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Morning for Flamingos, A Mass Market Paperback – April 2, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews
Book 4 of 20 in the Robicheaux Series

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Mass Market Paperback, April 2, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a muddy, weed-filled coulee, Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux begs an escaped convict for his life and is left more troubled by his lack of courage than by his gunshot wounds. Burke ( Half of Paradise ) proceeds to balance the resulting self-doubts of his tough, sympathetic hero with a complex, credible plot in his latest Cajun mystery. Robicheaux, a widower, leaves his small town for New Orleans, where he used to be a cop, to run a sting operation for the DEA. He engineers drug buys aimed at incriminating the local drug lord, an ex-Marine with nightmares and a habit from Vietnam, while trying to ferret out Jimmie Lee Boggs, the killer responsible for the coulee incident. Vivid supporting characters include Robicheaux's former NOPD partner Clete Purcel; an old true love now the widow of a Mafia figure; Gros Mama Goula, a juju woman; and Tony Cardo, the jumpy dealer whose inner struggles reflect Robicheaux's. Attentive to language and atmosphere, Burke delivers action on churning Gulf waters, in city streets, in deserted fields and within the souls of his memorable characters--and a fully satisfying resolution.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“No one writes better detective novels. . .A creator of muscular, violent, headlong stories that honor and at the same time expand conventions of the form. . .Truly astonishing.” (Washington Post Book World)

“For grand escape, get your hands on A MORNING FOR FLAMINGOS. Burke is one of the most polished mystery novelists alive; his hero, Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, is as ripe and as real as they get. . .The man can write.” (Boston Globe)

“As elegant and moody as a New Orleans night.” (Toronto Globe and Mail)

“The plotting is intricate and the action is robust. . .Burke creates rich, complicated characters and treats them with tremendous compassion. And he fashions passages of prose as haunting as any writer at work in America today.” (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (April 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380713608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380713608
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is, without a doubt, one of the better of the Dave Robicheaux novels. As always, James Lee Burke writes with a lyrical grace that should awe the average reader. And this early novel was written before he started plagiarizing himself wholesale, stealing plots, characters and even entire paragraphs in order to flesh out his balletic swamp-songs.
A black mark on this otherwise fine novel is the odd decision to have Dave go undercover in the home of Mobster Tony Cardo, a razor-edged freak of a man living on the outlines of his own criminal organization. Personally, if I were a crook, I'd never accept an ex-cop into my home, but maybe that's just me - the fact is that tony does and that's how this rollicking book gets going.
It's not important that there's any more plot than that - in a Burkle novel, the setting is the most important element. As always, Burke paints pictures and only incidentally places characters and action within them, with the exception of Dave Robicheaux himself. I have always admired Dave - he is morally ambiguous and righteously angry, which causes him to behave in ways that are almost as freakish as Tony Cardo's ways. An example is dave's heroism at the climax of this novel - it's both awe-inspiring and breathtaking, but it's probably not what I wold have done in the same situation.
Burke is an amazing writer and a good story-teller. He's not a bad painter, either.
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By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this installment of the Dave Robicheaux series, James Lee Burke again paints a rich tapastry of the failings and triumphs of the human spirit set against the backdrop of southern Louisiana. As is true in his other novels, Burke uses his standard plot woven around career criminals, the disenfranchised,and the poor with a violent psychopath or two thrown in for good measure, to explore the complexity of human relationships and how and why past experiences can motivate us, even subconsicously, to behave in certain ways. All of Burke's characters are fully formed, three dimensional people that I felt like I knew by the end of the book. There wasn't a card board cutout among them. No body is ever really quite as good, or bad, as they initially seem( well, except for Jimmie Lee Boggs). I have read his books out of chronological order, and I do think there has been some drop off in recent years. Maybe this is due to building too many stories around the same basic plot of gangsters, low lifes, and crazed hitmen, or maybe now that Dave is married to Bootsie and has been in the same job for several novels, there hasn't been any room for any major new plot twists. Hopefully, Burke can explore Robicheaux's relationship with his daughter Alafair more as she becomes a young adult.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Lee Burke didn't write "A Morning for Flamingos" in black and white ­ everything is in shades of gray. Yet what emerges is a richly textured mystery filled with a cast of characters as colorful as their Bayou surroundings.
It starts when Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux rejoins the New Iberia police department to pay off a few thousand dollars of debt and is nearly killed when a routine convict transport goes bad. And it ends with him in a $500,000 drug deal facing off against the same escaped murderer who nearly kills him at the beginning.
In between, Robicheaux fades to the background, becoming the eyes for the reader to see and evaluate everyone he encounters. There's his ex cop partner who now runs a bar, his old high school sweetheart who married into the mob and then couldn't break free, the top mob boss in New Orleans with a tender spot for his handicapped son, an illiterate "Negro" convicted of a crime he didn't commit but didn't stop and a bayou juju who has everyone scared of her.
Yet unlike many mysteries where characters like these would be eccentrics to provide comic relief, this one brings them to life. They're real people with real-life struggles, fears and hopes.
Burke accomplishes this feat with his masterful use of dialogue, proving once again that few, if any, mystery authors can convey personality, region and nuances better than he can.
As a result, the reader will struggle with Robicheaux to decide what's moral, what's legal and what's just the right thing to do. Because this is not about rules and regulations ­ it's about people. And that's what makes this so good -- and Burke so special.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had just about given up on James Lee Burke. After being stunned with the genius of "Neon Rain," I found most contemporary Dave Robicheaux novels rather gloomy and over-described affairs. Went back to "Black Cherry Blues" his Edgar-winning novel and was disappointed. Now, I feel I've read another gem. I am doubly pleased because from reading and seeing interviews, I think James Lee Burke is one of the most charming authors around.
"A Morning for Flamingos" begins with the death of Dave's partner while transporting two prisoners, Te Beau, a New Iberia boy to whom Dave has certain obligations, and the menacing Jamie Lee Boggs. Dave is left critically wounded and remembers little of the actual escape. The story leads to underworld figures, voodoo, and the sordid, steamy underside of New Orleans.
The pace and brooding menace never let up, and Burke allows no loose ends to annoy the reader. The characterizations are sharp, descriptive, and unforgettable. The solution is elegant and exciting. I liked Dave all over again.
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