Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Tin Roof Blowdown -- James Lee Burke

This is the 16th Dave Robicheaux novel. I've read all the others, too. Sometimes I wonder why, since the meandering plots drive me nuts. Burke usually manages to pull things together, but not always in a way that satisfies me. This time's no exception. I wasn't ever sure I knew exactly what was going on, even after it was all explained. Or, to put it more accurately, I knew what was going on, but I wasn't sure it made sense.

Doesn't matter though. This book's really not about the crime plot so much as it is about post-Katrina and post-Rita New Orleans, and while Burke's plotting might let me down, his writing hardly ever does. If there was anyone who could do justice to the chaos that the Crescent City became after those terrible storms, it was Burke, and he puts everything into the effort. There's a lot of outrage in this book, and the targets deserve it.
Not that it's a preachy book. It's not. But it's pretty clear what Burke and his characters think. I don't recommend this unreservedly, but I recommend it highly.


  1. I guess it's the meandering plots, maybe, that made me give up on the couple of Burke books I tried. I just never made the attempt after that.

  2. Same for me although I know he's revered by many.

  3. Katherine4:16 PM

    I much prefer his Billy Bob Holland books - they meander less, but have the same deft writer's touch.

  4. I've read about a half dozen of his novels - all Robichaeux - and I've never been disappointed. I didn't even realize his plots meandered. I do think they all run together a bit - dark secret from the past gets brought to the surface when somebody returns to Louisiana from L.A. or NYC with lots of cash and troubles. Lakes get described in exquisite detail, Clete beats the wrong guy, but it was well deserved anyway. Dave comes close to the breaking point as too many people yank his chain...

    Still, good stuff, and better than I can do.