Sunset Limited Mass Market Paperback – Jul 6 1999
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoy very much James Lee Burke's books but his novels are not all masterpieces ! This one uses the same recipe : great descriptions (maybe too many ? Read morePublished 5 months ago by Claude Girard
I read "Heaven's Prisoners" and liked it, a lot. I was expecting this one to be good as well, but alas, no. Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by Denny Gibbons
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 morePublished on Sept. 9 2002 by David A. Knadler
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 morePublished on June 17 2002 by John D. Costanzo
It's funny that many readers thought this was one of Burke's worst books. I thought it was his best. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2000
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 morePublished on Aug. 11 2000 by wutanglen
The writing itself is not bad; the dialogue matches what I would expect of Louisiana and the characters are well defined. Read morePublished on March 30 2000