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The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

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The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781416548485
ISBN10: 1416548483
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

My worst dreams have always contained images of brown water and fields of elephant grass and the downdraft of helicopter blades. The dreams are in color but they contain no sound, not of drowned voices in the river or the explosions under the hooches in the village we burned or the thropping of the Jolly Green and the gunships coming low and flat across the canopy, like insects pasted against a molten sun.

In the dream I lie on a poncho liner, dehydrated with blood expander, my upper thigh and side torn by wounds that could have been put there by wolves. I am convinced I will die unless I receive plasma back at battalion aid. Next to me lies a Negro corporal, wearing only his trousers and boots, his skin coal-black, his torso split open like a gaping red zipper from his armpit down to his groin, the damage to his body so grievous, traumatic, and terrible to see or touch he doesn't understand what has happened to him.

"I got the spins, Loot. How I look?" he says.

"We've got the million-dollar ticket, Doo-doo. We're Freedom Bird bound," I reply.

His face is crisscrossed with sweat, his mouth as glossy and bright as freshly applied lipstick when he tries to smile.

The Jolly Green loads up and lifts off, with Doo-doo and twelve other wounded on board. I stare upward at its strange rectangular shape, its blades whirling against a lavender sky, and secretly I resent the fact that I and others are left behind to wait on the slick and the chance that serious numbers of NVA are coming through the grass. Then I witness the most bizarre and cruel and seemingly unfair event of my entire life.

As the Jolly Green climbs above the river and turns toward the China Sea, a solitary RPG streaks at a forty-five-degree angle from the canopy below and explodes inside the bay. The ship shudders once and cracks in half, its fuel tanks blooming into an enormous orange fireball. The wounded on board are coated with flame as they plummet downward toward the water.

Their lives are taken incrementally - by flying shrapnel and bullets, by liquid flame on their skin, and by drowning in a river. In effect, they are forced to die three times. A medieval torturer could not have devised a more diabolic fate.

When I wake from the dream, I have to sit for a long time on the side of the bed, my arms clenched across my chest, as though I've caught a chill or the malarial mosquito is once again having its way with my metabolism. I assure myself that the dream is only a dream, that if it were real I would have heard sounds and not simply seen images that are the stuff of history now and are not considered of interest by those who are determined to re-create them.

I also tell myself that the past is a decaying memory and that I do not have to relive and empower it unless I choose to do so. As a recovering drunk, I know I cannot allow myself the luxury of resenting my government for lying to a whole generation of young men and women who believed they were serving a noble cause. Nor can I resent those who treated us as oddities if not pariahs when we returned home.

When I go back to sleep, I once again tell myself I will never again have to witness the wide-scale suffering of innocent civilians, nor the betrayal and abandonment of our countrymen when they need us most.

But that was before Katrina. That was before a storm with greater impact than the bomb blast that struck Hiroshima peeled the face off southern Louisiana. That was before one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere was killed three times, and not just by the forces of nature.

Copyright © 2007 by James Lee Burke

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carrita, September 13, 2011 (view all comments by carrita)
tin roof blowdown is the first james lee burke novel i have read of this author which lead me to more and more of his books with Dave Robicheaux and this book describes the hurricane katrina wich devestated new orelans and how the people moved to the super dome for protection and one person was killed there and finding out how it happened. This story gave a geographical description of new orleans (my hubby has lived there) and about the hurricane and is intimately written regarding his characters and the descriptios of the hurricane and the people. Excellent book all the way around as are all Mr. Burke's other books - every one is just excellent.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416548485
Subtitle:
A Dave Robicheaux Novel
Author:
Burke, James Lee
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Louisiana
Subject:
Police
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
New Orleans (La.)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Dave Robicheaux Mysteries
Publication Date:
July 17, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel Used Hardcover
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781416548485 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'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)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Review" by , "Though some of James Lee Burke's recent thrillers have been uneven, The Tin Roof Blowdown is not only a top-notch mystery but a moving post-Katrina tribute to his beloved New Orleans....Burke's elegy is so raw, painful, and eloquent, it's almost hard to concentrate on the case. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "Burke writes about [Katrina's] aftermath as vividly and powerfully as any nonfiction chronicler....[T]he novel's power comes from the way it explores the tragedy of Katrina in a way that is perfectly in tune with the series, a kind of perfect storm brought together by the confluence of fictional and nonfictional realms."
"Review" by , "There's a great deal of pain in Burke's books, as well as a great deal of what some might view as preaching or philosophizing. Burke can do it with the zeal of the newly converted, but it never detracts from rollicking and heartfelt stories about one of the most beautiful and perhaps most permanently damaged parts of the nation."
"Review" by , "Burke's flair for concocting fictional evil has not been completely compromised by his sadness and anger over the Crescent City's fate....[An] extraordinarily satisfying reading experience."
"Review" by , "The best Robicheaux novel of the past several years."
"Review" by , "Burke masterfully interweaves elements of violence, courage and regret with a deep sense of what makes us good or bad — or both — especially in times of crisis."
"Review" by , "What's so brilliant about Burke, in the end, is how he manages to show the ways the legitimate and illicit worlds had a special relationship in New Orleans."
"Synopsis" by , Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux returns in an adventure as timely as real life. Detective Robicheaux, driven by a keen sense of right versus wrong in the fight against crime following Hurricane Katrina, has his own demons of alcoholism and rage to contend with as well.
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