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Jolie Blon's Bounce Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.3 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews
Book 12 of 20 in the Robicheaux Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dave Robicheaux, the Louisiana cop who's easily one of the most complex and compelling protagonists in mystery fiction, confronts his own demons as well as a brutal adversary who might be the devil himself in this dark thriller. This is classic James Lee Burke, the master stylist, writing at the top of his game:
"I wanted to drive deep into the Atchafalaya Swamp, past the confines of reason, into the past... on the tree-flooded alluvial rim of the world, where the tides and the course of the sun were the only measures of time (and) all you had to do was release yourself from the prison of restraint, just snip loose the stitches that sewed your skin to the hairshirt of normalcy."
The plot hinges on a pair of murders that don't seem to be connected--a mobbed-up prostitute and a pretty young teenage girl--and the Cajun blues singer accused of both crimes. Robicheaux believes that Tee Bobby Hulin, the gifted musician whose original composition provides the title for this brilliantly realized Gothic crime novel, is innocent. Proving it puts him in the sights of a vicious old overseer named Legion, whose almost supernatural powers nearly drown Robicheaux in the swamp of his own addictions. The narrative proceeds slowly, but Burke's dedicated fans won't begrudge him one beautifully turned phrase, gloriously limned description, or insightful characterization: they just don't get any better than this one. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

To read a Burke novel is to enter a timeless, parallel universe of violent emotions and lush, brooding landscapes, where class and racial distinctions and family histories mold society. This is the stunningly talented Burke's 21st book and his best until the next one. Dave Robicheaux, the psychologically scarred detective for the New Iberia, La., sheriff's department, investigates two brutal murders, one of a na‹ve teenage girl, the other of a feckless drug-addled prostitute. The author provides a dense, richly imagined background for his characters, especially the sinister ones: malevolent Legion Guidry, a nightmarish figure from Robicheaux's boyhood; a power-hungry tavern owner; an arrogant lawyer; a combative female PI; the prostitute's Mafioso father; and Marvin Oates, an enigmatic Bible salesman who floats ominously through the narrative. Robicheaux doesn't believe the obvious suspect Tee Bobby Hulin, a drug-addicted musical genius is the murderer. Aided and disrupted by his obstreperous pal, Clete Purcel, Robicheaux runs into the usual trouble. Legion gives Robicheaux such a ferocious beating that he reverts to drinking and addictive painkillers. Though the search for the murderer moves the story, the novel is really an examination of the savage relationships of the characters and the palpable presence of the past. Burke offers a vivid social history of an inbred, corrupt place. As Clete so aptly tells his friend, "This is Louisiana, Dave. Guatemala North. Quit pretending it's the United States."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Abridged edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743524632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743524636
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.1 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,785,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To categorize this book as a mystery is like clumping Haagen-Daz in the same category as cheap sherbet. Sorry. Not the same thing. These characters are alive and fresh and memorable. The settings resonate with sights and sounds and smells. The beauty of Louisiana juxtapositioned with the evil of the criminal world is a heady mix. As always, I'm impressed by Burke's ability. I feel like I'm repeating myself: James Lee Burke is a master of imagery, be it violent and dark, or moving and poetic. I can't help myself. To read his work is to fall in love with the language. With this in mind, it's true that I tend to overlook his meandering plots and psychological side-trips. For me, they make his books much more real and down to earth than the general formulaic mysteries.
In this particular story, we see Dave Robicheaux dealing with his inner demons, as always--this time in the form of pills. But it's the same white worm eating at him and driving anger to the surface. As usual, his emotions boil over into his job and cause trouble. The difference this time is that Robicheaux is dealing with other demons than his own. He's dealing with Legion, an old man, hard as nails and full of darkness. The supernatural aspects that come into play, particularly at the conclusion were, for me, very satisfying and remarkably well handled. Other reviewers have derided these elements; I found them to be the original touch this series needed. Others complained of sexual situations that were unnecessary; I was moved to tears by Bootsie's tenderness to her man in need of assurance. Robicheaux, behind his tough exterior, is a man of flesh and blood and emotion. Thankfully, James Lee Burke is too. It's the reason I keep reading his stuff. After "Purple Cane Road," I'd rate this near the top of the series.
