Read Sunset Limited Online

Authors: James Lee Burke

Tags: #Private Investigators - Louisiana - New Iberia, #Louisiana, #Hard-Boiled, #Mystery Fiction, #General, #Fiction, #Robicheaux, #Photojournalists, #Private investigators, #News Photographers, #Dave (Fictitious Character), #Mystery & Detective

Sunset Limited

Sunset Limited
Dave Robicheaux [10]
James Lee Burke
Island Books (1998)
Rating: ★★★★☆
Tags: Fiction, General, Mystery Detective, Mystery fiction, Private investigators, Hard-Boiled, Private Investigators - Louisiana - New Iberia, Louisiana, Robicheaux; Dave (Fictitious Character), News Photographers, Photojournalists
Fictionttt Generalttt Mystery Detectivettt Mystery fictionttt Private investigatorsttt Hard-Boiledttt Private Investigators - Louisiana - New Iberiattt Louisianattt Robicheaux; Dave (Fictitious Character)ttt News Photographersttt Photojournaliststtt

Amazon.com Review

Imagine Philip Marlowe sans the cigarettes and in AA. Put him in Louisiana and jump forward 50 years or so and you've got David Robicheaux, a tough-talking detective with the same soft spot as his prototype for troublesome women and for delving into places into which he probably has no business. New Iberia, Louisiana, perfectly rivals Marlowe's L.A. for its grit and corruption and dames who'll turn a good guy bad.

James Lee Burke's 11th Robicheaux book,
Sunset Limited
, is a twisted mystery that at times becomes almost byzantine in its attempt to keep disparate characters and narratives wound in a cohesive story line. But Burke's writing is so stunning that all is forgiven as you become immersed in the tale, which meshes past and present to uncover the secret of a decades-old murder.

Forty years ago, a local labor leader was crucified in a crime that remains unsolved. Now, his daughter--Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Megan Flynn--returns to New Iberia. With a seemingly insignificant remark to Robicheaux, she begins a chain of events that lead right back to her father's death. New Iberia, in some sense, is frozen in time as the age-old problems of race and class weave their way into the mystery, complicating Robicheaux's discovery of not only the original crime, but the wealth of murders that spring up along the way. Add in the Chinese mob, corrupt policemen, and a Hollywood film shoot, and the stage is set.

Burke's forte is his ability to create characters so evil they're liable to get you up in the night to check in your closet and under your bed. The players--both good and bad--are characterized more by their flaws than their attributes, giving everyone a wicked sheen. The book isn't overly gory (although short descriptions can be rather graphic), but
everyone
has a dark side, emphasizing the
noir
-ish tones of the novel. His writing is powerful, mixing tender landscapes ("[W]e dropped through clouds that were pooled with fire in the sunrise and came in over biscuit-colored hills dotted with juniper and pine and pinyon trees...") with dead-on, cutting descriptions ("His face was tentacled with a huge purple-and-strawberry birthmark, so that his eyes looked squeezed inside a mask") and the camp dialogue of Chandler ("Evil doesn't have a zip code"). Oddly, these sundry elements blend seamlessly, allowing you to overlook tenuous connections and occasionally confusing turns.

Don't pick this up expecting a happy ending. But for those who long for a modern-day Chandler, you'll find
Sunset Limited
a gripping and satisfying read.
--Jenny Brown

