Light of the World (Dave Robicheaux Series #20)

( 62 )

Overview

Louisiana Sherriff’s Detective Dave Robicheaux and his longtime friend and partner Clete Purcel are vacationing in Montana’s spectacular Big Sky country when a series of suspicious events leads them to believe their lives—and the lives of their families—are in danger. In contrast to the tranquil beauty of Flathead Lake and the colorful summertime larch and fir unspooling across unblemished ranchland, a venomous presence lurks in the caves and hills, intent on destroying innocent lives. First, Alafair Robicheaux ...

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Light of the World (Dave Robicheaux Series #20)

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Overview

Louisiana Sherriff’s Detective Dave Robicheaux and his longtime friend and partner Clete Purcel are vacationing in Montana’s spectacular Big Sky country when a series of suspicious events leads them to believe their lives—and the lives of their families—are in danger. In contrast to the tranquil beauty of Flathead Lake and the colorful summertime larch and fir unspooling across unblemished ranchland, a venomous presence lurks in the caves and hills, intent on destroying innocent lives. First, Alafair Robicheaux is nearly killed by an arrow while hiking alone on a trail. Then Clete’s daughter, Gretchen Horowitz, whom readers met in Burke’s previous bestseller Creole Belle, runs afoul of a local cop, with dire consequences. Next, Alafair thinks she sees a familiar face following her around town—but how could convicted sadist and serial killer Asa Surette be loose on the streets of Montana? Surrette committed a string of heinous murders while capital punishment was outlawed in his home state of Kansas. Years ago, Alafair, a lawyer and novelist, interviewed Surette in prison, aiming to prove him guilty of other crimes and eligible for the death penalty. Recently, a prison transport van carrying Surette crashed and he is believed dead, but Alafair isn’t so sure. Says The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), “Already designated a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Burke should get another title, say, for sustained literary brilliance in his Dave Robicheaux series.” Light of the World is a harrowing novel that examines the nature of evil and pits Dave Robicheaux against the most diabolical villain he has ever faced.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Burke’s 20th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2012’s Creole Belle), a powerful meditation on the nature—and smell—of evil, finds the Louisiana sheriff’s detective on vacation in Montana with family and friends. There they are hounded and haunted by a psychopathic serial killer, Asa Surrette, believed to have been killed in a prison van accident. Surrette has a fate worse than death in mind for Robicheaux’s journalist daughter, who interviewed him in prison. Meanwhile, his friend’s daughter, one of the most damaged women in detective fiction, is working on a documentary on shale oil extraction, earning her some powerful enemies. This book could easily have been subtitled “Daddies, Don’t Bring Your Daughters to Montana,” as people don’t just get killed: they’re tortured, disfigured, and eviscerated. Robicheaux himself remains haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. But even as the stomach roils, the fingers keep turning the pages because the much-honored Burke (two Edgars, a Guggenheim Fellowship) is a master storyteller. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (July)
starred review Booklist
“Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading ‘Good and Evil’ to Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. . . . Occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form—depravity beyond sociology—giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone . . . but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment.”
Sacramento Bee
“A hellbent death-row inmate escapes and comes gunning for Cajun police detective-troubleshooter Dave Robicheaux, his family and friends. This is the 20th Robicheaux tale by a celebrated master of the thriller genre.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Over the years, James Lee Burke’s voice has grown more messianic, his books more biblical. He’s in full fire-and-brimstone mode in Light of the World. . . . [The] monstrous villain [makes] life a living hell for an expanded cast of the quaintly insane characters who are Burke’s specialty. For that alone, let’s give the devil his due.”
Tampa Bay Times
“You can call Burke a crime fiction writer, but I call him a national treasure — he's not just a master of propulsive plots, rich prose and achingly real characters, he's a writer who looks unflinchingly at violence in American culture, at every level from the personal to the corporate. . . . Despite such moments of despair, Dave Robicheaux is an enduring hero, and Burke takes Light of the World pedal-to-the-metal to a hair-raising standoff and a satisfying end.”
Associated Press Staff
"Burke’s boldest and most complex novel to date, at once a superb crime story and a literary masterpiece from an author who has been named a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master."
Washington Post Book World
“James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux, the haunted, all-too-human homicide detective from the Louisiana bayou country, first appeared more than 25 years ago in The Neon Rain. It was apparent, even then, that Burke had given us an extraordinary character, one whose depth, complexity and evocative narrative voice was worth returning to again and again. That has turned out to be the case. Light of the World is the 20th installment in this increasingly ambitious series, and it reaffirms Robicheaux’s status as one of the most successfully sustained creations in contemporary crime fiction.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“James Lee Burke is truly an American treasure, right up there with the Liberty Bell, the Constitution, and apple pie. To say he is a mystery writer is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a pond.”
Globe and Mail (Canada) - Margaret Cannon
“I long ago exhausted my skimpy store of superlatives on James Lee Burke’s exquisite prose and moving plots. . . . Once again, Burke takes us to the best and worst of worlds.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Evocative, lyrical, and haunting . . . [Robicheaux] is a complex, thoughtful, damaged and violent man, unlike any protagonist in modern mystery fiction. . . . Mr. Burke’s books are beyond traditional procedural mysteries. You won't find better writing in, or arguably out of, the genre. While uncommon in almost every way, his characters are knowable and very real.”
The Providence Journal-Bulletin
“This magnificent new novel seems the capstone of a formidable career, an awesome world bristling with references to Elizabethan and Greek tragedy, Roman emperors, the stench of the devil, and the Manichean vision of medieval chronicles.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Jay Strafford
“[Light of the World] is vintage Burke: a killer plot, flawed but decent heroes, loathsome villains, a keen sense of history and philosophy and prose that leaves the reader in awe. . . . At once lovely and lethal, Light of the World shimmers with Burke’s ability to depict the best and the worst of the human family, and to do so with a steady eye and a generous heart.”
ShelfAwareness.com
“Fans will be thrilled to find Robicheaux and Clete Purcel joined by their respective adult daughters in a hard-hitting, intense battle between good and evil. . . . As the story unfolds, a rodeo cowboy who speaks in tongues, a serial killer who should be dead, ex-cons, rapists, bear traps and evil that dwells in caves in the hills all come together in perhaps the greatest showdown of Burke's career.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Dave Robicheaux [is] a man of action, with the eye of a painter and the tongue of a poet.”
The Houston Chronicle
“Robicheaux [is] arguably the most original and interesting character in contemporary crime fiction.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Burke remains a clear-eyed realist when it comes to violence and the haunted conscience, but his descriptions of the natural world are just as powerful.”
The Sacramento Bee
"Terror is unleashed when an escaped serial killer comes looking for revenge . . . Though Burke's tales involve some of the most vile characters and violent situations in popular fiction, his body of work has transcended genre to become what many critics and academicians regard as literature."
The Louisville Courier-Journal
“James Lee Burke’s 20th Robicheaux novel is arguably the best of his prolific career . . . Burke is at the pinnacle of his literary gifts.”
Booklist
“Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading ‘Good and Evil’ to Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. . . . Occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form—depravity beyond sociology—giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone . . . but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment.”
Booklist

“Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading ‘Good and Evil’ to Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. . . . Occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form—depravity beyond sociology—giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone . . . but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment.”
Kirkus Reviews
Dave Robicheaux's latest Montana vacation is beset by demons old and new. It's a long way from New Iberia, La., to Big Sky country, but some things never change, like the constant threat of violence from unknown quarters. Or not so unknown, since Dave's adopted daughter, Alafair, is sure that psycho rodeo cowboy Wyatt Dixon (In the Moon of Red Ponies, 2004, etc.) is the man who shot an arrow at her head. But Dave's not so sure: A growing pile of evidence suggests that the archer was Asa Surrette, the mass murderer Alafair interviewed years ago in a Kansas prison for a true-crime book she gave up writing in horrified disgust. Surrette, reported dead in a flaming car crash, gives every indication of being alive, active and as malevolent as ever. That spells major trouble for Dave, who's staying with novelist/teacher Albert Hollister; his old buddy Clete Purcel, who's falling for Felicity Louviere, the unhappy wife of Caspian Younger, whose fabulously wealthy daddy, Love, has a summer place nearby; Gretchen Horowitz, the contract killer last seen executing her gangster father in Creole Belle (2012); and of course Alafair, the ultimate target of Surrette's sadistic wrath. Series regulars will find no immunity from physical or spiritual maiming at the hands of Missoula County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Pepper, his replacement, Jack Boyd, or younger hireling Kyle Schumacher. Instead of simply absorbing threats and punishment, however, the good guys dish them out with a single-minded intensity that comes back to haunt them during the many reflective moments when they wonder what really separates them from the bad guys after all. Pruning away the florid subplots that often clutter his heaven-storming blood baths, Burke produces his most sharply focused, and perhaps his most harrowing, study of human evil, refracted through the conventions of the crime novel.
From the Publisher
“Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading ‘Good and Evil’ to Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. . . . Occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form—depravity beyond sociology—giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone . . . but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476710761
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/23/2013
  • Series: Dave Robicheaux Series , #20
  • Pages: 539
  • Sales rank: 40,386
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of more than thirty previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as Light of the World, Creole Belle, Swan Peak, The Tin Roof Blowdown, and Feast Day of Fools. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

