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The Neon Rain (1987)

por James Lee Burke

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Dave Robicheaux (1)

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1,864749,179 (3.76)119
Fiction. Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker. "One of Burke's best."-New York Times Book Review.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 74 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A New Orleans homicide cop confronts arms-smugglers, the Mafia and his own private demons in this suspenser, the latest offering from James Lee Burke (Robicheaux is on a fishing trip when he discovers the body of a young black woman floating in the water. The trail leads to Julio Segura, a Nicaraguan vice king who is in exile, but still funding the Contras with dope money. He has also put out a contract on Dave Robicheaux's lite. Segura is soon killed by Dave's partner. The others involved in the arms-smuggling force cover Dave in alcohol and leave him to die in a burning car. He does manage to survive the fire but doesn't do so well with his superiors on the police force, who quickly suspend him without pay, figuring since he had had a problem with booze before that he's drinking again: We find out that Dave is an "arrested alcoholic, with a marriage and combat service in Vietnam behind him. The only thing keeping him staying sober is Annie Ballard, the sweet little blonde he collected somewhere along the way.... who encourages and believes in him. Dave still has unfinished work...like dispatching more bad guys from other cases and in a development unrelated to the arms-smuggling, taking on the local Mafia head. Somehow...unknown hands stow away the hood's body, the remaining arms-smugglers are brought to justice, and Dave is reinstated...but still not really trusted or loved by his fellow cops. This entire story is the story of one cop, and the cases read more like an afterthought taking away the excitement of all the kills... But what the heck? There were still eight very bad guys that came to violent bloody ends. In spite of that there are still some good investigative scenes that are filled with close calls and excitement....and a little romance. I read this book 20 or so years ago and have read many of the later books in the series...so I know that the series is a very worth the time effort...it just takes some time and patience to get there. ( )
  Carol420 | May 28, 2024 |
I have been long overdue for reading (or listening to in this case) one of James Lee Burke's books. After my brother recommended him, I jumped in at the start of the Dave Robicheaux series and was amply rewarded by a book whose plot may ramble a bit, but that rewards the reader from start to finish with some of the best characters and dialogue you'll come across. When you add the incmoparable Will Patton as the audiobook narrator, how can it miss? The story, part of which involves shadowy figures supporting the Nicaraguan Contras, is a bit dated, but the action scenes, the character of Robicheaux, and the satisfaction of some of the outcomes is not. There is even humor here and there, such as the scene with the porno theater owner. I'm moving straight on into Book 2; however, Patton doesn't narrate that one. I do see he comes back here and there as the series moves on, though.
  datrappert | May 17, 2024 |
If we do things in chronological order, this is where we first meet David Robicheaux and all his demons. In this one he's a detective lieutenant with the New Orleans Police Department, with one ex-wife in his past, 14 years on the force, a tentative grip on his alcoholism, some Vietnam flashbacks, lots of issues with authority, and a partner he should just shoot. He's also well-educated and a practicing Catholic. Having read the rest of the series to date, I know I like the man in spite of his flaws, and that Burke has a lot of depth despite the prevalence of violence in his books. If I had read this one first, though, I just don't know if it would have led me on to the others.
Review written in 2009 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Mar 7, 2024 |
If I could only pick one series to read it would probably be the Robicheaux series which I would head to although Inspector Gamache and Commissario Brunetti would not be far behind. I picked up The Neon Rain in the library on a whim, not remembering that I had already read it. This is one of the books that I can read again and again so that doesn't matter.

Burke's books are quite hard to review as the themes are present in all his books right from the very beginning: the presence of evil in some people and in some of the sytems and structures of the police and government, the depiction of the area that he lives in and the place of power and its use to name but a few. These are all in this book. So for this review, I am going to focus on the descriptions of the place as well as the plot otherwise you will get the same review for each book.

Robicheaux is called to meet a prisoner who is due to die in the next few hours. This prisoner, Massina, wants to warn him of a hit that has been taken out on him - a man with many evil acts behind him trying to make good at the last moment. Burke describes the walk into the jail in one long, twisty sentence showing us the never-endingness of the place.

