Sunday, September 6, 2009

Review: The Tin Roof Blowdown



Sometimes fiction can make real what the news or government reports, no matter how immediate or thorough, cannot. In The Tin Roof Blowdown, the 16th novel in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series, Burke describes the devastation and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina with a gut-wrenching emotional intensity that no amount of news footage could ever achieve.

While the hurricane rages and floodwaters rise, Robicheaux and his sidekick, Clete Purcell, track down the usual assortment of psychopathic deviants and lost souls, including several rapists, Mafioso hooligans, a junky priest, and mercenary black marketeers.  The details of the plot get a little shaggy, but as a historical record and ode to a New Orleans that is gone forever, this one deserves its fourth star.  

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7 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I keep hearing great things about James Lee Burke's work, and have one of his books in my TBR pile. I need to get with it!

Caitlin said...

I loved this book. I love James Lee Burke, anyway, but this one has a special place in my heart because of the subject matter. My parents live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast & I have family in New Orleans, as well, all of whom were directly impacted by Katrina. We were at my parents' the first Christmas after & saw first-hand the devastation - at that point, 4 months after the hurricane, Mississippi Gulf Coast residents were just getting FEMA trailers. It was a sad & horrible thing & Burke writes beautifully about it.

Rose City Reader said...

Bermuda -- Yes! You have to give JLB a try. He is an incredible author.

Caitlin -- thank you for sharing your personal experience. This book was probably pretty wrenching for you after seeing some of it for yourself and having family there.

Bob Sanchez said...

It's been a couple of years since I've read JLB, because I needed a rest from all Robicheaux's violence and self-destructive alcoholism. But by God, Burke is a good writer. I will pick up Tin Roof Blowdown.

Thanks for the tip.

Bob Sanchez
http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com

Rose City Reader said...

Bob -- I definitely go through JLB phases. I read a couple and think they are the greatest thing ever, then I hit a wall. I get tired of the creepiness of the criminals and the dry drunk preachiness of Robicheaux. When that happens, I take a break -- sometimes for a couple of years. But I always come back.

profacero said...

RCR and Bob - well, yes. It's formula fiction and Robichaux preaches in formulas. But at the same time: JLB really does get Louisiana and it really is that low-down and/but has that much culture (or something). I get tired of him but then read him again and it is a relief -- someone else knows --.

Rose City Reader said...

profacero: We agree! No one can make an outsider like me understand Louisiana like JLB. ANd he really cvan spin a yarn. That's why I always go back and will eventually read every one of his LA books, and probably the rest of the Texas and Montana ones as well.

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