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    1. Hometown:
      New Iberia, Louisiana and Missoula, Montana
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 5, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Houston, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Missouri, 1959; M.A., University of Missouri, 1960
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Disappointed

    It appears that Burke has opted for quantity over quality. When I saw the length of this book, I was enthused about a good long read. Instead I got a lot of social/political/economic commentary filler, with a limited amount of the old Burke magical adventure. Too many characters interwoven, but with little resolution. Maybe he's just setting up the next story. Unfortunately, I won't be reading it. I'd rathet go back and re-read Sunset Limited.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    I have been a big fan of Burke for several years and have most o

    I have been a big fan of Burke for several years and have most of his books. When I read his work it seems like he is writing with a paint brush. His vivid writing and ability to tell a story is at the top of the heap. Having said that, I'm really getting tired of his personal politics taking over the narrative. There's nothing wrong with Burke writing about causes which he champions, but he should do it in a non-fiction format. It's muddling up his crime fiction and distracts from the story. I stopped reading John Grisham when he couldn't stay off his soap box.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Paste and Copy Book

    Boring, waste of money, bad little girles don't grow up. Blender wipped word process files from last ninetern books. Mr. Burke must need money.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Having been a huge fan of Mr. Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, I

    Having been a huge fan of Mr. Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, I really started to wonder about 1/4 of the way through this one but, I kept on reading up until Chapter 23. Here, the writing goes off the rails here and I really thought the chapter would end with the Alafair character getting up from her computer and this was a piece of her writing that Burke had inserted for a purpose I couldn't devine. That's the only thing I could think of given the total change in writing style. Either that or another author was called in to rescue a sinking story line. At this point, I started skipping pages by the handful and went through the last 250 pages in about 10 minutes hoping that I was wrong. Terrible book. Too many characters. No gravitas. Bond between Dave and Clete gone. The two daughters totally in some other universe and the bad guys just characters that should have never made it through the second draft. Having said that, I still think that his earlier books rise to great fiction and I thank him for many hours of enjoyable reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Good but very dark

    Burke is a brilliant author, creating incredible pictures with his words and offering wise insights into human nature. On the other hand, his characters and stories are angry, violent and, all too often, depressing. Those traits seem to gotten more prevasive as he's gotten older. I've read all his books but I'm not at all sure I'll buy another. This book left me feeling sad for him, disappointed in the effect the story had, and wondering if I hadn't wasted my money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    A fair read.

    Wordy...reuse of much of Burke's favorite phraseology.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Great read

    Must read for Burke fans.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Great series

    If you are a Dave Robicheaux fan you will love this newest in the series. James Lee Burke never fails to keep his fans coming back for more Dave!
    I am a loyal fan and can never get enough! Great job James Lee Burke!

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  • Posted February 9, 2014

    Another Robicheaux thriller

    Once again Mr. Burke has written a tale with twists and turns. While the reader knows Dave and Clete will get through it, you have to read to find out how. The characters are my age (and fellow Nam vets) so I hope they carry on for quite some time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2014

    Sadly, Burke continues to slip, both in quality of story line, a

    Sadly, Burke continues to slip, both in quality of story line, and emphasis on his left wing soap box. In this book, we learn right off the bat that the military people lost in combat didn't die for their country, and that the police don't serve and protect. That's all right wing mythology.

    ANother limousine liberal looking for absolution. No thanks.

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  • Posted January 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Some vacation. Dave Robicheaux, his wife, Molly, daughter, Ala


    Some vacation. Dave Robicheaux, his wife, Molly, daughter, Alafair, and his buddy Clete Purcell and his daughter, Gretchen Horowitz, visit a friend’s ranch in Montana for some rest, relaxation and fishing. Instead, they get a lot more than they bargained for: a serial killer who is supposed to be dead seems to appear several times, beginning with an arrow that narrowly misses Alafair’s ear.

