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Crusader's Cross (2006)

Crusader's Cross (2006)

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4.13 of 5 Votes: 5
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1416517286 (ISBN13: 9781416517283)
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About book Crusader's Cross (2006)

In the fourteenth Dave Robicheaux novel, a face from the past that has haunted Dave since he was 20 re-emerges. Dave and his brother Jimmie had long since thought Ida Durbin was dead. But when some odd events start occurring, Ida's death becomes more and more suspect, and all signs lead back to the wealthy Chalons family.Meanwhile, someone is on the loose killing women in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge serial killer hits close to home when he kills a young woman Dave interviewed and then dumps one of his victims in New Iberia Perish.Dave, Clete, Helen, and Molly, Dave's new love interest, all find themselves wrapped up in murder and mayhem as Dave tries to unravel all the mysteries.Once again, James Lee Burke has created a poetic masterpiece. While Crusader's Cross probably doesn't rank among my favorite Robicheaux novels, it's still among the elite in the world of crime fiction. Burke is known for his exquisite setting development and how accurately it reflects the Louisiana Bayou. His development also mimics the slow, easy pace of the Deep South. Crusader's Cross stays true to this form.Valentine Chalons is a repulsive antagonist coming from an extremely dysfunctional, wealthy, southern family. Lou Cale/Coin is equally repulsive. Yet, I still feel sorry for them when Dave "loses it" and sinks to their levels. Dave Robicheaux is one of the most unique characters in crime fiction in the sense that you don't always cheer him on. He has such realistic human qualities, and those qualities include a side that isn't always lovable or endearing. Robicheaux is constantly battling evil and sometimes that evil just drags him right down with it. Helen does her best to keep Dave out of the slime, but sometimes even that isn't enough. In Crusader's Cross, Helen gives Dave his shield back only to have to park him on desk duty almost immediately afterward.Clete is Clete. There is no comparison to Clete, a walking contradiction. He's as devoted a friend as any fictional character will find, but as usual the lengths he'll go to prove that devotion are often frightening.Dave is on wife number four with Molly. I worry for her safety. His previous wives haven't had such a good go of things! But, Molly fits Dave's type. She's a rebel; she's down-to-earth; and she's a scrapper.The dynamics of the characters as well as the relationships between them is pure gold and pure Burke. I listened to this book on audio, and I'm afraid it's going to be my last Dave Robicheaux audio book. Will Patton was the reader, and while I truly enjoy Patton's work in films, I did not enjoy his reading of Dave Robicheaux. I know the major factor is because I've mentally established Mark Hammer's voice as Dave Robicheaux's voice. However, I do have some particular details in addition to my preference for Hammer. Patton was very dramatic, and this novel is told from the perspective of Robicheaux who would never, in my interpretation, be dramatic. And he certainly wouldn't have a breathlessly dramatic sound. Even though Burke's descriptions are often breath-taking for the reader, it's common place for Dave; he lives in it every day. In addition, the man who corrects his adopted daughter on her speech would not say "da" in place of "the" or use a hard "t" sound on a th consonant blend. As with all Dave Robicheaux novels, there were many French-derived names present. Patton didn't seem to pronounce them as fluidly as Hammer always did. The accents, the stresses, the pronunciations just flowed in Hammer's readings and Patton has a more jerky style when he stresses certain syllables in those French pronunciations. It sounds almost like he's having difficulty pronouncing them.Then there's the role of Clete Purcell. Never in a million years would I have imagined Clete to sound the way Patton read his role. There simply are not words. However, I do believe he missed a significant amount of the sarcasm that is essential to Clete's character. I didn't laugh anywhere near as much with Clete as when I've read a book myself or listened to Hammer's reading. I know that it isn't fair to compare the two readers; each is his own person with his own style. And I've heard many people who loved Patton's reading. But I've created an image of Robicheaux in my mind, my imagination, and Hammer nailed that image (pun intended - ha!). This reading simply didn't measure up to the perfection of Hammer as Robicheaux.

