Jolie Blon's Bounce –

Good stuff, no doubt Containing the wonderfully evocative writing I ve come to expect from Burke, it built a world of mud and heat I could just about sink my toes into Yet despite all the elements that make it a prototypical Robicheaux novel as noted by Nanosynergy in their pointed review it lacked a certain spice to really pull it together into exceptional.The story begins with a young girl brutally raped and murdered, and what seems to be an obvious suspect, a young black musician who had been dating the girl and whose prints were found on a can of beer nearby Dave Robicheaux has doubts after the kid tries to suicide and a pillar of the community decides to represent him Before long, a prostitute is found savagely beaten to death, and it starts to look like a serial killer The woman, Linda, is connected to a crime family, and now her father is on the warpath However, it isn t long before both cases are sidetracked as Dave follows the age old private eye premise of harassing various people in hopes of seeing what shakes out Mostly what shakes out are a lot of threats, but occasionally some beatings as well Perhaps because I ve been readingpolice type procedurals as long as Ben Aaronovitch counts , but it surprised me that there wasn tstraight up detecting, particularly as Robicheaux has official status Robicheaux also feels aggressive when he meets various people connected with the case s , which surprises me a bit from the charming Cajun I thought he was Then again, I suppose this is book 8, so some things must have happened between book three and this one Still, I found the general repetitiveness of the lack of plotting a little tiresome Not enough to skip, but enough to put it down and wander away.Characters are interesting, particularly the renegade Clete, inarguably Dave s best friend and general wild card Although Dave s wife and daughter make brief appearances, they seem to beof an afterthought in this book Dave s pseudo addiction is a little tiresome, both from a plotting standpoint and from a psychological perspective I m definitely ambivalent about the reason for the addiction in this book, and if anyone wants to discuss, please let me know Narrative is mostly from Dave s point of view, but there are a few others included It s a little strange when stories of the past both immediate and distant are told as Burke moves the scene back in time and tells it from an omniscient point of view, including that of women being abused It s very evocative, but leaves the mystery to head into literary fiction land Overall, not a bad read, just one that had me wishing for a bitof actual detecting and less from the bar brawler.Three and a half stars, rounding down to even out the average 4 stars rating. JOLIE BLON S BOUNCEI read this book almost ten years ago, but recently listened to the unabridged audio book, read by actor Will Patton.Looking at this book from a writer s viewpoint, I must stand in awe of James Lee Burke The plot is complicated and imaginative It s full of allegory and biblical references the average person may not understand I didn t but thanks to main character and narrator, Dave Robicheaux, you ll get a quick theology lesson, improve your knowledge of the bible a little, and see the parallel Burke uses to tell a story of among other things good and evil I ve always said James Lee Burke has few equals in his poetic ability to describe people, places and events JOLIE BLON S BOUNCE provides him with plenty of ground to do that over and over again and also exercise his talent for getting a reader into the heads of the assorted miscreants and psychos that litter the pages of all his books He always provides you with a good lesson in abnormal psychology as it relates to his characters.And I love his characters Whether they re good guys or bad guys, they re all train wrecks just waiting to roll over some spot in southern Louisiana I doubt you ll ever forget them.Will I enjoy the book, you ask Kinda depends on what you like This is NOT a light read This is NOT a cozy mystery What entertains you This IS a dark, extremely well written police procedural I generally do not afford a civilian writer much slack with their interpretation of how cops work, but Burke does a fine job dealing with the procedures and interpersonal machinations of the Iberia Parish Sheriff s Department Everything is uncomplicated and realistic He also pulls off an authentic representation of an alcoholic, and has uncanny success when giving life to the sociopaths and nut jobs that walk through each day Robicheaux is on the job I d highly recommend any of James Lee Burke s books and especially this one 5 stars. Burke is a great mystery writer and it s hard not to be entertained by his Dave Robicheaux series. This was the second book I read this week with an unexpected near supernatural element to it Jolie Blon s Bounce has to be one of the most disturbing books I ve ever read Talk about palpable evil The text of this book should be hyperlinked to that phrase palpable evil every time it s used James Lee Burke is a master at reaching into the dark forces that shaped one s past and illuminating those demons whether of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual perversion, or violence And all four of those demonic forces invade the reader s comfort zone in Jolie Blon s Bounce along with the racism and violent atrocities associated with Louisiana s past There is even a powerful metaphor in the battle scarred Confederate flag owned by one of the characters and displayed prominently in a glass case.The plot is simple A young white girl is brutally raped and murdered A young black male has plenty of circumstantial evidence pointed his way Dave Robicheaux is not convinced of the perp s guilt, so he sets out to prove it either way That quick synopsis is probably as ambivalent as the suspect himself On the way hand, he seems to be a no good dope addict and on the other hand, he seems to be a phenomenally talented zydeco musician This