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Ok, so I'm going to try this year to generate discussion about some books in this section. Since last year, I've been trying to read more new books--keep abreast, as it were, of whatever's going on out there. And that year, as with this, I started out with a Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke. Now, I know that other people on this board dig Burke--MLeary, for one, if I recall--so it seems sensible to have a thread on him. For myself, I've now read three Burke novels: Crusader's Cross (2005), Robicheaux (2018), and now The New Iberia Blues (2019). I've got handfuls of the other novels both with me here and back home in Alabama and I plan--eventually--on getting around to reading them. I'm going to go ahead and drop my reading journal entry (lightly edited) on The New Iberia Blues below: I’m not sure how I feel about this. Crusader’s Cross, which I read years ago, was really good (as I recalled); Robicheaux was a weird experience that I don’t remember much of, in part because I read it on a thirteen hour flight from China to the U.S. So this one—hmm. Ok, so there’s some stuff I really didn’t care for: 1. Old men getting it on with young women, with their [the young women's] enthusiastic cajoling, is—I guess not unheard of, but it feels a lot like an older man’s fantasy (lots about these last two novels feel that way, including the fact that these sixty-or-seventy-year-old-men apparently have arms like cantaloupes and can take beatings that would kill men even a third their age. But, ok, that’s a generic thing). 2. Characters who aren’t Dave or Clete (or Smiley, the halfpint assassin, I guess) are pretty opaque and inconsistent in the way they act. Everyone seems to be picking fights with Dave, including his adopted daughter. After all this time one would think she would know better. 3. There’s a definite tinge of old-man-yells-at-cloud to all Dave’s talk about Hollywood and the New America, etc etc etc Things I liked: 1. I don’t think I appreciated it enough before, but Burke’s crime fiction really does hit that same spot that Hannibal, for instance, does in its interposing of quasi-supernatural events onto a crime narrative. It was stronger here than I remembered in the previous novel. 2. The epilogue was really good. There’s a sense of trying to find some kind of happiness or solidarity in a world that is (in the case of the Louisiana coast, literally) falling apart, which seems very of-its-time. 3. Burke writes beautifully, of course. So--thoughts, anyone? Any Burke aficionados? Has anyone else read the new book?
Thread Links: Infamous Capote Thread titled "Alexander vs Capote vs Murrow vs Cash" Thread on true-life novels, where In Cold Blood is mentioned Deadline:‘In Cold Blood’ Getting TV Event Series Treatment In Weinstein Co Deal. Given the popularity--or, at least, success--of True Detective, as well as that of podcasts like Serial, this move makes sense. And In Cold Blood--which I listened to on my drive from Indianapolis a few weeks back--does seem to lend itself to this sort of event television. FWIW, this will be the third adaptation of In Cold Blood and the second for television. The first, from 1996, featured Eric Roberts as Perry Smith; Robert Blake played Smith in the 1967 movie.