From Publishers Weekly

After stepping into stand-alone territory with Cimmaron Rose (1997), Burke choreographs a masterful return to the lush and brooding world of volatile New Iberia Sheriff's Deputy Dave Robicheaux (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996). This tale's strength lies in breathtaking, moody descriptive passages and incisive vignettes that set time, place and character. Burke's major themes, that the past is key to the present and that money buys power, pervade this mystery. The narrative, with more twists and bounces than a fish fighting a hook, rises from the violent, unsolved murder 40 years ago of union organizer Jack Flynn. The story encompasses at least eight disparate but interlocking subplots: the crooked money behind a movie directed by Flynn's son Cisco; the hold that ex-con Swede Boxleiter has on Cisco's photojournalist sister, Megan; Willie "Cool Breeze" Broussard's theft of a mob warehouse; his wife Ida's suicide 20 years ago; the shooting of two white brothers who raped a black woman; alcoholic Lisa Terrebonne's haunted childhood; her wealthy, arrogant father's ties to Harpo Scruggs, a vicious murderer; the post-Civil War killing by freed slaves of a Terrebonne servant. Hired assassins, snitches, lawmen and FBI agents weave through the novel. Dave and his partner Detective Helen Soileau find the connections, but Dave knows that in the ongoing class war, the worst criminals wield too much influence to pay for their crimes. In rich, dense prose, Burke conjures up bizarre, believable characters who inhabit vivid, spellbinding scenes in a multifaceted, engrossing plot. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

 

Sunset Limited
Dave Robicheaux [10]
James Lee Burke
Island Books (1998)
Rating:
★★★★☆
Tags:
Fiction, General, Mystery Detective, Mystery fiction, Private investigators, Hard-Boiled, Private Investigators - Louisiana - New Iberia, Louisiana, Robicheaux; Dave (Fictitious Character), News Photographers, Photojournalists
Fictionttt Generalttt Mystery Detectivettt Mystery fictionttt Private investigatorsttt Hard-Boiledttt Private Investigators - Louisiana - New Iberiattt Louisianattt Robicheaux; Dave (Fictitious Character)ttt News Photographersttt Photojournaliststtt

Amazon.com Review

Imagine Philip Marlowe sans the cigarettes and in AA. Put him in Louisiana and jump forward 50 years or so and you’ve got David Robicheaux, a tough-talking detective with the same soft spot as his prototype for troublesome women and for delving into places into which he probably has no business. New Iberia, Louisiana, perfectly rivals Marlowe’s L.A. for its grit and corruption and dames who’ll turn a good guy bad.

James Lee Burke’s 11th Robicheaux book,
Sunset Limited
, is a twisted mystery that at times becomes almost byzantine in its attempt to keep disparate characters and narratives wound in a cohesive story line. But Burke’s writing is so stunning that all is forgiven as you become immersed in the tale, which meshes past and present to uncover the secret of a decades-old murder.

Forty years ago, a local labor leader was crucified in a crime that remains unsolved. Now, his daughter—Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Megan Flynn—returns to New Iberia. With a seemingly insignificant remark to Robicheaux, she begins a chain of events that lead right back to her father’s death. New Iberia, in some sense, is frozen in time as the age-old problems of race and class weave their way into the mystery, complicating Robicheaux’s discovery of not only the original crime, but the wealth of murders that spring up along the way. Add in the Chinese mob, corrupt policemen, and a Hollywood film shoot, and the stage is set.

Burke’s forte is his ability to create characters so evil they’re liable to get you up in the night to check in your closet and under your bed. The players—both good and bad—are characterized more by their flaws than their attributes, giving everyone a wicked sheen. The book isn’t overly gory (although short descriptions can be rather graphic), but
everyone
has a dark side, emphasizing the
noir
-ish tones of the novel. His writing is powerful, mixing tender landscapes (“[W]e dropped through clouds that were pooled with fire in the sunrise and came in over biscuit-colored hills dotted with juniper and pine and pinyon trees…”) with dead-on, cutting descriptions (“His face was tentacled with a huge purple-and-strawberry birthmark, so that his eyes looked squeezed inside a mask”) and the camp dialogue of Chandler (“Evil doesn’t have a zip code”). Oddly, these sundry elements blend seamlessly, allowing you to overlook tenuous connections and occasionally confusing turns.

