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The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
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The Neon Rain

by James Lee Burke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dave Robicheaux (1)

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1,226386,502 (3.81)73
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English (37)  French (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Neon Rain opens in New Orleans where we meet Cajun Dave Robicheaux, a lieutenant in the New Orleans Police Department. A recovering alcoholic and Vietnam vet, he lives on a houseboat on Lake Pontchartrain. He's been called up to Angola Federal Prison to meet a man on death row who has requested his visit. He's been arrested by Dave over the years and wants to let him know that he's heard there is a contract out on Dave's life. Apparently Dave found the body of a young black prostitute floating in the bayous while he was out fishing one day. Dave is surprised because he's not interested in the case and has just assumed the woman drowned. His feelings change once he discovers his life is in jeopardy so he and his partner, Clete Purcel, begin their own investigation. This leads them to a conspiracy of graft and corruption that spreads into the dark alleys of New Orleans famous French Quarter and into a world filled with drug lords and gangsters that may be connected to the highest levels of the U.S. Government.

Neon Rain is the beginning of a first rate, “hard boiled” detective series. There’s a lot of brutality in this story and some fairly extreme violence. The author really brings us to Louisiana with his atmospheric descriptions of New Orleans and the mysterious bayous and different lifestyles of the region. I've read a couple other Dave Robicheaux books over the years and while I don't think this was the very best one, it does introduce us to some really interesting characters. I'm not sure when I stopped reading the series but I'm definitely planning to pick them up again.

( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Dave Robicheaux is your quintessential hard-boiled detective, struggling with anger issues, inner demons and alcohol. When he's not out bashing bad guys, he is waxing poetically about the meaning of life and who makes the best beignets (PS: The answer is Cafe du Monde). The only thing that makes him different from other great tough guy detectives is that he speaks with a Cajun accent. Who doesn't love that? ( )
  Unkletom | Dec 21, 2015 |
Two together this time, and two re-reads: In The Electric Mist With Confederate Dead and The Neon Rain, by James Lee Burke. The reason I picked up the first is because I knew that a fim version was due to be released this year. The reason I picked up the latter is beacuse when I finished the former, I wanted more.
The first thing you notice about In The Electric Mist With Confederate Dead is that awesome title. Just look at it. Think it. Say it aloud a few times to yourself. Say it in your best aproximation of a Louisiana accent. There you go. The language and the imagery it evokes wafts over your inner ear and eye like something utterly familiar to you that you had somehow forgotten until you read those words in that fake-ass accent and suddenly there it was again. You knew it all along.
That's what Burke's writing does. His lyrical purple passages may describe scenery, weather, humans, states of mind, the many and varied standing wave fronts of ethical behaviours by individuals or groups, magnificently good or staggeringly evil, but every last one strikes clear through the heart and the brain like lightning out of blue sky.
Both feature Dave Robicheaux, Burke's recurring hero. Vietnam vet, alcoholic, haunted by memories and sometimes ghosts, intensely aware of the beauty of the world around him and the evil it hides and, hell, I can't believe I spelled that right first time and without looking it up.
Neon Rain is the first Robicheaux novel, and takes place while he is still with the New Orleans Police Department. In later books he has moved to Iberia Parish and works for the Sherrif's Department there, but New Orleans often features; indeed, 2008's The Tin Roof Blow-Down is an angry dirge to the death of the city at the hands of, first, Katrina and, second, official corruption and neglect. Informed by a death row inmate that someone has put a price on his head, Dave and his partner, Clete Purcel, home in on mob bosses, pimps, pornographers and government assasins, paying a high price while bodies pile up around them.

Cont'd.... ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
I'm quite torn about this book. I did not like the plot, finding it difficult to follow. However, Burke is a fabulous writer, with richly described characters and descriptions of the Deep South that make me want to visit! ( )
  martensgirl | Mar 26, 2015 |
The film “Heaven’s Prisoners” introduced me to Dave Robicheaux, or Streak. Alec Baldwin played Streak sweaty, as though the very act of breathing was a burden, and on a slow-burn that promises an extremely high yield upon explosion. Hiding in the nearly opaque swamps of Louisiana, Baldwin’s Robicheaux oozes the tension of a person expecting the next fall from the wagon or the next onslaught of violence. The movie was not particularly successful and was not particularly popular with the critics, but I was captivated by a unique character living out a perilous life in a riot of culture. I waited nearly twenty years before visiting Streak again, this time through the source material, James Lee Burke’s [The Neon Rain].

I don’t know whether Baldwin read any of the Robicheaux novels, but his portrayal of the character was definitely tapped into Burke’s vision. Deeply conflicted and self-destructive, Burke’s Streak is capable of almost anything. Take for instance his beating of a morbidly obese crook with a sack of ball bearings and wrenches. But his choices, even the violent ones, are always motivated by a puritanical, almost primitive since of right and wrong, and they are usually accompanied by a sense of guilt that would choke a horse.

[The Neon Rain] was Burke’s first Robicheaux novel, and just his fifth published work of fiction, a fact that is evident in the book’s rawness. There are sections of the book that seem undercooked, shrimp pulled from the fryer too early. And Burke relies too heavily on stereotypes, sprinkling hot sauce onto the po’ boy sandwich to cover the absence of good seafood. But the atmosphere of the book drips so with the heavily with the smell and texture of Louisiana that you forget all of that. Burke has published nineteen Robicheaux novels since [The Neon Rain], winning an Edgar Award for [Black Cherry Blues] in 1990, and created two other fiction series, winning a second Edgar Award for [Cimarron Rose] in 1998, all a testament to his ability. [The Neon Rain] might be a little raw, but I’m comin’ back for seconds because Burke created such an interesting character in Streak and is so adept at drawing me into the swamps and dark alleys where Streak hides.

Bottom Line: The first in a series, and a little raw, but grounded with a deeply interesting main character and an evocative sense of place.

3 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Dec 27, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burke, James Leeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743449207, Paperback)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JAMES LEE BURKE

THE NEON RAIN

Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux's haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans' French Quarter -- the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux's haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans' French Quarter -- the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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