Reading Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels is like eating a plate of beignets with a healthy dusting of powdered sugar and a side of chicory coffee ... that is, they taste great going down but don't exactly stay with you very long and, moreover, have dubious nutritional value. This installment is classic Burke/Robicheaux - thick, sometimes beautiful description that evokes a world foreign to all but those who are intimately familiar with SW LA. He is a master at evoking smells, atmosphere, and the heavy weight of the past that lies across his characters and their lives. And the action does not disappoint. Dave does a slow burn through the novel, as atrocities mount and his twin motivations of confusion and suspicion twirl together. The climax, set during a hurricane (but not Katrina), is almost cathartic, as Dave employs the old ultraviolence to rescue his beloved. All well and good, then. Anyone who enjoys crime thrillers in which the bad guys are 'really' bad, the crimes are horrific, and the hero is a tortured, quasi-vigilante who does what is 'right' (if not what is legal), will be well advised to pick up this book (or, better yet, start at the beginning and read 'em all). Lest that sound like faint praise, I freely confess that at times that reader is certainly me.But not at all times. Dave's world is truly sick, populated as it is by mobsters, pimps, prostitutes, rapists, serial killers, and smug-and-perverted plutocrats. I really can't dwell in that world too often, regardless of how adept Burke is at describing the beauty and culture that surrounds the violence and perversions.My other complaint is that after a few Robicheaux novels it grows hard to tell them apart. A few are definitely iconic, especially the early ones in which Alafair and Bootsy come into the picture (I imagine the entry set after Katrina - which I have not yet read - would also be instantly memorable). But the middle range of the series grows pretty interchangeable, at least in my view. A sign of this? I can never remember which I've read and which I haven't. I know I read most of the series through volume 8, but after that I have trouble telling from the jacket descriptions and from online summaries whether I've read it or not. Undoubtedly that says something about me. But it also says something about the formulaic nature of the series. I really can't remember which psycho/rapist/murderer is connected to which arrogant, monied, perverted plutocrat - each story has its share of each.So I'm left with beignets. When I want 'em, I really, really want 'em. When I want Robicheaux, and his violent response to a violent world, nothing else will suffice. But, like Beignets, I can do without most of the time, and there's not much to differentiate one plate of 'em from another.

Do You like book Crusader's Cross (2006)?

I have mixed feelings about this book. I'd never read any of James Lee Burke's mysteries before, but I know people who rave about his work and I know critics love him. I picked this one kind of at random as a sampler, although I later learned that Kirkus called it " Burke’s best book in years."What I found out was that Burke writes beautiful descriptions and creates vivid characters -- but his plot is a mess, so convoluted that it ditches believability in favor of continued conflict and twists that you couldn't see coming because they're stupid. The resolution of the plot is completely ridiculous, but I admit I read the last 40 pages or so in a rush to see how he'd connect everything. The answer: He doesn't. There are enough loose threads at the end to weave a basketball net.Burke's detective, Dave Robicheaux, narrates the tale in a lyrical but melancholy voice that at times takes on a Biblical tone: ''I did not want to believe that I was a harbinger of violence and death, a man who dwelled in the cities of the dead.'' It begins with him and his half-brother Jimmie visiting a Galveston beach in 1958, being rescued from shark-infested waters by a red-headed girl who likes to play mandolin. Ida Durbin and Jimmie Robicheaux hit it off, even though he soon learns she's a prostitute. But when he tries to rescue her from the life, she disappears and the brothers believe for decades that she's dead.Then a dying man's last statement to Robicheaux prompts the brothers to begin digging into what really happened, and that upsets a powerful family, the Chalons, who have lots of deep, dark secrets. The scion of the family, TV journalist Valentine Chalons, then targets Dave for a smear campaign and maybe worse. Dave fights back with the help of his wild-man pal Clete Purcel (by far Burke's most entertaining character).We learn that Ida may have gone on to a recording career -- but that line gets dropped, and so does the question of where Dave got a mysterious CD with a dab of blood on it, or what Dave did during a blackout when he fell off the wagon, or how exactly a serial killer that Dave is tracking wound up working in two places that are pretty far apart from each other. I haven't even mentioned Dave's unlikely romance with a radical nun who gives up her vows on the spur of the moment to become his fourth (!) wife.I want to read more of Burke's books because I enjoyed his writing and his strong sense of place, but I am hopeful someone can recommend to me a book of his in which the plot makes a lot more sense than this one did.
—Craig Pittman

Crusader’s Cross is another Dave Robichaux novel, the one before Tin Roof Blowdown, I believe. It’s only the second of the series I’ve read, but delightful still. The novel focuses on two cases: the 30-year-old disappearance of Dave’s brother’s hooker girlfriend and a series of murders occurring in and around New Orleans. The book has lots of good twists and turns, with Robichaux’s alcoholism and his Vietnam-haunted past coloring events. Will Patton does a fine job with the narration, rendering

I enjoy this series and the characters that inhabit it. Such powerful evocations of the deep and dirty south of the United States are also pretty exciting to read about, I am looking forward to reading his post-Katrina novel, I'm sure it will make me sob.In this particular story ...........................Our hero/anti-hero protagonist again chooses to delve into a dark aspect of his past, this time his brother's prostitute girlfriend who went missing many many years ago. It was presumed that she was dead, however a death bed confession catalyses a series of events that suggests otherwise. Dave also hooks up with a nun. Many elements in this series are repetitive - Dave is always relentlessly seeking the truth regardless of the risk or cost to himself or others, there is always corruption, and there is always someone seeking to kill his loved ones. Dave's ongoing and continuous struggle with alcoholism is also omnipresent, however that is a good thing, as that is the nature of alcoholism. This part of the character is never glazed over or glamorised, which I appreciate.Overall, these are entertaining stories that I will continue to read when I see them on the library shelves.

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