    Many years before, Alafair interviewed Asa Surette while he was in jail serving a life sentence for multiple murders. And she believes he is still alive, instead of having died in a crash with a gasoline tanker while being transported in a prison van in Kansas, and that he has come to Montana to take revenge on her for writing some inflammatory magazine articles attempting to incite a death penalty for him. His presence surfaces with a series of murders and other evil deeds. Law enforcement officials do not believe Surrette exists since he is officially dead.

    So it is up to the Bobsey Twins, Dave and Clete, to address the issue. But more important, it allows the author to investigate and consider wickedness personified. And he does so, in spades. Not only by dissecting Surette, but looking deeply into a wealthy, but dysfunctional family that seems to be tied in with the murderer, and generally analyzing evil in the world at large, complete with biblical and historical references. The novel is so well written that ordinarily it would garner a rating of 5 stars. But its length and complexity may put off some readers. Nevertheless, it is heartily recommended.

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    Recommended

    I love all James Lee Burke books.I do like the ones that take place in Louisiana more than the location of this one.

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  • Posted November 23, 2013

    A Great Read

    James Lee Burke is one of the best in the business. None of his novels, and I've read many, has ever disappointed me. LIGHT OF THE WORLD is no different. It's a great read. The only thing different is that it's a Dave Robicheaux drama set in western Montana instead of southern Louisiana. The characters are perhaps a bit more introspective than in previous novels, but that doesn't detract at all from the relentless forward momentum of the tale. All of the usual tension, suspense and violence of a Burke novel is there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Typical James Lee Burke! I couldn't put it down and now I can't wait for the next one! Read it!

    Turn the first page and you're drawn into another tale of good against evil. James Lee Burke writes with words that reveal the inner soul of his story. He captures you with their beauty and surprising power to entrap the reader into another Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell mystery. The author fleshes out all of his characters in a short time. His descriptions of people and places are like photographs that we keep as treasures in a special place to view over and over again.
    I am biased in that James Lee Burke is my favorite author. He can do no wrong in my eyes. His novels are the Christmas present beneath the tree, the oasis in the desert, the favorite dessert to millions of readers.
    If this is the first James Lee Burke novel you've read, I guarantee it won't be the last.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    I have always enjoyed Burke's books; and this one has a good sto

    I have always enjoyed Burke's books; and this one has a good story but almost totally buried in so much description of Montana mountains, forests, rivers and meadows I found myself skipping whole pages, even a number of pages at a time. And his philosophical ramblings bored the hell out of me. I found myself shouting; "Get ON with it!" Because of all that padding, only 3 stars.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    If I could give this book ten stars, I would. James Lee Burke ha

    If I could give this book ten stars, I would. James Lee Burke has done it again. He has given us a work of literary art that kept me up at night until I finished it. His characters are flawed, perhaps more than most, but you have to root for them as they face down some of the darkest evil I've ever seen depicted in a novel. Burke introduced Gretchen, Clete's daughter, in his previous novel and develops her more in this one. She and Alafair, Dave's adopted daughter, seem poised to take up the slack for Dave and Clete as they face the ravages of age and numerous confrontations with the darker angels of human nature. Will the torch eventually be passed to this new generation? Only Mr. Burke knows for sure, but I hope this is the beginning of many, many stories to come featuring this fascinating group of characters.
    While the Dave Robicheaux series should ideally be read in sequence, "Light of the World" reads well as a stand-alone. There are references to earlier events and characters but not having read the earlier works does not detract from the enjoyment of this one. Buy it. Read it. Become a Burkeophile. You will not regret it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Grabs you at the beginning and you can't let go!

    James Lee Burke has written a great book. Once you start you can't let go. Characters are all consuming and you never know what they will do next. Always happy to see a new Dave Robicheaux available. Of course now I can't wait till the next one is ready.

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Another bestseller!

    As with all of Burke's books, it was a great read. It's hard to choose another book after finishing....he's a tough act to follow.

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Highly Recommended....but violent

    Dave and Clete seem to get some violent weirdo bothering them all the time. But I like James Lee Burkes books anyway. He includes lots of other info about the problems of the world.

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    I am a fan of James Lee Burke and his protagonists Dave and Clete. Loved this book as I have all those before it. Content raw and sometimes violent but that's what I love about it.
    Keep them comimg!!

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