Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux Series #17)

Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux Series #17)

by James Lee Burke

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Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux Series #17) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Dinofog More than 1 year ago
I love the Robicheaux series and was looking forward to this one but must admit I was rather disappointed. I understand an author wanting to do something different from the norm they have established for their style and character, but this formula wasn't the right one (in my opinion). The prose lacks Burke's stunningly visual - almost poetic - style, settling instead into the more journalistic "punch" that most of today's modern writers have unfortunately fallen for. Sure there were moments of brilliance (the Epilogue is quite beautiful) but overall this read like someone else's work. Also think incorporating both first and third person in the same novel was a mistake - at least for Burke. He is so strong in first person; I really feel that's his true voice. Lastly, the amount of violence in this particular book was really almost too much. I love action as much as the next guy, but the prison rape descriptions in particular were very lengthy and overdrawn. Could have gotten the point across in a more vague manner and the book wouldn't have suffered. Try A MORNING FOR FLAMINGOS to see the "real" Burke at work (that one's an amazing book!)
glauver More than 1 year ago
I thought James Lee Burke's last Dave Robicheaux novel, The Tin Roof Blowdown, re-vitalized the series. However, moving Dave and Clete to Montana and returning to loose ends from one of Burke's best novels, Black Cherry Blues, is a misstep. The prose and descriptions are as vivid as ever but I felt the plot was a step backwards from his previous novel. Burke will probably never write a truly bad book because of his huge talent but I think it is time for a real change of pace in the Robicheaux series.
mr_norman More than 1 year ago
The twisted lives of Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel reach new depths in these peaks. Burke can scent evil and leads us deep into its inner core. I was both hooked and repelled this time, even though i knew there would be some redemption at the end. No one escapes unscarred, though. Burke's penchant for prose makes reading a pleasure. He captures vivid images without belaboring them. His return to Montana offers a nice break from the swamps and bayous and cesspits for Louisiana, even though it is peopled by corruption and faced with imminent pollution. The stench of New Orleans is never far away. This is a must-read for Burke's admirers. If you are new to Burke, though, go back and start at the beginning. To appreciate this installment in the series, you need to have been a passenger from the start.
JDubWB More than 1 year ago
This is the first James Lee Burke book that I read. Robicheaux never takes a back seat to Reacher or Bob Lee Swagger! Plus, there's an even greater benefit. Burke is incredibly literate, turns a beautiful phrase and actually puts a lot of thought and philosophy into his writing. All in all this was a highly entertaining read and since I read this book, I went out and bought several more which I am thoroughly enjoying as well.
DavidZiskin More than 1 year ago
James Lee Burke is the almost certainly the best writer working today. I think he will eventually attain the same status in American letters as William Faulkner. I read all of his books. This presentation is terrific. Will Patton does Burke perfectly. Great stuff.
Tweenthepages More than 1 year ago
Although I love James Lee Burke's New Iberia setting for Dave Robicheaux et al, it was nice to find him writing from his other home region. The scenery may have changed, but Dave and Cletus have not. This novel felt quite different to me than most of Dave's New-Iberia-based stories. There is less magic in Burke's description of the Northwest than in his description of his beloved New Iberia parish in Louisiana. It depends on the development of the characters rather than the dark mood of the bayous, and in the odd literary manner of mixing first-person narrative with third-person, Burke manages to tell two stories in one book. Dave and Cletus, with Molly along for scarce appearances, have their reluctant investigation as one plot, but there is an astounding story of redemption in the sub-plot. I am rarely caught by surprise, but this one did it. The regular rough characters are present in "Swan Peak". In a Robicheaux novel, there is always an initially smooth, refined, wealthy character whose morals are rotten; a woman who flirts with people who are not her husband; a disfigured man whom no one can quite pin down as devil or flawed angel; and the background of mobsters; and Dave and Clete must visit them each many times, and this book is no different. But one of Burke's talents is making them uniquely creepy and capable of heinous acts, and deserving of their fate, however horrible it may be. I have to admit that each time I finish a Dave Robicheaux novel, and I've read them all, I feel tired. Not from the action, nor from the violence, but from the back and forth angst that hangs over Dave's friendship with Clete. Both men have "inner demons', which makes for great characters but frustrating moments as one scolds the other about the same sins he himself commits. Dave reprimands Clete for starting fights, then beats someone nearly to death. If it happens once or twice in the book, it makes for irony or inner conflicts. A zillion times in one story is just tiring. Yes, yes, I know it is there for underlying tension and exposing the nerves that are always just on top of the boys' skins, but I would like to see Burke break out of that mold just once and have Dave and Clete on the same page throughout the book. Just once. You could call it a black-comedy-caper, Mr. Burke. Then go back to the angst-ridden, demon-inhabiting, nail-biting relationship they have. If that part of each Robicheaux novel makes me grind my teeth, the rest of it is music to the soul. Burke has a way with his prose that sometimes makes me read an entire paragraph twice before moving on. His elegance makes up for any frustration I feel caught between the two protagonists. So let Dave and Cletus bicker and rage at one another. If that's the only way I can have my Robicheaux novels, then I'll take it.
