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The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel [Paperback]

James Lee Burke
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2002 Dave Robicheaux Mysteries
Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux's haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans' French Quarter -- the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Burke's sixth novel pits New Orleans homicide detective Dave Robichaux against the mob, the contras, the Feds and just about all the other cops. The trouble starts when Robichaux insists on investigating the murder of a young prostitute and discovers that it isn't only the crooks who don't want the truth to come out: the police don't want it revealed, either. The underworld and the authorities combine to cobble up a frame against Robichaux, and suddenly he's on the run. Burke's maverick detective and his gritty, realistic dialogue and convoluted plotting are reminiscent of Elmore Leonardwhose latest novel, Bandits, has a contra angle, too. The matter of subterranean government policy running amok suits the world of suspense fiction well, serving it in the 1980s the way Cold War themes fed the genre in earlier decades. With its fine local color and driving action, this novel is both chilling and first-rate entertainment.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

New Orleans homicide cop Dave Robicheaux has a passion for fishing. While pursuing his hobby on a back country bayou, Robicheaux finds a body. His discovery pulls him into a network of small-time Mafiosi, Nicaraguan drug dealers, federal Treasury agents and retired two-star generalsall involved in a plot to ship arms to the Nicaraguan contras. More interesting than the unraveling of this plot is Robicheaux himselfCajun, recovering alcoholic, practicing Catholicand his efforts to preserve his integrity in the face of provocation. Better still are Burke's evocative descriptions of New Orleans life both high and low. The book is marred slightly by a resemblance to the Travis McGee seriesRobicheaux lives on a houseboat and has a penchant for color-laden metaphor. But Neon Rain is a well-crafted novel with a likable hero. Louise A. Merriam, L.E. Phillips Memorial P.L., Eau Claire, Wis.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
THE EVENING SKY WAS STREAKED WITH PURPLE, THE color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neon Rain: Burke true heir to Hammett May 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There is only one other mystery writer alive today who can approach the genius of Burke and that is Dennis Lehane. If you have not had the pleasure of discovering Burke, do so with this, the first of his 11, soon to be 12, novels starring the alchoholic, Cajun detective from New Iberia and The Big Easy, David Robicheaux. Dark and edgy and existential, Robicheaux inhabits a world of demons both internal and external. With the brutality of a Peckenpah film and the honesty of Sartre essay, this detective puts the formulaic best sellers to shame. If you want to remember why you read Ross McDonald (Lou Archer) and John D (Travis Magee) then do what I'm doing: start with Neon Rain and work your way through in order. The rewards are like a Saturday at the movies when it was a dime and the serials were as good as the main feature and the Duncan Yo Yo expert could walk the dog and rock the cradle. Drop the best sellers, unless you're reading The Last Empire or The Corrections and pick up James Lee Burke. You won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK diversion but dated Dec 28 2001
By Rafik
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reading the Neon Rain by James Lee Burke was only ok but diverting nonetheless. Reading Doug Greenberg's most excellent review here at Amazon hit the nail on the head. Jame Lee Burke's writing style was quite good but the plot became rather anticlimatic and too one dimensional. True, one has to read this definitive first book in the Robicheaux series to fully appreciate the later books. Robicheaux reminds me of John D. MacDonald's famous detective, Travis McGee (who is the definitive hardboild protagonist and is way hard to beat). Robicheaux lives on a houseboat in New Orleans instead of Florida and is fighting his own personal demons with alcohol, injustice and getting even. The VietNam veteran angle has been done to death, but in this outing is somewhat tolerable by the excellent narrative descriptions. Personally I had a bit of a problem with our hero waxing poetic about the Confederacy and the South that looses me, a Northern city boy. To me there was nothing romantic about the civil war, and a character that seems to honor that (Confederate) memory, and want to fight for the little guy is a bit of a contradiction in terms that needs more exploring. The reviews for the Purple Cane Road looks more promising and is next on my list and should be a better read. Kindly look for my review in the coming weeks.
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2.0 out of 5 stars More graphic than I expected Oct. 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been holding onto this book for awhile, having bought it on the recommendation of Doug and Tomi Lewis at the Little Bookshop of Horrors in Denver. I'd been interested in Burke's novels based on his critical reputation and evocative titles, but had hesitated to start another mystery series when I was having so much trouble getting throught the ones I had started years ago. But then Burke visited the Bookshop on a signing tour, and Doug and Tomi convinced me to give him a try.
