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Sunset Limited [Mass Market Paperback]

James Lee Burke
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 6 1999 Dave Robicheaux Mysteries
In a land soaked with sin, Dave Robicheaux is dueling with killers, ghosts, and a woman's revenge....

The townspeople of New Iberia, Louisiana, didn't crucify Megan Flynn's father. They just didn't catch whoever pinned him to a barn wall with sixteen-penny nails.

Decades later, Megan, now a world-famous photojournalist, has come back to the bayou, looking for cop Dave Robicheaux. It was Dave who found the body of labor leader Jack Flynn. The sight changed the boy, shaped him as a man. And after forty years, Robicheaux is still haunted by the bizarre unsolved slaying.

Now Megan's return has stirred up the ghosts of the long-buried past, igniting a storm of violence that will rip apart lives of blacks and whites in this bayou county. And for a good cop with bad memories, hard desires, and chilling nightmares, the time has come to uncover the truth.

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Sunset Limited + Burning Angel + Dixie City Jam
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Product Description

From Amazon

Dripping with the cynicism and sweat that runs rampant through the Louisiana bayou parishes, actor Will Patton gives an extraordinary reading of James Lee Burke's latest tension-filled tale. Each character gets a distinct patois that not only distinguishes his or her voice, but conveys class, race, and in many cases, a raw, unforgiving, and unsavory nature: necessary ingredients for such a brilliant and dark work. And while Northerners may, at times, struggle with the strong colloquialisms, Patton's varied Southern tones justify a listen.

Like Burke's other work, contradictions rule. Beauty is juxtaposed against ugliness; rape, killings, and revenge are woven through an intense and elegiac prose in which the lush details of nature run profuse and poetic. The upshot is an almost dreamlike, or rather nightmarish, account of detective Dave Robicheaux's search for justice in a mounting set of murders. His journeys run from wealthy manors to cockfights and cathouses and through the injustices of a South where past and present are rarely separated. The detective's keen, indisputable insights on human nature and history set him and this story apart from all peers. (Running time: 4.5 hours, four cassettes) --Anne Lockwood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