jepeters333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taking a much-needed break from the gritty, hurricane-ravaged landscape of their Louisiana home, lawman Dave Robicheaux, his wife, and his buddy Clete Purcel head to a friend's Montana ranch, where they hope to spend their days fishing and relaxing. But a storm of trouble descends on their wilderness retreat when two college students are found brutally murdered, and the three southerners are pulled into the twisted and dangerous snares of a vicious oil tycoon.
witchyrichy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am often repelled by the violence and sadism in Burke's books, but there is something about his prose, his love for his setting, that keeps me coming back. Swan Peak was set in my favorite part of the country, the border between Montana and Idaho. My husband and I drove over the Lolo Pass and Burke's descriptions of the landscape brought that trail to life for me. Clete Purcel was the star of this novel and I wished we had heard more from Molly. The fugitive guitar playing country singer Jimmy Dale was my favorite character.
kerns222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whoa. what happened. Burke had the characters fine tuned from some great books he wrote a while back and had a contract to fill ( not that kind contract! a book contract.). OK-Burke does a nice job describing Montana la la la. And shows how the emotionally-injured thug can be redeemed by looove. But I´ve had enought of Clete and his problems. And enough sadistic killers, too. How about some nice simple holdups or ponzi schemes for a change. At least the book got me thru a days worth of flu fever. I rate it EAB--emergency airplane book, when thats all they have in the airport bookkiost.
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quite powerful book about corruption and redemption. This Robicheaux utters some harsh monologue, judging the character of himself and others. The Montana backdrop, while one get a sense of its great beauty, is not my favorite setting for the Dave and Clete show. They do not quite ring true in Montana.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dave Robicheaux, wife Molly and best friend Clete Purcel are vacationing in Montana after the devastation of hurricanes' Rita and Katrina in New Orleans.When a pair of double murders occurs and the local sheriff seems overwhelmed, Dave and Clete offer their services.Ridley Wellstone a wealthy former Texan, own land aroung Swan Lake and wants to drill test wells for oil and natural gas. He lives on his ranch with his brother, Lyle and Lyle's wife, country and western singer, Jamie Sue Wellstone.When Ridley seens Dave and Clete, he accuses them of working with the person who filed an injunction against him for his well drilling. Even though Dave and Clete deny it, there are bad feelings which will escallate.In a parallel story, Jamie Sue's former boyfriend, Jimme Dale Greenwood, who is the father of their child, is in jail in Texas. He's there for a minor offense but gets into an intollerable situation with guard Troyce Nix. When the situation gets ever worse, Jimmie Dale escapes and makes his way to Montana and Jamie Sue.As we find more of what is going on at the Wellstone ranch and the Wellstone's backgrounds, and as Dave finds more about the people who have been murdered, we see why he is such a popular character. He's humble but determined. He's human and has flaws, a former alcoholic who attends regular meetings. However, he's also a champion for the poor and less fortunate who are taken advantage of by the wealthy opportunists who don't think they have to answer to the law.With the excellent plot, some surprises and well described characters, James Lee Burke is once again at the top of his game.
Bumpersmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the 17th book in the Dave Robicheaux/Clete Purcel series written by James Lee Burke. New Orleans, aka, The Big Sleazy, is home base but this book takes us to Montana where Dave and Clete are vacationing. Trouble is never far away for these two, and a double homicide occurs not far from where they are staying. True to form, they are drawn into the investigation, and this book has all the elements that make a mystery enjoyable.
spartacula2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm very partial to renegades Dave Robicheaux & Cletus Purcel. Having said that, this story flows like a swollen river from begining to end. There must be about a dozen characters to grab your emotions which should cover the gamut from 'she's really a kind sweet soul' to 'you dog; I can't wait for you to get yours'. It's all that in between action that keeps the pages turning. Burke writes with a knowledge that seems as though he's experienced it all, not just researched it. As much as I love the 'Big Easy' locale, Montana has a way of drawing you into it's snow capped, mountainous terrain; just enough to let go of the bayou till next time.
andyray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
it is not a good idea to put louisiana protqgonists in montana.why? because those (like me) who became enamoured with the author's writing did so because of the apt and drawing descriptions not necessary of Louisiana, but of sugar cane country. As far as the writing and plotting and page-turning ability goes, Burke could get me reading his intgerpretation of roberts' rules of order. he is that good.
jsharpmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Detective Dave Robicheaux, his wife Molly and his friend Clete Purcell from New Iberia are "vacationing" in Montana to get away from Louisiana crime. Unfortunately they are not to have much of a vacation with multiple bad guys. It is an exciting story with embedded stories. Much philosophizing on Dave's part. The characters that are the bad guys are believable and receive their just due. Molly who is an ex nun is mostly supportive of Dave and his actions. Clete continues in his self destructive mode.
jastbrown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent story from a master. Brutal but excellent!
LeHack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Swan Peak does not take place in Louisiana. Robicheaux, his wife and his buddy, Clete Purcell are staying at an old friend's ranch in Montana. Two bodies, college students, were found nearby. They were brutally murdered. Robicheaux and Purcell are drawn into the case, but not by choice. They are threatened by employees of a neighboring ranch owned by an oil tycoon. This was not my favorite Robicheaux novel. I love the Louisiana setting, and missed it. There seems to be a lot of brutality in this book. Hopefully, Burke will return Robicheaux to New Orleans in his next book.
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Andother great one Mr Burke.
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