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"Old age cannot be cured. You can only...utter a swan song." Renee Wingarten

  • Jul 9, 2011

"Swan Peak" shows James Lee Burke's rich character portrayals, detailed descriptions of the natural surroundings of western Montana and demonstrates his ability to tell a suspenseful story.

Dave Robicheaux, wife Molly, and best friend, Clete, are on vacation in Montana after experiencing the devastation of hurricanes Rita and Katrina in New Orleans.

When a pair of double murders occur and the local sheriff seems overwhelmed, they offer their services.

Ridley Wellstone, a wealthy Texan, wants to drill test wells for oil and natural gas on his land by Swan Lake. He lives on his ranch with his brother, Lyle and Lyle's wife, country and western singer, Jamie Sue Wellstone.

When Ridley becomes aware of Dave and Clete, he accuses them of working with a person who has filed an injunction against him and bad feelings begin to simmer.

A parallel story involves Jamie Sue's former boyfriend and father of their child, Jimmy Dale Greenwood. Jimmy Dale is in jail for a minor offense and becomes involved with an intolerable situation with prison guard Troyce Nix. When the situation gets even worse, Jimmy Dale escapes to prison and heads to Montana and Jamie Sue.

As we learn more of the people who were killed and more of what is going on at the Wellstone ranch, we see why Dave Robicheaux is such a popular character. He's humble and not perfect, he's an alcoholic who attends regular meetings. However, he's also a protector of the poor and less fortunate people who are being taken advantage of by wealthy opportunists who believe that they are above the law.

The characters in this novel are interesting and well developed. Troyce Nix is a character who makes such a transformation in this  book that he will be remembered and the story itself is contemporary and shows the author at the top of his skill.

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July 09, 2011
Ordinarily I am not a big fan of novels but this one sounds pretty cool. Nice review!
More Swan Peak: A Dave Robicheaux N... reviews
review by . July 10, 2008
Clete Purcel is most noticeable in his porkpie hat, driving a restored maroon Caddy convertible. In Montana fishing with Dave Robicheaux and his wife Molly, Hurricane Katrina and New Iberia parish far behind but hardly forgotten, Purcel is only in search of good fishing when beset by two men in a pickup who inform him he is trespassing on private property. Returning to Robicheaux's cabin on Albert Hollister's place, Clete reports the incident to Dave, the same men arriving soon after to further …
review by . September 07, 2008
For those of us who write stories and are occasionally published, we are constantly told to never open a fiction piece with either a dream or the weather. The reasoning being, according to agents and writing experts, that such an opening is either clich├ęd or weak and makes the submission worthy of the instant rejection. That and the stigma of having ignored the current expectations of the publishing coasts and by doing so, showing that the writer is oblivious to doing things correctly. Ironic then, …
review by . August 13, 2008
"Swan Peak" is the seventeenth book in James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series and, by now, longtime fans of the series probably know Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell better than they know their own real life first cousins (and might even enjoy their company more). What makes "Swan Peak" different from other Robicheaux novels, though, is that it is the first book in the series to be set entirely someplace other than in south Louisiana, home base for Robicheaux and his sidekick. But even in Montana, …
review by . August 01, 2008
I am a fan of James Lee Burke and look forward to every Dave Robicheaux novel. Mind you, it isn't a bad read - it simply does not compare well with his other work. Not a big deal really since every author occasionally doesn't quite hit the mark.     "Swan Peak" is weighed down with too many nefarious, if not nebulous, characters chasaing too many plots, sub-plots and backstories. In my opinion, the story would have been improved by slimming it down.     Robicheaux …
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Mike Draper ()
Ranked #67
Michael A.Draper is a financial planner with Mass Mutual in North Haven, CT.   Married to Diana for 47 years, one son and daughter-in-law and two lovely granddaughters.      … more
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About this book


Detective Dave Robicheaux is pitted against all types, from an oil tycoon's deformed brother to a sexually indiscreet minister. With these colorful characters running rampant, narrator Will Patton never stumbles in his delivery or interpretations, offering realistic, entertaining characters who are sure to engage listeners right from the start. Patton's voice is perfectly suited for Burke's rough and tumble tale, his gritty Southern dialect sets the tone for this brooding murder mystery.A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, May 19). (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to theAudio CDedition.
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ISBN-10: 1416548521
ISBN-13: 978-1416548522
Author: James Lee Burke
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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