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Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Novel

Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Novel

Written by James Lee Burke

Narrated by Mark Hammer


Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Novel

Written by James Lee Burke

Narrated by Mark Hammer

ratings:
4/5 (22 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Released:
Sep 23, 2003
ISBN:
9780743550932
Format:
Audiobook

Description

For Dave Robicheaux, there is no easy passage home. New Orleans, and the memories of his life in the Big Easy, will always haunt him. To return there means visiting old ghosts and opening himself to new, yet familiar, dangers.
When Robicheaux, a police officer based in the somewhat quieter Louisiana town of New Iberia, learns that an old friend, Father Jimmie Dolan has been the victim of a particularly brutal assault, he returns to New Orleans to investigate, if only unofficially.
Meanwhile, back in New Iberia, three local teenage girls are killed in a drunk driving accident. Robicheaux traces the source of the liquor to one of New Iberia's "daiquiri windows," places that sell mixed drinks through drive-by windows. When the owner of the drive-through operation is brutally murdered, Robicheaux immediately suspects the grief-crazed father of the dead teen driver. But his assumption is challenged when the murder weapon turns up belonging to someone else. Tying together these disparate threads is a maniacal killer named Max Coll, a deeply haunted hit man sent to New Orleans to finish the job of father Dolan.
A masterful exploration of the troubled side of human nature Las Car to Elysian Fields is James Lee Burke in top form.
Released:
Sep 23, 2003
ISBN:
9780743550932
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’s authored thirty-nine novels and two short story collections. He lives in Missoula, Montana.


