost. A thousand different things had happened to Dave Robicheaux, his cohorts, and his enemies, and though each scene was written well, it just wasn't coming together as a whole. I realized that I either didn't know enough because I hadn't read any of the previous books, or Burke was just all over the place.
Over all a disappointment, but since this is my first Burke book, I plan to give him another chance by reading the first of the Dave Robicheaux series.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, James Lee Burke is a terrific wordsmith who can bring the Cajun backwoods and bayous alive for readers, but this particular work is quite simply, a sprawling, literary hodge-podge. The story is loosely woven to the point of being chaotic--Dave Robicheaux skitters here, there, and everywhere, including TWO almost gratuitous mini-jaunts to Mexico. The characters are "colorful," but in some cases, such as that of Aaron Crown, the eccentricity deteriorates into cartoon-like caricature. There are various smalltime gangsters who are hard to keep straight, there is a politician's wife who turns up periodically to strip off her clothes, taunt Robicheaux sexually, and then disappear in a cloud of vituperative hissing. And there are more than a few digressions and sidebars to the story that don't ever seem quite justified--it's all a bit much, methinks, and overall it makes for a story that never really hangs together adequately.
Still, Burke is a good enough writer that it's a hard book to put down once started. I think he has done better in others of his mysteries, however.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dave is a charmer...
I have read just about everything James Lee Burke has written, but my favorite character by far is Dave Robicheaux. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2001 by C. Cronk
4.0 out of 5 stars The man does what he does well...
Anyone who reads Burke knows about his narrative style, and almost every fan has heard the "Chandler meets Faulkner" talk. It is all true. Read more
Published on June 29 2000 by Chad M. Supp
5.0 out of 5 stars Robicheaux Rights Wrongs Readily Redux
Dave Robicheaux is one of those rare characters in today's American detective fiction -- the honest cop with a heart of gold and the toughness to rout the bad guys. Read more
Published on May 31 2000 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars HE'S A MAGIC MAN, MAMA!
I am madly, deeply in lust/love with Dave Robicheaux AND James Lee Burke. I've lived in the enchanting state of Louisiana my entire life and Burke makes me fall in love with it... Read more
Published on May 15 2000 by Marion
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Entry in the Series
Dixie City Jam is my favorite, but Burning Angel was my least. So I didn't know what to expect next from the series. I was not let down. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2000 by Crossfit Len
Published on Feb. 12 1999 by Patti St Clair
5.0 out of 5 stars Another satisfying delivery by an outstanding writer
It isn't often that I have to interrupt my reading and find my companion so I can read passages to him to "share," but this happens a lot with James Lee Burke's books. Read more
Published on June 16 1998 by ryan@thomas.edu
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