5.0 out of 5 stars Burke is still up there with the best contemporary writers
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...
Published on Dec 10 2003 by D. F. Wurst
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 turning the pages.
I couldn't help feeling that I'd read all this before, though. The haunting descriptions of light and water and Louisiana weather and love-making -- they all bear a slight...
Published on Sept. 9 2002 by David A. Knadler
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1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible at best,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (Mass Market Paperback)I read "Heaven's Prisoners" and liked it, a lot. I was expecting this one to be good as well, but alas, no. It is one of those books with a plot so contrived and meandering that if someone were to ask me to summarize the book, I'd just shrug and shake my head.
I was also very disappointed with the character. I like detective stories. REAL detective stories, stories where the main character does actualy investigative work. Dave Robicheaux doesn't investigate--he stumbles around from place to place, threatening and making harsh accusations without any evidence of wrongdoing. The only time he ever really learns new information is when suspects come to him for some reason and give him info, without him really making an effort to figure out more.
This novel's only saving grace is the author's beautiful and vivid description of southern Louisiana. However, even this gets old, as the reader is treated to a constant reminder of the climate and temperature every time the main character so much as steps outside to walk to his car. And I really don't like novels that waste time with mundane details like what the protagonist has for lunch every day, and a step-by-step update on how he prepares his Po' boy sandwich.
4.0 out of 5 stars First time reading Burke,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Burke is still up there with the best contemporary writers,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (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.
3.0 out of 5 stars a series winds down,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (Mass Market Paperback)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 turning the pages.
I couldn't help feeling that I'd read all this before, though. The haunting descriptions of light and water and Louisiana weather and love-making -- they all bear a slight hint of boilerplate now, stuff pulled from a bag of literary material and bolted on where necessary. Also, the plotting here seems a bit more careless, with at least a couple bits of deus ex machina toward the end that a struggling writer would not dare to use.
I can recommend "Sunset Limited" for the atmosphere and the characters, but would urge those new to the series to start with the earlier titles -- "Neon Rain" comes to mind as one of the best. JLB has had a great run with Robicheaux, but maybe now it's time to give him and New Iberia a little R&R.
4.0 out of 5 stars Sun Up To Sun Down,
By A Customer
This review is from: Sunset Limited (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.
4.0 out of 5 stars As usual, a cut above the rest!,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (Mass Market Paperback)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. Burke eloquently portrays the violence and injustice that lurks beneath the surface of our world. His world is a dark place in which in many people have not progressed beyond the mentality that existed in the pre-civil war era.
In Sunset Limited there are many crimes that needs to be solved. You need to pay attention or you could easily get lost. I thought the story suffered a little because of its slight lack of focus, and for this reason I don't think it was as good as some of his previous books. But overall, it was a gripping and well-written crime novel that is clearly a cut above the genre.
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Writing With Baffling Plot,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Start Here,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (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. Real life is often like this,a nd some readers may like it this way, but I don't read fiction to get reality. I like stories with all the loose ends tied up.
When I got "Sunset Limited", I was not aware that the Dave Robicheaux character had such a lengthy history. In retrospect, this book was probably not the best place to make his acquaintance. The story is fast-paced and I enjoyed it, but I felt that a lot of loose ends remained when I finished the book, and I probably would have gotten more from it if I had read other books in this series before this one. This is a good book, and I think fans of this series will certainly enjoy it. If you're a newcomer to the Robicheaux novels, however, I suggest that you start with an earlier one. For myself, some earlier Robicheaux books are definitely on the agenda.
5.0 out of 5 stars character resonance,
By A Customer
This review is from: Sunset Limited (Mass Market Paperback)It's funny that many readers thought this was one of Burke's worst books. I thought it was his best. The "villains" in the story were inspired, beginning with the loyal psychopath Swede Boxleiter, who retains amusing habits from his days as an abused orphan (walking on his hands, acrobatics on tree limbs). Harpo Scruggs was an oily redneck assassin who was despicable yet still garnered pity. And the two latter misanthropes--Ruben Esteban and a Canadian bounty hunter--were memorable as well. Does Burke use mugshots when he thinks up his psychopaths? Many of these characters seem vaguely familiar. It's as if I've seen them on the periphery of my own life. The beauty of Burke's writing lies in his expert characterizations. He gives even the most demented sociopaths redeeming qualities that erase the fine line between black and white. And the scene with Clete Purcell chasing Ricky Scarlotti after using a plumber's helper on him was classic, both rousing and sobering, with an unexpected complication. James Lee Burke excels at brevity, knowing just when to end the action to leave the reader breathless. The climax of Sunset Limited is a poignant tribute to "Casablanca". It really doesn't matter how original the plot is, Burke's vivid characters make it seem new and interesting. And I enjoy the way he finds evil in the least anticipated setting, sitting with affluent neighbors on a patio enjoying a glass of lemonade...
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Fans of the Series,
This review is from: Sunset Limited (Mass Market Paperback)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, and intelligent story lines are just some of what sets these novels apart.
I feel as a fan of the series, Sunset Limited continues that trend.
What I found a little different about this particular novel was the lack of background information on some of the series secondary characters. I have found that any of the other novels in the series give enough information that someone new could start with any of them. However, this is not the case with Sunset Limited. Therefore, I do not recommend this particular David Robicheaux novel for newcomers. I was surprized at just how little his wife, Batist, his daughter had to do with this story. But again, other than that this was a great book.
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Sunset Limited by James Lee Burke (Mass Market Paperback - July 6 1999)
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