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Format: Hardcover
Burke's mix of local color and great plotting, served up with a style that is crisp and vivid, have made him a favorite of readers and fellow mystery novelists. And he keeps getting better, a dozen novels into a series. The new book presents us with two violent crimes against women. Serial killer? The prime suspect is a brilliant young musician, the man you want to be the killer is a rich white kid. Hovering in the background is Burke's sleaziest, nastiest villain in years.
Burke never deals in cliches, though his characters might. The second victim is the daughter of a Mafia hit man, and one of the most startling and engaging elements of the story is the humanization of the grieving father. When the crimes resolve into solutions, we lose some people we care about. And one villian gets justice in a form we can only shake our heads over.
Robicheaux suffers a disgusting humiliation in this book, and his family is rocked by the result. I listened to another mystery writer recently ascribe the appeal of his books to the fact that his hero is a nice normal guy with a nice normal family. Well, maybe so, but Burke has gotten tremendous mileage out of something a bit more challenging. Watching Alafair grow, seeing the strength of Bootsie's love for her scarred man, feeling their pain as they cope with the literal scars of her incurable illness, have made this series the best around for a decade. Let's hope for a few more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Jolie Blon's Bounce" is an intelligent and ambitious novel of intricate sub plots and complex characters. James Lee Burke's widely recognized talent for creating rich setting is in top form: the Louisiana gulf coast back woods and bars are easily visualized, the smells of the oil rigs and shrimp boats waft from the pages. The English language is Burke's toolbox - as a blunt object hammering the reader with raw brutality, or as a scalpel in unlayering the subtleties of race and social strata. Few villains have been created as foreboding and ominous as the mysterious "Legion", casting an aura of nearly biblical good vs. evil and an unexpected, almost "King-like" surrealism.
This latest in the Dave Robicheaux series is built around the rape and murder of a local teenage girl, followed by a string of apparently related homicides. But the story is virtually void of the usual crime scene forensics and criminal investigation. Instead, Burke introduces a full cast of deeply developed characters and settings, slowly building tension and mystery as not only the murders, but also a dark history, gradually unfold. Burke is clearly not in a hurry in getting to the punch line, winding through passages of time and place, connecting the past with the present and reality with a vague sense of the supernatural. But while Burke's prose meanders, it is not without purpose, as the reader is sucked deeper and deeper into the intrigue. The reward is not in reaching the climax, but the journey in getting there.
In summary, Burke is about as good as writer as there is today in American fiction, and "Jolie Blon's Bounce" displays his craft at its peak. This is a dark and brooding tale with a surreal twist that will linger long after the book is finished, leaving the reader anxious for Burke's next installment.
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Format: Hardcover
The good news is that James Lee Burke is still writing some of the most lyrically beautiful prose in fiction today. The bad news is that, at least with this Robicheaux outing, he seems to have lost a little of his focus as a storyteller. The middle section of the book has Robicheaux so self absorbed in his own problems I couldn't quite remember what crime he was supposed to be investigating. Far too many characters with hidden secrets and agendas of their own weave in and out of the tale with such regularity that it becomes a little difficult to keep them all straight. While each of these characters are equally compelling they tend to keep the narrative from running on an even keel.
As to Legion Guidry.... I'm still not quite sure what to make of him just yet. On the one hand he is indeed one of the most interesting and evil villains I've seen in a work of fiction for quite some time. On the other hand I kept thinking that maybe Dave should have rung up Buffy Summers and asked her and the rest of the gang to come to New Iberia and help him out with this one. The mixture of metaphysics and gritty crime story worked well for Burke with "In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead" but I'm still not decided on this one just yet.
In the end I have to say that if you are already a Burke fan, then by all means read this one. If you are new to Dave Robicheaux and his world I strongly suggest one of the earlier novels. I decided to give four stars to this one due to Burke's wonderful prose and his creation of such facsinating characters but I still think that the rambling mid section does not represent the author at his best.
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