- Series: Dave Robicheaux
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (July 17, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416548483
- ISBN-13: 978-1416548485
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 352 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel Hardcover – July 17, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In Burke's meticulously textured 16th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2006's Pegasus Descending), Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath provide the backdrop for an account of sin and redemption in New Orleans. When Detective Robicheaux's department is assigned to investigate the shooting of two looters in a wealthy neighborhood, he learns that they had ransacked the home of New Orleans's most powerful mobster. Now he must locate the surviving looter before others do, and in the process he learns the fate of a priest who disappeared in the ill-fated Ninth Ward trying to rescue his trapped parishioners. Burke creates dense, rich prose that draws the reader into a web of greed and violence. Each of his characters feels the hands of both grace and of perdition, and the final outcome of their struggle is never quite certain. Burke showcases all that was both right and wrong in our response to this national disaster, proving along the way that nobody captures the spirit of Gulf Coast Louisiana better. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Ever since Hurricane Katrina ravaged southern Louisiana in August 2005, James Lee Burke's fans have been waiting for this book, and Burke does not disappoint. Outraged and eloquent, the two-time Edgar Award-winner delivers a gut-wrenching portrayal of the storm's ferocity and devastating aftermath, venting through Robicheaux his frustration at the human incompetence and greed that magnified nature's destructive fury. His evocative, heartfelt prose, sympathetic characters, and intricately interwoven plotlines grip the reader from the first page. Burke's admirers will savor this latest installment, while those not yet acquainted with Robicheaux can start here, thanks to the comprehensive background information Burke provides in what critics call his best book yet.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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It is being called his best book. It may be, but his work is so even in its quality that one can take up any one of his novels and be completely satisfied by it. And for Burke fans, there's wonderful news on the horizon: the coming film, In the Electric Mist, with Tommy Lee Jones as Dave.
One curious part of the book is that Dave's daughter Alafair is now a novelist. In real life, of course, Jim's daughter Alafair is a novelist. Her third book just appeared. It is interesting that he sets up these parallels. I wonder what Alafair B thinks of it. Alafair R is bothered by her name (or at least Dave's abbreviation of it--Alf) and she plays an interesting role in this book, a major plot point turning on her actions. I would like to see Alafair B's thoughts on her fictional sister's portrayal here.
The book has been criticized for its political asides. I think the criticism is fair. There's a tradition--highlighted by Chandler--of noir fiction's distrust of big government (and big unions, and big business, and big crime families . . . ) so the government--especially one that was so slow to act after Katrina--is fair game. However, the Louisiana governor gets off without a scratch here and except for an aside about the parked buses so does the Mayor of New Orleans. A comment on Fox News is way off the mark, the criticism suggesting that the narrator does not watch Fox News. The political asides do not ruin the book, but they diminish it a bit. Jim Burke is one of the two or three most important crime novelists of our time and his narration frequently sounds like the voice of an all-weary but all-wise God. We don't want him to sound like Keith Olbermann.
In my hometown New Orleans, throughout Louisiana, and along the Gulf Coast, we all suffered in some capacity. Visitors to our region, who understand and appreciate our culture felt the pain. Worldwide, people extended their generosity. I have noticed many victims try not to measure their pain against others of the same tragedy; they seem to only nod in empathy. It is a silent understanding.
When a friend recommended The Tin Roof Blowdown, my immediate reaction was anxiety. I had heard of it along with a list of other post-Katrina titles. I decided to exert some bravery, knowing full well the emotions would resurface. It is a well-constructed crime novel. While I think there were a couple of inaccuracies in the book, overall, Burke conveys the climate of the aftermath with striking detail without being overindulgent. His characters are strong. The menacing character, Ronald Bledsoe, is as creepy and tenacious as Max Cady from Cape Fear, but lacking the charm. My biggest flaw with this novel was a recurring first-person omniscience from protagonist and sometime narrator, Dave Robicheaux. I concede this is my first time reading Burke and his loyal readers must be accustomed to his style, but I found it a bit jarring to read a beautifully detailed first-hand account of a scene in which the character was nowhere near. I found myself asking, "How did he know?"
Halfway through reading, I knew I had an impending vacation to Florida. I confess I was hoping to finish this novel so I could bring some lighter fare to the beach. A bit of fluff among the sun, sand, and surf seemed relaxing. A pressing project commanded my attention and prevented me from completing the book before my trip. Yet, as I held The Tin Roof Blowdown in the salt air and gazed over to the Gulf of Mexico, I was grateful. I thought about the progress that has been made in New Orleans and the region since August 2005. I thought of BP's rape of the waters in front of me, but thankful so much sea life had returned. I wondered about the next unknown challenge. I felt an overwhelming pride for our endurance and resiliency. I realized the book in my hands, for me, was the perfect beach read.