Last Car to Elysian Fields by James Lee Burke
A Dave Robicheaux Novel

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Synopsis

For Dave Robicheaux, there is no easy passage home. New Orleans, and the memories of his life in the Big Easy, will always haunt him. So to return there -- as he does in Last Car to Elysian Fields -- means visiting old ghosts, exposing old wounds, opening himself up to new, yet familiar, dangers.
When Robicheaux, now a police officer based in the somewhat quieter Louisiana town of New Iberia, learns that an old friend, Father Jimmie Dolan, a Catholic priest always at the center of controversy, has been the victim of a particularly brutal assault, he knows he has to return to New Orleans to investigate, if only unofficially. What he doesn't realize is that in doing so he is inviting into his life -- and into the lives of those around him -- an ancestral evil that could destroy them all.
The investigation begins innocently enough. Assisted by good friend and P.I. Clete Purcel, Robicheaux confronts the man they believe to be responsible for Dolan's beating, a drug dealer and porno star named Gunner Ardoin. The confrontation, however, turns into a standoff as Clete ends up in jail and Robicheaux receives an ominous warning to keep out of New Orleans' affairs.
Meanwhile, back in New Iberia, more trouble is brewing: Three local teenage girls are killed in a drunk-driving accident, the driver being the seventeen-year-old daughter of a prominent physician. Robicheaux traces the source of the liquor to one of New Iberia's "daiquiri windows," places that sell mixed drinks from drive-by windows. When the owner of the drive-through operation is brutally murdered, Robicheaux immediately suspects the grief-crazed father of the dead teen driver. But his assumption is challenged when the murder weapon turns up belonging to someone else.
The trouble continues when Father Jimmie asks Robicheaux to help investigate the presence of a toxic landfill near St. James Parish in New Orleans, which in turn leads to a search for the truth behind the disappearance many years before of a legendary blues musician and composer. Tying together all these seemingly disparate threads of crime is a maniacal killer named Max Coll, a brutal, brilliant, and deeply haunted hit man sent to New Orleans to finish the job on Father Dolan. Once Coll shows up, it becomes clear that Dave Robicheaux will be forced to ignore the warning to stay out of New Orleans, and he soon finds himself drawn deeper into a viper's nest of sordid secrets and escalating violence that sets him up for a confrontation that echoes down the lonely corridors of his own unresolved past.
A masterful exploration of the troubled side of human nature and the darkest corners of the heart, and filled with the kinds of unforgettable characters that are the hallmarks of his novels, Last Car to Elysian Fields is James Lee Burke in top form in the kind of lush, atmospheric thriller that his fans have come to expect from the master of crime fiction.
 

About James Lee Burke

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James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of thirty-one previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as The Glass Rainbow, Swan Peak, The Tin Roof Blowdown, Last Car to Elysian Fields, and Rain Gods. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
 
Published September 23, 2003 by Simon & Schuster. 496 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Last Car to Elysian Fields

Kirkus Reviews

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But there are more than enough sleazeballs to go around, from Gunner’s mobbed-up boss Fat Sammy Figorelli to waste-management contractor Merchie Flannigan to Merchie’s wife, crime-writer Theodosha LeJeune, to Theo’s father, spuriously genteel Castille LeJeune, whose 1951 blues recording of impris...

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The Guardian

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Last Car to Elysian Fields by James Lee Burke 335pp, Orion "I had been suspended before, put on a desk, investigated by Internal Affairs, locked up on at least three occasions, and years ago fired by NOPD.

Nov 08 2003 | Read Full Review of Last Car to Elysian Fields: A...

Publishers Weekly

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Homicide detective Dave Robicheaux is pitted against a handsome, urbane war hero of a bad guy instead of the typical obscenely grotesque villain in this latest installment of Burke's stellar series, set in New Iberia, La.

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Publishers Weekly

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Since Burke's last outing (Jolie Blon's Bounce ), hapless Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux has lost his wife to lupus and his bayou home has burned to the ground.

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Book Reporter

Robicheaux finds that his investigation and duty lead back to New Orleans, where he must confront not only the troubles of his friends but the darkness of his own unruly past.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Last Car to Elysian Fields: A...

Entertainment Weekly

In Dave Robicheaux's latest case, the New Iberia, La., detective crosses paths with insurance huckster Cash Money Mouton, smut peddler Fat Sammy Figorelli, and brutal prison guard Cain't-See to Cain't-See Double-Time Strunk.

Sep 26 2003 | Read Full Review of Last Car to Elysian Fields: A...

Reviewing the Evidence

With Robicheaux cast as a man essentially adrift and fighting his own demons, it is perhaps even a bit darker than the normal book in this series.

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Reviewing the Evidence

James Lee Burke, after having earned acclaim for early works, wrote The Lost Get-Back Boogie with, given the success of his earlier books, a reasonable expectation of earning a quid or two (sorry, a dollar or several) from its sales.

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Reader Rating for Last Car to Elysian Fields
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