gives Burke a chance to drop names like Clifton Chenier into the mix and remind people like me of some music I really enjoy that seems like a cross between blues and rock a billy.Cajun culture and tradition is highlighted throughout the story I didn t realize that there was a grammatical construction similar to that in many languages where they use separable and inseparable pronouns For example, in Latin, the pronoun is part of the verb Amo means I love Sometimes, you read, Ego te amo Technically, that would be I, I love you In some languages, the double pronoun is used for emphasis Apparently, in Cajun, there are phrases that sound like I will do this, me or You better be going, you I didn t know that I also didn t know about the game of bouree, a trick taking card game where the trumps are determined randomly, that was mentioned twice.There is an antagonist in the book that I will never forget His name is Legion Guidry and he is described as, Legion Guidry comes from someplace the rest of us don t That s a theological statement p 230 A former prison guard and plantation slave overseer, this mass of pus and evil has supernatural strength and that kind of negative charisma that freezes almost everyone who comes into contact with him Even presented by text on a page, this guy is scarier than the villain in a chain saw movie You find yourself wishing for the most horrible and disgusting violent acts to be perpetrated on him What Robicheaux does is incredible and I won t spoil it.There is a potential suspect in the book Almost a caricature of the Bible salesman in Paper Moon, you know there is something wrong with Marvin Oates from the time you meet him But you just can t quite figure out where he fits in the situation Like Guidry, he seems to have power beyond his person You don t want to believe all those hymns and scriptural references he makes, but you just aren t sure, sometimes.There is also the benevolent black grandma, a victim of the plantation days She makes a statement early on that the seed of whatever happened occurred long before, but she was unwilling to elaborate That failure to speak almost wreaks ugly havoc in far too many lives.And what am I supposed to make of a mysterious figure named Sal Angelo, an Italian and fellow soldier from Dave s past Is HE for real or does he represent something quite akin to his name both of them, since it would be Salvatore Angelo It s another area where you might be on the verge of the supernatural Burke doesn t go over the line in these areas, but he sure makes you wonder.My favorite line from the book was also the most haunting, I was bothered by the nagging speculation that has troubled me since I became a police officer, namely, that no matter how heinous the crime or evil the deed, human beings feel at the time they commit the act that they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing p 447 That was as sobering as some of the most frightening descriptions of atrocities I ve read in my life. Burke s books carry an undeniable sense of deja vu in terms of plotting and I had overlooked it before but Jolie Blon s Bounce feels like a retreadthan any other book that came before it A series of brutal rapes and murders has an obvious suspect in the form of a young black man Tee Bobby Hulin and less obvious ones in form of hellish Legion Gundry and mysterious bible salesman Marvin Oates It is just the starting point of a sprawling narrative The plot like all Burke books is a mishmash of disjointed fragments for the first ninety percent of the book till the last ten percent expertly reels in the denouements to complete a puzzle that fits perfectly.The usual characters of any Robicheaux novels are present the tragic young black man Tee Bobby Hulin forever carrying his skin color as stigmata, the scion to old white money Perry Lasalle whose politeness is a facade, an antagonist Legion Gundry who is equal parts insidious and dangerous I am not going to repeat myself singing the praises of the writing and dialogue I have done it numerous times before and suffice to say they remain top notch I will rather concentrate on what makes the book feel muchmediocre compared to other entries in the series.Robicheaux was at his best place psychologically in books 9 and 10 though as a character he was at his best at the start of the series raw, alone andfallible and Burke ever since then is focused on bringing his world crashing down It was doneorganically in Purple Cane Road and Jolie Blon s Bounce s device to send him spiraling down further is questionable at best Robicheaux while investigating the murders run afoul of Legion who is protecting ancient secrets of his own Legion gives him a brutal beating, a manhandling that makes Robicheaux feel almost sexually violated Robicheaux is tempted to revisit booze, the series had always afforded Robicheaux s sobriety the utmost respect and had not used it as a cheap storytelling device It breaks that trend here but because Burke has used it so sparingly till now, I did not mind it.However what I did mind is the path Burke takes to ensure Robicheaux reaches the tipping point This series has seen some great villains Julie Balboni in In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead and Jim Gable in Purple Cane Road and they are at their most menacing when there is a veneer of civility to go with their obvious depravity Legion does not possess that, he is a seventy four year old man with no ties to organized crime and whose address is known to Robicheaux I just did not buy his threats, Robicheaux had faced much worse even of the psychotic variety in Dixie City Jam and not been so vulnerable To sell Legion s threat Burke leans heavily on magical realism, Robicheaux and other characters consider him some form of demon I hate magical realism in my crime stories and to further the motif of good vs evil, Robicheaux is even saddled with a mysterious guardian angel at the novel s climax Another thing I did mind was Clete finding true love for the third time in