Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Creole Belle by James Lee Burke

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451648138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451648133

Book Description

 Dave Robicheaux is back, in a gorgeously written, visceral thriller by James Lee Burke, “the heavy weight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed” (Michael Connelly).

Creole Belle begins where the last book in the Dave Robicheaux series, The Glass Rainbow, ended. Dave is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, where a Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him and leaves him an iPod with the country blues song “Creole Belle” on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie and goes in search of her sister, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf. Meanwhile, there has been an oil well blowout on the Gulf, threatening the cherished environs of the bayous.     

Creole Belle is James Lee Burke at his very best, with beloved series hero Dave Robicheaux leading the charge against the destruction of both the land and the people he has sworn to protect.

About the Author

 James Lee Burke is the author of thirty previous novels and two collections of short stories, including the New York Times bestsellers The Glass Rainbow and Feast Day of Fools. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

My Review

The biggest miracle that happened this year was that James Lee Burke's publisher sent me this book for review.  What a huge honour.  James Lee Burke is America's greatest living novelist.  His writing illuminates the human character in a way that no author comes close to.  And what a gifted storyteller...what an imagination.  Every novel he has written is such a treasure.

After the Glass Rainbow, the message boards were filled with readers worrying that Dave and Clete had their final adventure.  But everyone's prayers were answered when it was announced that Creole Belle would be released in July and that it was the next Dave Robicheaux book.  The sighs of relief flooded the internet!

Creole Belle is an amazing novel.  The novel opens with Dave recovering in a hospital in New Orleans.  A mysterious visitor appears in the middle of the night.  It is singer Tee Jolie Melton.  Was she a vision in his morphine haze or was she really there...he believes she was but his daughter Alafair and wife Molly are a little concerned with what they decide is just a vision.  The search for Tee Jolie consumes Dave when he returns to work as a detective.  When her sister shows up dead, floating in the bayou encased in ice his concern and determination to find her increases to the point of obsession.

Clete is well Clete and we wouldn't have it any other way.  He believes that a young woman Gretchen is his long lost daughter.  Without telling her who he is he sets about looking after her.  But he soon finds out she is more than capable of looking out for herself.  New side of Clete for us readers to revel in.

Louisiana is once again one of the main characters of a Burke novel.  He lives and breathes Louisiana like no other author can.  Mirroring recent news stories, a large oil company has had an oil spill in the Gulf.  Louisiana seems to keep taking the punches...Katrina, Rita, the disappearing coastline and now an oil spill further destroying Louisiana's delicately balanced ecosystem.  If there is anyone to tell this story it is James Lee Burke.

This book is amazing.  One of the best of the year.  What a story.  What revelations.  If you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet do it now!  This incredible book will be available on July 17th.

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