I parked the car and we entered the Block, passed through the first lockdown area where both the snitches and the dangerous ones stayed, walked down the long, brilliantly lit breezeway between the recreation yards into the next dormitory, passed through another set of hydraulic locks and a dead space where two hacks sat at a table playing cards and where a sign overhead read NO GUNS BEYOND THIS POINT, into the rec and dining halls where the black trustys were running electric waxers on the gleaming floors, and finally walked up the spiral iron steps to a small maximum-security corner where Johnny Massina was spending the last three hours of his life.
p3

In one sentence that is a paragraph we move from the car park, through the prison and up to the character we want to listen to. It might be a long sentence but it does get us quite quickly from A to B and creates the atmosphere. There is a sense of running through the motions, doing things that don't need doing or saying; boredom. There isn't really a wasted word although there are a lot of wasted lives living in that sentence.

Twisted into the story of who is out to get Robicheaux is the lost life of a young black woman that he found drifting in the bayou. And here, the calm provided by fishing is reflected in the description of the water and land.

The shore was thickly lined with cypress trees, and it was cool and quiet in the green-gold morning light that fell through the canopy of limbs overhead. The lily pads were abloom with purple flowers, and I could smell the trees, the moss, the wet green lichen on the bark, the spray of crimson and yellow four o'clocks that were stil open in the shade.
p11

I can picture this place where not only do we have the plants but the colours and the smells. Trees are often referred to has having limbs but in this book, the limbs are mirrored in the horror that lurks in the water in the same paragraph. Robicheaux spots an alligator floating in the water looking like 'a brown rock' and when another boat passes and disturbs the water he sees 'a bare leg, a band, . . .'.

This being a young black woman, her missing has not been investigated and nor is her death. Injustice being a theme running through all of the books means that Robicheaux will investigate and of course these two stories merge together with a lot of violence and not all the right people captured and tried.

It would not be true to say that throughout the series the men are the evil and women good or in the light but in this book it is. When we come across Annie, the weather changes

The sky had cleared and the air was suddenly blue and gold when the sun broke through the clouds, but the wind was still loud in the oak trees along the lane, and torn leaves were scattered across the lawns.
p258

It is clear that not everything is right, we still have the after effect of the storm and when Robicheaux meets Annie he tries to get her to stop wanting to see him as he attracts too much evil and drags a lot along with him. She is decribed as wearing

. . . white Levi's, a pink pullover blouse, and gold hoop earrings that made her look like a flower child of the sixties.
p258

Sweet, innocent colours and a smbol of peace in complete contrast to the men who have been chasing him.

Death was a rodent that ate its way inch by inch through your entrails, chewed at your liver and stomach, severed tendon from organ, until finally, when you were along in the dark, it sat gorged and sleek next to your head, its eyes resting, its wet muzzled like a kiss, a promise whispered in the air.
p301

There is something about a series of books: we know and probably like the main characters, the themes appeal to us and in this series the place. We know what we are going to get as an outline of a story and there is a great comfort in that. This is especially true of the Robicheaux series for me but what we also get is good writing and that makes all the difference. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Dec 4, 2023 |
The novel that brings us Dave Robicheaux. This is my third time reading this book. James Lee Burke once said that his English teacher in high school told him that his use of the English language was atrocious, or something to that effect. Well, if that was the case, he got over it. Some of his prose is so poetic, I read it aloud just to hear the beauty. The way he describes a simple rain storm or an early morning is enough for me to delve into one of his novels. No one writes a better love scene. Robicheaux philosophizes from time to time, getting me to think more about the human condition and our place in the world.
"...I reflected upon the ambiguous importance of the past in our lives. In order to free ourselves from it, I thought, we treat it as a decaying memory. At the same time, it's the only measure of identity we have. There is no mystery to the self; we are what we do and where we have been. So we have to resurrect the past constantly, erect monuments to it, and keep it alive in order to remember who we are." p. 150 ( )
  MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Burke, James Leeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Holleman, WimTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Patton, WillNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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To the family of Walter J. Burke of New Iberia, Louisiana, with great affection for their gentle spirit and kind ways.
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The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.
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Fiction. Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker. "One of Burke's best."-New York Times Book Review.

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