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Heaven's Prisoners [Paperback]

James Lee Burke
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2002 Dave Robicheaux Mysteries
Vietnam vet Dave Robicheaux has turned in his detective's badge, is winning his battle against booze, and has left New Orleans with his wife for the tranquil beauty of Louisiana's bayous. But a plane crash on the Gulf brings a young girl into his life -- and with her comes a netherworld of murder, deception, and homegrown crime. Suddenly Robicheaux is confronting Bubba Rocque, a brutal hood he's known since childhood; Rocque's hungry Cajun wife; and a federal agent with more guts than sense. In a backwater world where a swagger and a gun go further than the law, Robicheaux and those he loves are caught on a tide of violence far bigger than them all....

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Heaven's Prisoners + The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel + Black Cherry Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

First met in Burke's excellent mystery, The Neon Rain, Dave Robicheaux is a driven mandriven by his constant battle with alcoholism; by memories of his past as a detective on the New Orleans police force; by his need for order; by his obsession with the seedy, aberrant side of New Orleans life. Trying to put his own life together again, Dave has married Annie and now runs a small fishing rental business in the Louisiana bayou. When he and Annie witness the crash of a small plane, in which four peopleobviously illegal aliensdie, and only a little girl survives, Robicheaux is drawn to the trail of a network of crimes that suggests a Central American dope-running ring operated with the connivance of federal agents. Violence ensues, and Robicheaux, no stranger to tragedy, must confront it again when Annie becomes a victim. Haunted by guilt, deeply depressed, in constant danger, Robicheaux trusts no one, including the cops, for he knows that they too, are capable of skirting the law. Burke beautifully evokes New Orleans and the mysterious bayous, and he skillfully depicts the different lifestyles that distinguish the Gulf region. Robicheaux is a complex character whose integrity and high principles are always in conflict with the darker side of human nature. This is a mystery fans will savor for its ruminating intelligence and graceful prose as well as for its heart-stopping suspense.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Cajun hero of The Neon Rain returns in a very intense and atmospheric, if not obsessive, story of personal revenge. Former homicide cop Dave Robicheaux, now proprietor of a bait and boat rental business on the Louisiana bayou, rescues a terrified illegal immigrant girl from a small plane that crashes into the Gulf. The other four passengers die, but when newspapers report only three, Dave decides to investigate. His first-person narrative provides character insight, immediacy, and authentic glimpses into a disappearing way of life. For most collections. REK
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
I WAS JUST OFF Southwest Pass, between Pecan and Marsh islands, with the green, whitecapping water of the Gulf Stream to the south and the long, flat expanse of the Louisiana coastline behind me-which is really not a coastline at all but instead a huge wetlands area of sawgrass, dead cypress strung with wisps of moss, and a maze of canals and bayous that are choked with Japanese water lilies whose purple flowers audibly pop in the morning and whose root systems can wind around your propeller shaft like cable wire. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robicheaux's best May 31 2004
If I could do it all again, I'd almost be tempted to read this book and not read any more of the Dave Robicheaux series, due to the incredible similarity of plots. In almost every novel, the trouble starts because Robicheaux finds something in a body of water, whether that be a bayou, a lake, an ocean, a pond, et cetera. Then all these interested parties start hounding Robicheaux because of what he's uncovered. However, this book remains the best in the series.
In this entry, Robicheaux and his wife Annie witness a small single-engine plane crash into the water while they are out on their boat, and Robicheaux rescues the only survivor: a young girl of about toddler age. Soon after, he finds himself being hounded by INS representatives, a DEA agent, and some very unpleasant people who are interested in keeping the crash a secret.
This book finds Robicheaux at his most hard-boiled, the plot is very much character driven, and it makes for an intriguing story all around. I would highly recommend this book, but only this book of the Dave Robicheaux series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading Twice April 27 2004
I've read most of Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, and enjoyed them quite a bit. Heaven's Prisoners is one of the two best, the other being In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. Mist is Burke at his most exotic--Dave's on an acid trip for a substantial part of the book; Heaven's Prisoners is Burke at his darkest. I'm unwilling to go into the plot; in fact I strongly urge you not to read further reviews as there are substantial spoilers in many of them that will ruin the experience for you. Suffice it to say there's plenty of action, plenty of suspense. Of course, most any thriller or action novel today promises that; where Burke is unusual is in his ability to handle language. He writes like he's in love with language, and it's a pleasure to read him. Mickey Spillane once said about himself that he didn't write novels, he wrote books; Burke definitely writes novels, and extremely literate ones at that. He's one of a generation of novelists, along with Michael Connelly, James Hall, and Dennis Lehane, who have inherited the mantle of Raymond Chandler and wear it with pride; in Burke's case, he seems also to draw inspiration from William Faulkner. Robicheaux's