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4.1
22 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    One of the slower Burke novels. I never completely got into it and felt it dragged on far too long. Still it is a Burke novel which means it is better than most things out there.
  • (3/5)
    Burke is wonderful writer ... but I find myself often wishing his heroes - Clete and Dave in this series - get killed by the bad guys. Honestly his violence and language are always over the top. Too many characters, plots too complicated, and too long.
  • (3/5)
    Burke's novels are always a good read. I didn't like this one as much--probably owing to fewer characters to play off Dave Robicheaux.
  • (4/5)
    This book is yet another in the series featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux of New Iberia and New Orleans in Louisiana.Although I am addicted to this character and all of his inherent flaws, the series is beoming a little stylised and predictable. He is among my most cherieshed crime genre authors (along with: Michael Connelly (my favourite), John Connolly and a host of Britisih authors) and is immensely popular. I think it is time - even given the character's advancing years - to give Dave a slightly new direction and slant. With the religous undertones in the book(s) - I think this could be achieved, without dispensing the core elements of his persona, and give the character a breath of unpredictability and new found flair.Still there would no doubt be, a legion of Dave Robicheaux fans, who would decry this as sacrelige and continue to enjoy the character's tunnel vision and violent path to destruction. One very dispensable associate of his are the wives, whom regularly meet with death by disease of violence and appear to be an item of disposable collateral. No doubt this allows the character to dally without attracting a further stigma of adultery and introduces a cast of very colourful female players into the various scripts.I see Dave as a modern day Robin Hood, who dispenses his brand of justice upon the miscreants of colourful, Louisiana society along with his trusty sidekick Clete. This appeals to a lot of readers, I think, whom like to see perpetrators of crime and violence, given their come uppance, when the "system" appears to be weighted in their favour, rather than the "ordinary" person. Perhaps there are even darker places for Dave to go?Still in all - I found this to be another page turner that I romped through. A good read, indeed!Cheers
  • (4/5)
    Maybe like Rebus, Dave Robicheaux has been pressed into service too often. It's not bad, but just seems a little too fantastical at times, both the plot and Robicheaux as a character. Time for me to move on.....................
  • (5/5)
    this Burke novel is more like an epic than a simple story. of course, when it comes to davikd robincheaux and his faithful irish com,panion, clete, nothing is simple. when the dust is settled and the blood is washed out, one is never sure what happened or what will happen next. at the end of this one, dave has gurned in his badge for good, a black statie lady is after him to make-a zee love (and possibly join her on the state level). a character named coll moll soaks into this tory and i do wish burke could keep him alive. i can see with this painting of Moll's pinball/Menza life, where a hit man could be a true hero-aqntihero combination. mayhbe i will try that Tapa Trib guys books with that in view.
  • (4/5)
    Another good read from southern Louisiana. A great sense of place w two of the more memorable fictional characters in Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell. A lot of story lines running through this one and he pretty much pulls it off. Well worth the read.
  • (4/5)
    Not Burke's best in the Dave Robicheaux series, but a very good read, written to his usual high standards of place description
  • (5/5)
    Last Car to Elysian Fields is the thirteenth book in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series. In this installment, Dave is on his own. Alafair has gone off to school and his third wife, Bootsy has died. When his friend Father Jimmie Dolan is threatened because his actions are making the wrong people angry, Dave tries to throw some interference.Dave also begins to look into the mysterious disappearance of a old blues singer, Junior Crudup, who went into Angola prison but never came out, nor did he die according to any prison records. And between these two story lines, Dave ends up face-to-face with an IRA assassin, kidnapped, and suspended.Many series will be stale by book thirteen, but James Lee Burke somehow manages to keep Dave and Clete from ever becoming old or cliche. I listened to this book on audio read by Mark Hammer, and as I've mentioned before I do not think there is a better match of reader and book. Experiencing a Dave Robicheaux novel read by Mark Hammer is something every crime fiction fan should indulge in at some time, even if you're one of those people who believe you don't like listening to audio books. This is a purely magical experience. Hammer's gritty sound coupled with his seemingly natural ability to nail all the dialects is amazing in and of itself. But when you couple it with his interpretation of Burke's words and themes, the experience becomes heavenly. In this book alone, Hammer has the regular southern dialect of the main characters but he also seamlessly alternates to a thick Irish brogue and an Italian mobster accent. A "failure to communicate" is a common occurrence in Dave Robicheaux novels, as the reader will find through the repetition of the single word "what?" Through Hammer's voice, you can hear confusion from this word, you can hear frustration, you might hear anger. But that simple word is the best example of how Hammer interprets the novel, he NEVER just reads the novel.Burke, of course, is well-known for his distinct talent at developing setting, the Louisiana bayou setting. But his characters are also exquisitely developed in each novel. One of the elements of his writing that keeps me coming back time after time is the uncanny way Burke evokes both loathing and sympathy from me for almost every character. He can create a revolting antagonist, but there will be some point in the book where I feel sorry for the poor sap. It never fails. And I end up asking myself, "why do you feel sorry for this guy?" And then my brain is in overdrive, and I devour books that ignite that process inside me. The books that make you look beyond the black and white and see all the gray that's really there. Dave Robicheaux, Burke's protagonist, is not always a likable character. And Burke challenges his readers to reach deep down inside and make a connection with this man. I think this particular book points that challenge out rather explicitly through the character of Castille LeJeune who repeatedly tells Dave that the meaning of his literal words is eluding LeJeune.Clete Purcel is one of my favorite characters in crime fiction, but I don't think I'd ever want to know him in reality. I sure wouldn't want to get on his bad side. But what reader can resist Clete's witticisms? Or his undying devotion to Dave? And Helen Soileau's sarcasm is equally entertaining. These two characters do a lot to lighten the heaviness of Burke's tone.James Lee Burke manages to do what few authors can, he manages to make me believe that each book I read is better than the one before it. That is an amazing accomplishment!
  • (4/5)
    This is the thirteenth book in The Dave Robicheaux series and I cannot say it was one of my favorites.First what I liked. The scenery including the weather is something that James Lee Burke does better than any author I can think of. In a beautiful metaphor he describes lightning as mercury moving across a dark sky. The book is set in the winter and there is a countdown to the winter solstice as the days get shorter and colder. The environment is a big part of the world we live in and Burke makes it a big part of his novels.My favorite character in the book was Max Coll. He is a hit man who started with the IRA and gets a job to kill Father Jimmy Dolan a friend of Dave's. The problem is that he is an Irish Catholic and he can't kill a priest. I found his story offbeat and interesting.What I didn't like. The major bad guy is Castille LeJuene who is the ultimate rich guy/bad guy. He did a lot of evil things and Robicheaux is after him for all of them including the obligatory very old racial killing. Part of the end, which I won't give away, borders on a gimmick as LeJuene's evil ways punish him in the manner of a Greek tragedy.Cletus Purcel goes over the top early and often. His violence in one instance creates a bizarre situation that closes a drawbridge for a couple of days.Robicheaux is alone with Bootsie dead and Alafair away in college. His inner dialogue becomes a broken record of gloom made up of the evil of others and the world around him plus his own actions which become increasingly erratic. Another negative was Robicheaux's unusually incessant and descriptive obsession with having a drink. His supernatural experiences seemed forced and not as well done as some of the other books I have read. Burke seems unable to bring any balance into Robicheaux's thoughts. Robicheaux eventually finds the peace that we all need to keep on going but even that feels contrived and lacking in depth.The last 75 pages of the book did not move as well as trademark Robicheaux action and suspense. The end proceeds in fits and starts with elements of a deux ex machina as everything is suddenly resolved.The book is a lot better than many books I have read. Still for me it was not up to Burke's usual standard of excellence.
  • (3/5)
    ?So where do you go to find a researcher who is intelligent, imaginative, skilled in the use of computers, devoted to discovering the truth, and knowledgeable about science, technology, history, and literature, and who usually works for dirt and gets credit for nothing? After lunch I drove to the city library on Main and asked the reference librarian to find what she could?. ? James Lee Burke, Last Car to Elysian Fields.How could I not like a story from a writer with such superlative insight? I listened to Last Car to Elysian Fields and was taken to the bayou and to Louisianna by the crusty, whiskey soaked, salty voice of Mark Hammer. I was taken with the differences in his characters as he spoke with a female voice and included the thick voices from the deep south with ethnic and cultural differences incorporated into several characters. It was a performance that enhanced the book?s experience. I used the NetLibrary option for downloading books and had to renew several times which was not difficult to do from home. I am not sure I would have enjoyed this story as much without being able to be entertained by the library?s audio options. This was a Dave Robicheaux mystery involving errant incarceration, a long forgotten blues musician, corruption, mobsters and a piercing conclusion.