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Purple Cane Road (2001)

Purple Cane Road (2001)
4.11 of 5 Votes: 1
0440224047 (ISBN13: 9780440224044)
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Purple Cane Road (2001)
Purple Cane Road (2001)

About book: Burke, one of my favorite writers, has an extraordinary gift for the use of similes. He can evoke the atmosphere and scenery that sets him way above other writers in the mystery genre. Despite the brutality, violence and corruption, the story intrigues, and Burke continues to develop the character of Dave Robichaeux, ex- New Orleans cop and now homicide detective for the New Iberia Sheriff’s department. The integration of the past and its influence on the present is a recurring theme in Burke's books. Dave is trying to help Letty Labiche, a woman on death row for having murdered the man who had repeatedly molested her and her sister. That he was a cop meant the girls had little sympathy from the department. During his search for exculpatory evidence, Dave stumbles across Zipper Clum, a New Orleans lowlife who provides Dave with information that provideshim with leads related to the death of Dave's mother many years before. Dave, whose memories of his mother, Mae, are bittersweet, becomes obsessed with finding her murderers, cops in the pay of a local crime family, as it turns out. The investigation becomes messy, as the Labiche case becomes intertwined with his search for his mother's killers. Jim Gable, the political liaison in the governor's office with the New Orleans police department whom Dave has reason to dislike more than most, becomes implicated as does the attorney general, a woman Dave learns had connections with Labiche's parents. In the meantime, a hit man, Johnny Remeta, has taken a liking to Alifair, Dave's daughter. Johnny, too, is involved in the whole sordid mess that resolves into a climax revealing the truth of Mae's murder. Similes can often be overdone, in fact, a recent book I finished by Stuart Woods, Choke, eschewed them completely. Burke indulges in them quite successfully, and they bring a vividness to the ambiance that is quite startling; the scent of musty leaves, a fetid swamp and dank bar cascade the reader's senses. His latest book, White Dove in the Morning, which I purchased and am reading as an e-book, takes place during the Civil War; historical fiction is not his usual milieu, but this is excellent.

Police detective Dave Robicheaux learns about the murder of his mother - who had deserted him years ago but he did not know until recently that she apparently had been killed outside of a New Orleans nightclub by two cops - 35 years before. He's determined to find her the story unfolds he learns lots of secrets and finally the truth. Was a bit too typical mystery for me; although I loved the fact it was Louisiana based.Robicheaux first hears it from a pimp eager to trade information for his life: Mae Guillory was murdered outside a New Orlean...moreFrom Edgar Award-winner James Lee Burke comes this emotional powerhouse of a novel ... in which everyman hero Dave Robicheaux confronts the secrets of his long-forgotten past in a shattering tale of revenge, murder, and a mother's haunting legacy....Robicheaux first hears it from a pimp eager to trade information for his life: Mae Guillory was murdered outside a New Orleans nightclub by two cops. Dave Robicheaux was just a boy when his mother ran out on him and his whiskey-driven father.Now Robicheaux is a man, still haunted by her desertion and her death. More than thirty-five years after Mae Guillory died, her son will go to any length to bring her killers to justice. And as he moves closer to what happened that long-ago night, the Louisiana cop crosses lines of color and class to find the place where secrets of his past lie buried ... and where all roads lead to revenge -- but only one road leads to the truth....
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I like the writing style of James Lee Burke. He can really paint a picture with words and he has a way of turning a phrase that is simple yet stylish. Another novel in his Dave "Streak" Robicheaux series, this book just left me drained. Dave continually makes bad choices, at the cost of his family and friends, and even just reading about it wrings me out. Burke paints a beautiful picture -- unfortunately it's a picture of Paradise Lost. I'm not sure I'll want to read another Robicheax novel until I've read a few somethings lighter to cleanse my mental palate.
Nancy Brumback
This was not my favorite Dave Robicheaux novel. I had just finished Light of the World before I started Purple Cane Road, so not being a mystery fan, probably back to back James lee Burke is not a good idea for me anyway. But one aspect of the mystery was re what happened to Dave's mother, and i was very glad about the way that turned out for him. Some child molestation in this one, a gruesome subject I know, but it was handled well and lent a lot to the plot. Dave is married to Bootsie in this one; I love the way Dave describes their relationship. Alafair is about to get in trouble again, wouldn't you know. Sometimes I wonder if her mother has been strict enough with that girl; she's always doing something to twist her poor father up like a pretzel, with the expected angst on his part. Excellent descriptive material about the Louisiana Gulf coast, always a treat for me and the main reason why I read this stuff. Crazy as a coot Clete is at it again, throwing people off second story balconies, single-handedly destroying bars, and more of those things he does so well. But, the multi-dimensional plot is quite engaging, and as always in Burke, all the pieces are neatly tied up as you approach and finally reach the end. Overall, 3 1/2 stars rounded off to 3 instead of 4 because I don't want to give it 4. Mystery fans will enjoy this book.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I liked this book a lot, and I think Burke is a brilliant storyteller. I also feel that his novels are a bit billowy; in a good way, but still. They're expansive, sweeping, always stopping to smell the flowers or watch a pair of calico kittens playing in the bushes before someone punches someone or someone gets shot at by a psycho sniper. His books are full of good lawmen (and women) behaving badly and crooked cops behaving even worse. These are as much character studies and social documents as crime novels, if not more so. I just find his style ever so slightly over-dilatory at times, although that does not blunt the emotional resonance of this story, which is frankly quite devastating on that level.
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