Dave Robicheaux is a New Orlean's detective who's got two problems. One, a man on death row tells him that he's marked for death, and, two, he's worried about what this floater he found in an east side bayou might mean. Along the way, he discovers that the time problems are not as separate as they might seem. The writing is good, but the plot is steamier and more graphic than I had expected. The brutality in the book matches Burke's style, but was surprising coming from what I had thought the book would be based on the critical comments that I had read.
The most intriguing aspect of this book was the handling of Robicheaux's alcoholism. This is a modern detective novel, tough but not in the unrealistic hard-boiled style. Robicheaux's drinking problem is a living thing--not a static bit used to "develop" the character and only ends up being paint on the cardboard cut out. Robicheaux's problem is as much of a dynamic as himself, or, to put it better, is a reflection of his own dynamic personality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery 101 (One Man's Continuning Education) Sept. 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Except for a few Christies in my teens, I never read mysteries at all (except for one or two that somehow made it into my college curriculum). It had less to do with a lack of interest than a lack of time. I was a struggling academic a long time (too long) and, although I enjoyed mystery films and TV shows, almost everything I read had to do with what I thought would be my life's vocation.
But the genre always intrigued me. International literary figures from Borges to Duerrenmatt have championed the genre and have often used it to their own ends. I was aware that many mystery writers were quite serious about their writing and that much of it rivaled the best in contemporary serious literature.
So in recent years, I've been playing catch up. I've joined with others in forming a Mystery Discussion Group in my public library...and most of these folks are much more knowledgeable than I am. In the past year, we have been doing a lot of sampling of various series, usually a very early work.
I will say that of all the authors we've discussed thus far, James Lee Burke was the least well received--by OTHERS! I found this hard hitting, hard bitten writer to be compelling. But most of the other members of the group seem to prefer more of a "drawing room" type mystery. I don't think I had ever really realized how great a gulf there was between the various sub-genres (I guess it's the Hammett vs. Christie school of thought).
If you've ever railed against the "bloodless" old-school, high tea kind of mysteries, you may want to check Burke out. People really die brutal, ugly deaths here. Murder is not seen as an intellectual puzzle, but as a horrible, de-humanizing reality. For that alone, I give Burke high marks.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars my you love the bayou...
Mind you, more of this book is set in New Orleans than Dave Robicheaux's usual haunts in New Iberia but this novel takes place earlier on in his career as demons, criminals and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Richard G. Schwindt
4.0 out of 5 stars On The Way To Burnout
New Orleans Detective Dave Robicheau finds the body of a black prostitute named Lovelace Deshotels while fly-fishing in Bayou Lafourche. Read more
Published on June 11 2002 by Peter Kenney
5.0 out of 5 stars Neon Rain: Burke true heir to Hammett
There is only one other mystery writer alive today who can approach the genius of Burke and that is Dennis Lehane. Read more
Published on May 11 2002 by Patrick Cronin
3.0 out of 5 stars A Weak Start To A Terrific Series
The best way to read any literary series, including those involving hard-boiled detectives, is to pick them up in the order the books were written. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2001 by Douglas A. Greenberg
3.0 out of 5 stars SO-SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
This is the first James Lee Burke book I have read. Everybody said read them in order and they will mean more. Read more
Published on June 1 2001 by Mac Blair
5.0 out of 5 stars What a terrific book!
My dad listens to a ton of audio books and James lee Burke is at the top of his list; he has most of Burke's books on tape. Read more
Published on March 29 2001 by Charles J Horne
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Mystery Series!
The David Robicheaux novels of James Lee Burke are simply some of the best fiction out there. You will be hard pressed to find a more exciting, more thought provoking, well... Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2000 by Crossfit Len
5.0 out of 5 stars I have to disagree--Neon Rain is the best
I have all of the Dave Robicheaux books, and I think Neon Rain is still the best. Tightly constructed and enthralling. Read more
Published on March 30 2000 by David Stine
3.0 out of 5 stars Adventure story set in New Orleans
Dave Robicheaux, New Orleans cop, gets involved with lowlives, including hefty mobster Didi Gee. Dave kills a few people and eventually has a confrontation with the Didi Gee... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2000
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