last three novels and getting his heart broken every time I don t mind overall tonal repetitions in plot but the same exact sub plot 3 3 times is too much.Robicheaux books work much better when the man himself is not the victim of the violence It really affects the realism because that well is running dry at this point Read Cadillac Jukebox or Sunset Limited to get my point They also work better when the mystical realism is not a plot contrivance butof the subtle way point for the characters Think Black Cherry Blues those issues mean it ends up being an above average crime thriller but a below average installment to Robicheaux canon Rating 3 5 I might as well go out on a limb and say that this may be the definitive book of the Dave Robicheaux series of course I have severalto read in the series It has Dave Robicheaux s addiction violence anger issues Clete Purcell in all his bumbling, destructive, womanizing glory a creepy antagonist with an applicable name that I will remember a cast of dysfunctional characters overshadowed by their past the Southern plantation wealthy, the Southern white trash, the possibly lesbian cop etc unrelenting darkness and violence issues of prejudice and race in the South Vietnam War veterans the swamps and bayous fishing and boats Cajun culture and music the criminal, drug and prostitute underbelly of New Iberia and Louisiana cops whose behavior should put them behind bars or off the force the rich descriptive language that evokes the region the supernatural spiritual and portent dreams and last, but not least, an albino character not the first in this series.For all this wrapped into one book, I ll give it 4 stars Although generally I knock off a star for an albino character But as the albino is portrayed as clever and non violent although still a criminal I am granting grace. The Barnes Noble ReviewJames Lee Burke S Fiction Is Haunted, Sometimes Quite Literally, By The Ghosts Of History, And By A Bone Deep Apprehension Of The Human Capacity For Violence And Cruelty A Case In Point Is The Author S Latest Dave Robicheaux Novel, Jolie Blon S Bounce, A Contemporary Account Of Murder And Madness Whose Plot Reflects The Lingering Aftereffects Of The Antebellum SouthThe Story Begins With The Shotgun Murder OfYear Old Amanda Boudreau And The Subsequent Arrest Of Tee Bobby Hulin, A Musically Gifted Young Black Man With A Spiraling Drug Habit And A Checkered Criminal Past This Initial Murder Is Quickly Followed By A Second, The Bludgeoning Death Of A Prostitute With Ties To The World Of Organized Crime The Dual Investigation That Ensues Leads Robicheaux Together With His Current Partner, Helen Soileau, And His Former Partner In The New Orleans PD, Clete Purcell Into The Complex, Interrelated Histories Of Several New Iberia Families, Some Rich, White, And Powerful, Some Poor, Black, And Chronically Underprivileged The Investigation Puts Robicheaux In Touch With The Most Vicious Elements Of Louisiana Society, And With The Darkest Aspects Of His Own Divided SoulLike Most Of Burke S Fiction, Jolie Blon S Bounce Is A Rambling, Loosely Plotted Affair Notable For Its Powerful Set Pieces, Its Precise, Sensual Evocation Of The Louisiana Bayou Country, And Its Flamboyant Sense Of Character Among The Novel S Most Vivid Creations Are A Sexually Voracious Defense Attorney Descended From A Wealthy Slaveholding Family, A Traveling Bible Salesman With A Penchant For Violence, A Former Mafia Hit Man With A Tragic Personal History, And A Predatory, Not Quite Human Killer Who Goes By The Name Of Legion Legion, A Deliberate, Over The Top Embodiment Of Absolute Evil, Is One Of Burke S Most Remarkable Creations His Presence, Together With The Corollary Presence Of A Mad, Possibly Angelic Figure Known As Sal Angelo, Lends This Novel The Faint, Unmistakable Aura Of The Supernatural That Has Characterized So Much Of Burke S Recent FictionAs Always, Though, It Is Dave Robicheaux Himself A Decent, Violent, Angry, Loving, And Deeply Conflicted Man Who Dominates The Narrative Robicheaux S Distinctive Character And His Voice With Its Mournful Power, Its Clean, Rolling Cadences, And Its Frequent Flights Of Unforced Poetry Elevate This Novel At Every Turn Like The Best Of Its Predecessors The Neon Rain, A Morning For Flamingos, Purple Cane Road , Jolie Blon S Bounce Is Bruising, Moving, And Beautifully Composed An Example Of American Crime Fiction At Its Best And Most Highly EvolvedBill Sheehan One of the best of the series so far As usual Dave Robicheaux rushes headlong into the fight when a young girl is raped and shot to death He digs up old animosities in the local community stemming from the plantation days and an overseer who was a sexual predator.Dave struggles with the demons of his days as a marine in Vietnam and then the dark world of alcoholism His friend Cletus Purcell is guarding his back as well as earning the wrath of the New Iberia sheriff Good fast moving action and at times you can feel yourself casting a line into the bayou There didn t seem to be some much jargon slang in this story. One of my friends who also really likes the Harry Bosch books told me this is another favorite series My library doesn t have many in audio, so when I saw this I was thrilled Not so much after listening to it for an hour I think I need to read the series from the start this might be in paper The narrator s voice irritated me even at 1.5x, it was slow. The only Robicheaux I haven t read three times Not sure how I missed it In any event, Dave and Clete may be up against Lucifer s incarnate himself, Legion Guidry, an extraordinary older man with quite a jaded past Or could Guidry be a bionic older man, damn near a freakin terminator Arnold old boy, what do you think Answer He ll be back Next, a gimpy, oddball door to door bible and magazine salesman, next enter a former mobster who is quite likable, all types of women and pimps are the primary characters in this one As usual for any JLB novel, gritty and evilicious, and of course a good read nonetheless.