Of course he has his fine lead detective, Dave Robicheaux, right in the middle of it all - there is a lot going, and Burke keeps the plates spinning and balls flying thru the air. It was the disconnection of them from their environment that was hard for the eye to accept. And when we do see Ronald in action. Detective Dave Robicheaux and Hurricane Katrina. As always, the characters, both major and minor, are not only real but also fascinating in some way or other. I won't say Burke is a bad writer.
Rather than letting the story do the commentary, Burke has whole paragraphs effectively setting out his views on the catastrophe and who was responsible for the mayhem that followed. The description of post Katrina apocolypse gripped my heart with dispair. So much rage and pain, but also a great story and characters who are trying to carry on despite the disaster, despite finding they didn't live in the country they had thought. Robicheaux is going to need a hand dealing with this crew, and he gets it from his hard-drinking macho buddy Clete Purcell. James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the series.
And so did those of human beings, sometimes just a shoulder or an arm or the back of a head, suddenly surfacing, then sinking under the froth. The National Hurricance Center in Miami knew this. The water was chocolate-brown, the surface glistening with a blue-green sheen of oil and industrial chemicals. Nor could I afford the anger they engendered in me. If it's your first time on the site, or you're looking for something specific, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Trying to find a handle on them was impossible. But it doesn't even meet that standard. I tell you, Streak, I've seen some shit in my life, but nothing like this. Once I got past that, the story had me absolutely captivated. He has an uncanny ability to decipher the motivations of a wide variety of characters from all levels of society in the Deep South. And none will do it half so well as Burke.
Staggering sums of money were given to insider corporations who subcontracted the jobs to small outfits that used only nonunion labor. But that was before Hurricane Katrina ripped the soul out of Burke's beloved New Orleans and inspired him to write what has to be his most gripping thriller to date. You can listen to the full audiobook Tin Roof Blowdown for free at audibay. I read a lot of it with tears in my eyes, because, more than any news story I've yet read, his novel brought back the loss of New Orleans and the overwhelming indifference exhibited by our government to the poor of New Orleans, while telling a gripping tale involving vigilantism, diamond smuggling, and murder. He kept each individual character separate from the other and brought out the qualities and characteristics very well. But while the novel takes place in large part in the desolation of the city and the hurricanes, it's ultimately - as Burke's novels always are - the story of people.
They are not just cop stories. Not only does he use his words well, he uses them with emotion that tells us he has lived in dark places. I am all about the audio for these books. Bodies float in the streets and lie impaled on the branches of flooded trees. Burke's description of the destruction of New Orleans is convincing, but he needed a better plot. Burke's rich prose an intimate conversation with the reader.
The mess of characters doesn't get perfectly organized and explained by the end, but that didn't bother me too much. Burke's phrasing, similes and metaphors paint mind images as tangible as the recollection of a personally perceived sensory experience. But that's what I like about them. In his singular style, which defies genre, James Lee Burke has created a haunting picture of life in New Orleans after Katrina. Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. Melodrama isn't enough for him.
This is James Lee Burke's elegiac for America in the aftermath of Katrina. It is a work of profound historical value and importance. Sometimes fiction, at least Burke's fiction, is far more evocative than all the news reports, specials and other stuff in the media. His characters are vivid and come alive and you become immersed in the story. All while the storm turns the Big Easy into a lawless wasteland of apocalyptic proportions. Not many authors can crawl inside the heads of sychopaths, an alcaholic, a Viet Nam Vet that has seen too much, a killer, rapist, a torturor, an ex-cop, and an impulsive partner that seems out of control. Deft shifts of points of view allow for a more fully fleshed story than Robicheaux alone could tell.