a complex man, tortured by his own inadequacies and yet immensely strong simultaneously, and he's a prisoner of the dark, decaying Southern environment he was raised in. If you prefer simple action, plots, and characters like Mike Hammer or Robert Parker's Spenser, you'll surely think Burke is overwritten. But for a real literate treat, with an electric story, fantastic dialogue and descriptions, and characters you'll want to revisit, read Heaven's Prisoners. I almost never reread a fiction book, except by accident--there's just too much new stuff out there; but I deliberately read this one again, and enjoyed it just as much the second time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical evocation of Southern Louisiana Aug. 9 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Readers expecting a standard detective novel will be amazed at the literary quality of Burke's characters and landscape. Even those who know nothing about Southern Louisiana or Cajun culture will feel that they have been there. The story is tautly constructed but the dialogue and descriptive passages are some of the best in the world of today's writers. Burke's use of colloquial names like the "four-corners" rather than the "crossroads" makes an individual place very real. It is very frustrating to Burke/Robicheaux fans that the movie, well cast, beautifully photographed, and with the same atmosphere as the book was caught up in Hollywood studio politics and when finally released after a lengthy delay received no advertizing or other promotion. Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Robicheaux gives all Burke readers a mental image to carry as they read all the other seven books about this complex literary character. James Lee Burke has also written a number of! books NOT about the Cajun detective and they are all worth a read and a re-read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific writing,wonderful characters Oct. 14 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
James lee Burke is one of thosed underrated masters of prose,forever delegated to second rung because of his genre. Heavens prisoners, the second in this series,is,in many ways, the best. Dave Robicheux, the alcoholic new Orleans cop,is out fishing when a single engine plane crashes into the lake,and everything changes.Mr. Burke's descriptions of alcoholic despair and rage are perhaps the finest,and least sentimental I have read. The violence is brutal and freakish in its intensity[as violence is],the dialogue is so well written that i feel for these characters,and want to read more. Though much Longer then Neon rain, the first entry,Mr. Burkes seems to hold the intensity through the narrative. From the lousiana locales to histroical comments on Cajuns, from Cletus Purcell{his sort of sidekick]to the suprising[at least for me] ending, Mr. Burke solidifes himself as one superb writer.And, fortunately, the series goes on ...
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4.0 out of 5 stars HEAVEN'S PRISONERS --A GOOD READ!!!!! June 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second in the Dave Robicheaux series. I am trying to read them in order. Dave has quit the New Orleans police department and is running a fishing camp. He is married and very happy. Then a plane crash, and one of the bodies disappears. Dave is drawn back into the underworld he knows so well. This time he really pays for his involvement. Won't say how because it would take away from the reading. He goes at it with Bubba Rocque, a man he grew up with and has known for years. Bubba in one of the bad guys now. But, is it Bubba or his wife that is the worse. Burke writes so you can feel like you are there. You can see the people fishing and moving through the darkness. Except for his flashbacks I would give it a 5 rating but I don't care for those. A good book that will hold you attention.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best way to start the Robicheaux series.
"The Neon Rain" is the first book in the series, but this is the book to start with. I had actually seen the movie first, and liked it so much that I decided to give the... Read more
Published on March 5 2004 by Brad Cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Lacks heart
Plot-wise and writing-wise, this book is as good as Burke's others. But it lacked heart, considering Dave's loss. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars HEAVEN'S PRISONERS --A GOOD READ!!!!!
This is the second in the Dave Robicheaux series. I am trying to read them in order. Dave has quit the New Orleans police department and is running a fishing camp. Read more
Published on June 16 2001 by Mac Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven's Prisoners - touchs the heartbeat of the South
I grew up in Mr. Burke's Lousiana and know the cities he writes about. This book was like a visit home. Read more
Published on July 16 1998 by Jay
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars until the end
I really like the dave robicheaux novels. A truly flawed character without a doubt, but one who is easy to sympathize with. Read more
Published on June 19 1998 by Christopher B. Prentiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Dave wants serenity, but our tragic hero finds nightmares.
Dave Robicheaux is a classic, tragic hero. He has retired to the Bayou to find serenity, but trouble falls from the sky and brings him a blessing and a curse. Read more
Published on April 28 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you right down to the bayou, Podna!
I have finally found a new character to be completely facinated with. I read this book because of the movie and was surprised to find that the movie was a fairly faithful... Read more
Published on Sept. 1 1997
5.0 out of 5 stars The bayou comes alive!
After reading most of Mr Burke's books, I finally got around to reading this book because a movie was coming based on it. Read more
Published on March 27 1997
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