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Prisonniers du ciel by James lee Burke

Prisonniers du ciel (edition 1992)

by James lee Burke (Author), François Guérif (Series Editor), Freddy Michalski (Translator)

Series: Dave Robicheaux (2)

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9731715,248 (3.83)36
Robicheaux, a recovering alcoholic, has retired to bayou country when a small plane full of passengers -- and trouble -- drops out of the sky near his boat. But as he rescues the only survivor, a girl he names Alafair, the crash soon plunges him into a netherworld of murder and deception. Trapped by events he cannot control, the usually quiet and gentle Robicheaux protects himself and his loved ones the only way he knows how: with a fist and a gun.… (more)
Title:Prisonniers du ciel
Authors:James lee Burke (Author)
Other authors:François Guérif (Series Editor), Freddy Michalski (Translator)
Info:RIVAGES (1992), 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Heaven's Prisoners by James Lee Burke



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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
James Lee Burke's bayou-noir series with on-again/off-again detective Dave Robicheaux is still going strong with 21 books as of 2018. I was attracted early to the series with the debut "The Neon Rain" and this follow-up due to Burke's often lyrical descriptions of the Louisiana bayous and countryside and people and his ear for writing colloquial dialogue. Eventually the sameness did wear me out and I gave up on the series after about 11 books in. Still, I have a strong positive memory of them.

Saying goodbye to several dozen books due to a water damage incident and I thought I'd write at least a little memorial to each of them and about why I kept them around. ( )
  alanteder | Mar 18, 2018 |
I've so enjoyed getting into James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series. His second book in it, 'Heaven's Prisoners', was published in 1988 and is like a time capsule for the tough policing that used to take place in the 'good old days'. Burke's lead character, David Robicheaux, is a throwback of the first order- tough, violent, romantic, principled, and unafraid.

Heaven's Prisoners opens with the recently retired-from-the-force Robicheaux and his wife spending the afternoon floating on the bayou in a boat when they witness the crash of a small plane. Robicheaux dives into water in an attempt to save some or all of the passengers, but is only able to extract one, a little child, from the wreckage. While on his search mission, he notes a number of anomalies about the wrecked plane and its passengers, and he and his wife decide to spirit the little girl away in order to protect her from what promises to be a dangerous investigation. He reports the crash and various governmental agencies show up to check into it. From that point on, Robicheaux's post-police career as a bait-shop owner on the bayou changes dramatically. Hard-ball policing, violence, betrayal, and some degree of payback ensue, with Robicheaux making a short return to police work in order to make the progress on the case needed to put his mind and his demons to rest.

I'm still kicking myself for waiting so long to 'discover' Burke's series. Robicheaux is a great character, a Viet Nam vet, alcoholic, bad ass ex-cop with a physicality that drives the series (although I'm only 2 books into 20+ so far...). Burke can really write and I admire his effortless descriptiveness. His milieu, New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou, and its inhabitants, mostly Cajun, black and poor whites, are often caricatures in the hands of others. Burke paints masterpieces-in-miniature, though, with his writing and allows readers to vividly picture the settings and the players. He's really among the best that I've come across at writing this beautifully in the midst of some pretty violent and nasty action.

Heaven's Prisoners comes to a fairly predictable rough ending. Robicheaux suffers great losses but gets some retribution, as well as more loss, in the end, but he lives to fight for his principles another day. It's a dynamite, hard-boiled crime novel that has me looking forward to the next in his series. ( )
  gmmartz | Mar 1, 2018 |
Darker and more emotionally brutal than the first book in the Dave Robicheaux series, The Neon Rain, Heaven’s Prisoners stays involving but ultimately follows the tradition began by Raymond Chandler in The Long Goodbye, leaving the reader wondering “wait—what just happened? Why exactly did the person behind all this do it? And what did agency x have to do with it?” In Chandler’s case, there’s some evidence that not even the author knew the answers. In this, I think the author knows the score, but it was beyond my ability to tease out the connections with confidence. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ride, although I’m a bit exhausted from reading the first two Robicheaux books in quick succession. (Incidentally, someone new to the series could start here just as easily as with The Neon Rain.)

As in the first book, also written in the latter years of the Reagan era, the plot partially hinges on the USA’s shameful exploits in Central America at that time. I enjoyed the character of DEA agent Minos P. Dautrieve, a sharp, wry, and honest investigator whom I found impossible not to visualize as actor Noah Emmerich in his character Stan Beeman on The Americans. ( )
  john.cooper | Feb 11, 2018 |
Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man, fighting alcoholism and his memories of Vietnam. He's cursed to see far too clearly the evil in men, and yet somehow also recognize what made them who they are. Despite the damage that's been done to him, particularly by himself, he continues to strive for goodness and love. James Lee Burke's portrayal of the flawed Robicheaux presents him as a hero in the best sense of the word. Burke also has a magical way of describing the Louisiana of both today and yesterday in a way that makes me yearn to go there. I'll continue the rest of the series in order (despite the fact that I've already read so many of them) to both see Dave and Alafair (his daughter) grow and to hear Burke's magical voice. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |

My 2nd James Lee Burke.

With each book I'm getting convinced that Burke's books are more than meets the eye Crime-Fiction-wise.

I'm also starting to realize that I don't read Burke for the plotting, which is almost non-existent, by detective story standards, ie, he is barely competent in that area. But what he lacks in terms of plotting skills, he gains by using his books as a vehicle for serious comment on society, specifically the Southern one.

Along the lines of Gonçalo M. Tavares books, James Lee Burke also writes using aphorisms. In this book it's not so pronounced as it was in "Neon Rain". I still remember one of "lines" that impressed me the most: "I don’t like the world the way it is, and I miss the past. It’s a foolish way to be.” (or something roughly similar).

In the first two novels I've read, Robicheaux reasserts the “mature” wisdom of Burke's aphorisms, as though he, after the intense turmoil depicted in the novels, finally achieves something like inner peace — with himself and with the world he does not like.

I find some likeness between P.D. James and James Lee Burke, namely the fact that my main interest in Dalglish and Robicheaux lies not in the answers these two main characters give us but in the sort of persons they're and the answers they'll find for themselves, in their own lives. As I've stated again and again in several reviews, what interests me are neither the plotting contraptions nor the solving of mysteries. That's neither here or there.

Unlike what happened with the Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block, where I almost read them in one sitting, I'm going to limit myself to one or two Robicheuax's books a year..." ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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James Lee Burkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was just off Southwest Pass, between Pecan and Marsh islands, with the green, whitecapping water of the Gulf Stream to the south and the long, flat expanse of the Louisiana coastline behind me-which is really not a coastline at all but instead a huge wetlands area of sawgrass, dead cypress strung with wisps of moss, and a maze of canals and bayous that are choked with Japanese water lilies whose purple flowers audibly pop in the morning and whose root systems can wind around your propeller shaft like cable wire.
I was not simply a drunk; I was drawn to a violent and aberrant world the way a vampire bat seeks a black recess within the earth.
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Danish title (1990): Delta blues eller vorherres uskyldige gidsler; 1996 Danish edition has title: Besat af fortiden; Finnish title: Taivaan vangit; German title: Mississippi Delta – Blut in den Bayous
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Robicheaux, a recovering alcoholic, has retired to bayou country when a small plane full of passengers -- and trouble -- drops out of the sky near his boat. But as he rescues the only survivor, a girl he names Alafair, the crash soon plunges him into a netherworld of murder and deception. Trapped by events he cannot control, the usually quiet and gentle Robicheaux protects himself and his loved ones the only way he knows how: with a fist and a gun.

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