The Neon Rain – Dave Robicheaux #1

#22 in our A to Z Mystery Tour

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Neon Rain book cover

James Lee Burke (1987)

This book, which is shelved in the Mystery section in my library, would be more precisely categorized as a detective novel, I think. This isn’t my sub-genre of choice; honestly, I grabbed it as part of the A to Z Mystery Tour because time was short and this was one of the thinner books on the shelf, but I ended up listening to the audio version on Scribd.

This is the first of the Dave Robicheaux novels, in which Lieutenant Robicheaux (New Orleans PD) a Vietnam veteran and recovering alcoholic, takes matters into his own hands while dealing with murder, gun running, and corruption.

Because this is not my genre of choice, I don’t have a lot to say about the qualities of the story. Both the outdated depiction of women in the book and the fact that the main character served in Vietnam clued me in that it’s been a few years since publication -35 years, in fact – and while I would have appreciated just one female character who wasn’t a saint, a shrinking violet or a victim, the book is 35 years old and a product of its time. I’d consider it a three star read except for two things: Burke’s lyrical descriptons of the natural beauty of Louisiana, and narrator Will Patton’s excellent narration. These two high points compel me to add a star. I recommend the audio version. I might, one day, consider listening to more of the series, if only to see if women are portrayed more realistically in later years.

Two books in the Dave Robicheaux series have been made into movies.

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