The B&N Podcast: James Lee Burke

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

James Lee Burke’s literary triumph was long in coming — but once he introduced New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux in the 1987 novel The Neon Rain, he quickly became both one of the most acclaimed American crime writers, and an irreplaceable chronicler of the Crescent City’s unique culture and history. His latest novel, titled simply Robicheaux, returns his beloved but battled-scarred hero to a murky world where business, politics and crime intersect. In this episode, James Lee Burke talks with Bill Tipper about his love of New Orleans and the long strange road to becoming an American classic.

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James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.

Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man.

Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America’s favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.

See more books by James Lee Burke.

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