Don’t pick this up expecting a happy ending. But for those who long for a modern-day Chandler, you’ll find
Sunset Limited
a gripping and satisfying read.
—Jenny Brown

From Publishers Weekly

After stepping into stand-alone territory with Cimmaron Rose (1997), Burke choreographs a masterful return to the lush and brooding world of volatile New Iberia Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Robicheaux (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996). This tale’s strength lies in breathtaking, moody descriptive passages and incisive vignettes that set time, place and character. Burke’s major themes, that the past is key to the present and that money buys power, pervade this mystery. The narrative, with more twists and bounces than a fish fighting a hook, rises from the violent, unsolved murder 40 years ago of union organizer Jack Flynn. The story encompasses at least eight disparate but interlocking subplots: the crooked money behind a movie directed by Flynn’s son Cisco; the hold that ex-con Swede Boxleiter has on Cisco’s photojournalist sister, Megan; Willie “Cool Breeze” Broussard’s theft of a mob warehouse; his wife Ida’s suicide 20 years ago; the shooting of two white brothers who raped a black woman; alcoholic Lisa Terrebonne’s haunted childhood; her wealthy, arrogant father’s ties to Harpo Scruggs, a vicious murderer; the post-Civil War killing by freed slaves of a Terrebonne servant. Hired assassins, snitches, lawmen and FBI agents weave through the novel. Dave and his partner Detective Helen Soileau find the connections, but Dave knows that in the ongoing class war, the worst criminals wield too much influence to pay for their crimes. In rich, dense prose, Burke conjures up bizarre, believable characters who inhabit vivid, spellbinding scenes in a multifaceted, engrossing plot. $300,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

 

Sunset Limited
James Lee Burke
(2011)

 

 

 

Robicheaux 10
Sunset Limited
(2011)

 

JAMES LEE BURKE

SUNSET LIMITED

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

1998

 

 

FOR BILL AND SUSAN NELSON

 

 

 

I would like to thank the following attorneys for all the legal information they have provided me in the writing of my books over the years: my son James L. Burke, Jr., and my daughter Alafair Burke and my cousins Dracos Burke and Porteus Burke.

I would also like once again to thank my wife Pearl, my editor Patricia Mulcahy, and my agent Philip Spitzer for the many years they have been on board.

I’d also like to thank my daughters Pamela McDavid and Andree Walsh, from whom I ask advice on virtually everything.

 

ONE

I HAD SEEN A DAWN like this one only twice in my life: once in Vietnam, after a Bouncing Betty had risen from the earth on a night trail and twisted its tentacles of light around my thighs, and years earlier outside of Franklin, Louisiana, when my father and I discovered the body of a labor organizer who had been crucified with sixteen-penny nails, ankle and wrist, against a barn wall.

Just before the sun broke above the Gulf’s rim, the wind, which had blown the waves with ropes of foam all night, suddenly died and the sky became as white and brightly grained as polished bone, as though all color had been bled out of the air, and the gulls that had swooped and glided over my wake lifted into the haze and the swells flattened into an undulating sheet of liquid tin dimpled by the leathery backs of stingrays.

The eastern horizon was strung with rain clouds and the sun should have risen out of the water like a mist-shrouded egg yolk, but it didn’t. Its red light mushroomed along the horizon, then rose into the sky in a cross, burning in the center, as though fire were trying to take the shape of a man, and the water turned the heavy dark color of blood.

Maybe the strange light at dawn was only coincidence and had nothing to do with the return to New Iberia of Megan Flynn, who, like a sin we had concealed in the confessional, vexed our conscience, or worse, rekindled our envy.

But I knew in my heart it was not coincidence, no more so than the fact that the man crucified against the barn wall was Megan’s father and that Megan herself was waiting for me at my dock and bait shop, fifteen miles south of New Iberia, when Clete Purcel, my old Homicide partner from the First District in New Orleans, and I cut the engines on my cabin cruiser and floated through the hyacinths on our wake, the mud billowing in clouds that were as bright as yellow paint under the stern.

Other books

El testigo mudo by Agatha Christie
Still Midnight by Denise Mina
Waltzing In Ragtime by Charbonneau, Eileen
On the Road to Babadag by Andrzej Stasiuk
Can't Live Without by Joanne Phillips
The Absolutely True Story of Us by Melanie Marchande