After stepping into stand-alone territory with Cimmaron Rose (1997), Burke choreographs a masterful return to the lush and brooding world of volatile New Iberia Sheriff's Deputy Dave Robicheaux (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996). This tale's strength lies in breathtaking, moody descriptive passages and incisive vignettes that set time, place and character. Burke's major themes, that the past is key to the present and that money buys power, pervade this mystery. The narrative, with more twists and bounces than a fish fighting a hook, rises from the violent, unsolved murder 40 years ago of union organizer Jack Flynn. The story encompasses at least eight disparate but interlocking subplots: the crooked money behind a movie directed by Flynn's son Cisco; the hold that ex-con Swede Boxleiter has on Cisco's photojournalist sister, Megan; Willie "Cool Breeze" Broussard's theft of a mob warehouse; his wife Ida's suicide 20 years ago; the shooting of two white brothers who raped a black woman; alcoholic Lisa Terrebonne's haunted childhood; her wealthy, arrogant father's ties to Harpo Scruggs, a vicious murderer; the post-Civil War killing by freed slaves of a Terrebonne servant. Hired assassins, snitches, lawmen and FBI agents weave through the novel. Dave and his partner Detective Helen Soileau find the connections, but Dave knows that in the ongoing class war, the worst criminals wield too much influence to pay for their crimes. In rich, dense prose, Burke conjures up bizarre, believable characters who inhabit vivid, spellbinding scenes in a multifaceted, engrossing plot. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I HAD SEEN A DAWN like this one only twice in my life: once in Vietnam, after a Bouncing Betty had risen from the earth on a night trial and twisted its tentacles of light around my thighs, and years earlier outside of Franklin, Louisiana, when my father and I discovered the body of a labor organizers who had been crucified with sixteen-penny nails, ankle and wrist, against a barn wall. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars First time reading Burke May 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First, I have to agree with the other reviewer in saying that this probably isn't the best book to start off reading that's a part of the Dave R. series by Burke! This was my first by him, and it did seem a bit hard to get a handle on some things.
I did enjoy this book, but in trying to sum it up...I'm at a loss. This book had SO much going on!! There's a murder of a black man 40 years ago that is still unsolved and now his children are back in town to possibly resolve it...there are numerous criminals in and about town of a big stature creating a fuss...there are several local's who have issues of their own that need resolving...there's just SO much! There are so many characters, that I had a very hard time keeping them and their pasts straight. While I enjoyed some of the individual stories, it did get to be too much. I felt this book could have used some heavy editing.
Over-all, I did enjoy this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat to see how it would end and what all of the big cover-ups were. One thing to note-pay close attention to everything, if you miss something, you'll miss a lot.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am an unabashed fan of the Dave Robicheaux series. I know that some readers were disappointed with this particular book because it did not focus quite as much on Dave's homelife as some of the others, but that really didn't bother me in the least. Burke draws his characters so finely, and so seamlessly that it is a joy to read any of his books. This book is somewhat darker than some of the other ones, but the parallels Burke draws between the human condition of the past, and the presesnt are not wasted on the reader. There is also a great deal of humor in the book. The scenes of Clete Purcell (Robicheaux's ex-partner on NOPD) busting up mobsters and setting up dirtbag bikers is hysterical. I laughed until the tears rolled down my cheeks. Underneath it all, however, is the wonderfully complex character of Dave Robicheaux who struggles so valiantly with external and internal demons. There is a spirit to Robicheaux that is difficult not to like or even love. He gives everything to everything he does...not always winning....but never giving up. I loved the book...and I love the series. I hope Burke writes a hundred more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sun Up To Sun Down July 23 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
Set in New Iberia, La. This novel takes you from the estates of the rich to back room cockfights to brothels. From rape to murder to other various acts of violence, this book has it all. Can Detective Robicheaux solve a forty year old murder? What would cause someone to drag up something so long ago and forgotten by most? You have to read or listen to this novel to find out. With many twists and turns this novel weaves a tale of action and suspense.
This was my first experience with the works of Mr. Burke and I was extremely pleased with it. The characters were absolutely wonderful and the narrator Will Patton did a marvelous job at creating different distinguishing voices for each of them. Many times when listening to a book on tape, you have to listen very close to distinguish between the characters. This wasn't the case here. Mr. Burke did a great job in bringing the settings and characters to life, and with the help of Mr. Patton creating mental pictures of the people and places in the book was extremely easy.
The twists and turns I wrote of earlier will also keep you changing your mind about who did what, when and where that you will finally give up and just wait for the end.
Again, this was my first experience with any of the works of Mr. Burke and it isn't going to be my last.
If you like detective novels or a good book on tape, don't skip this because you'll be sorry you did.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Writing With Baffling Plot Oct. 17 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a James Lee Burke fan and I enjoy his beautiful writing, loaded with metaphors and interesting uses of language.
The plot was almost impenetrable. Although Dave is a detective, he does no detective work. Instead, he travels to the suspect (or even worse the suspect travels to him) and says nasty things to the suspect and accuses the suspect of being a bad guy. Hopefully, the police are smarter than this. Why the bad guys would waste their time talking to these people is never explained. There is no police work such as determining if a person had an alibi and checking the alibi. Instead, all witnesses are threatened or worse beaten up by Dave, his oddball partner Helen. No one ever seems to interview an eyewitness.
Also, Clete, Dave's ex-partner, appears in the story only to beat up bad guys. After the various Clete scenes, I was rooting for the bad guys or at least a civil rights attorney to sue this guy. He is an out of control thug who should be brought to justice. The plot is absolutely dreadful. You end up sympathizing with mobsters and bad people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Start Here May 13 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Sunset Limited" is my first book by Burke. In many ways, it is excellent. Burke has the ability to make you feel like you're in the middle of the scenes he describes. He conjures up mist rising from a Louisiana bayou so that you not only see it, you smell it and feel it as well. His characters come alive in a very human way. There are manipulators and pawns, perpetrators and victims. Innocents sometimes pay a heavy price for the misdeeds of others, but even a killer like Swede Boxleiter has redeeming qualities. And Burke's story never has a dull moment. Tension is constant and there is plenty of action.
With all these strengths brought to bear,"Sunset Limited" has a lot going for it, but it also has some shortcomings. This is the 16th Dave Robicheaux novel. A consequence of this is that some things are taken for granted, like the nickname "Streak". Several characters use it on Robicheaux, but if you're unfamiliar with the series, its significance is lost on you. This isn't a big deal, but it is symptomatic of the fact that terms and local expressions abound in this book. To the extent that it can sometimes be difficult for the uninitiated to follow the meaning. Another thing that struck me was that there are a lot of characters in the story, and some just seem to fade in or out without adequate introduction or resolution. For example, "Cool Breeze" Broussard is a pivotal character early in the story, but he just seems to disappear about midway through and you never see any more of him. In the end, the story itself seems to fade away almost like "Cool Breeze". I felt that a lot was left unresolved when the book was done, and it left me with a vaguely unsatisfied feeling.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible at best
I read "Heaven's Prisoners" and liked it, a lot. I was expecting this one to be good as well, but alas, no. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by Denny Gibbons
3.0 out of 5 stars a series winds down
James Lee Burke at his worst is better than most mystery writers at their best. This is probably the least compelling of the Robicheaux series, but it's still enough to keep you... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2002 by David A. Knadler
4.0 out of 5 stars As usual, a cut above the rest!
Burke maintains his usual high standard in this complicated and disturbing crime novel. Like always, the novel is loaded with atmosphere and interesting, fully evolved characters. Read more
Published on June 17 2002 by John D. Costanzo
5.0 out of 5 stars character resonance
It's funny that many readers thought this was one of Burke's worst books. I thought it was his best. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Fans of the Series
James Lee Burkes David Robicheaux novels are some of the best suspense/mystery novels out there. Great dialogue, characters you care about, great descriptions of New Orleans,... Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2000 by Crossfit Len
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice dialogue, ok plot
The writing itself is not bad; the dialogue matches what I would expect of Louisiana and the characters are well defined. Read more
Published on March 30 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars There are others that are better
I just finished reading, "Angels Flight," "Everybody Dies," and "Sunset Limited. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2000 by P. Braun
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great Burke/Robicheaux.
Like other reviewers here I think Burke and Robicheaux are getting tired. They both need a rest...Burke is now writing about Texas and Streak is kinda lost in the bayou. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 1999 by zorba
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