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Dave Robicheaux Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dave Robicheaux Books

The Neon Rain (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heaven's Prisoners (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Cherry Blues (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Morning for Flamingos (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Stained White Radiance (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dixie City Jam (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Burning Angel (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cadillac Jukebox (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sunset Limited (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Purple Cane Road (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jolie Blon's Bounce (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Car to Elysian Fields (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crusader's Cross (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pegasus Descending (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tin Roof Blowdown (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swan Peak (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Glass Rainbow (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Creole Belle (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Light of the World (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robicheaux (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Iberia Blues (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Private Cathedral (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clete (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

An American institution almost in his own right, the author James Lee Burke is a highly influential novelist of much celebrated crime fiction. Creating lasting and iconic characters with an enduring appeal, he has built a worldwide audience due to his highly unique brand of Americana. Understanding the genre perfectly he knows how to really get inside the minds of his characters and see what makes them tick. One such character is that of Dave Robicheaux, a leading protagonist with his own series of crime novels under the same name. Working as a sheriff’s deputy, he’s a strong and sturdy leading man, with his world-weary demeanor and perspective on life. Previously working for the New Orleans Police Department, he soon found himself being transferred to New Iberia in Louisiana, largely due to him constantly flouting numerous ethical codes.

With the series running for over twenty novels so far, from between the years of 1987 and 2015, it’s easy to see why it’s one of his most popular to date. Also being featured in the films ‘Heaven’s Prisoners’ and ‘In The Electric Mist’, it starred both Tommy Lee Jones and Alec Baldwin taking up the lead role. Holding such a legacy behind him, Burke really has created not only a strong protagonist, but a franchise that will definitely stand the test of time.

The Neon Rain

Originally published in 1987 this was the first book to introduce Dave Robicheaux for the first time to the general reading public. Setting up not only the character, but the central premise of the series itself as well, it manages to capture the style and the tone perfectly with a clear sense of foreboding. Brought out through the Phoenix publishing label, it works at establishing the key themes and ideas well, allowing the character to really come to the forefront in his first mystery.

Setting up the series this novel has a fair degree of violence, something which becomes commonplace as the franchise progresses. It also provides many of Burke’s key themes and ideas, presenting them for the first time to the reading public at large. Really getting into how his character functions and what their mindset is like, it manages to set the character up to build upon him later. In regards to the character of Dave Robicheaux himself, he’s here introduced for the first time as a man with a past. Shrouded in a history of fighting and violence, he’s a character that has fought numerous battles during the course of his lifetime, and isn’t really ready for many more. It’s still what he knows and understands, as he tries to make peace with his time spent in Vietnam and fighting crime at home. Starting out in the musty streets of New Orleans, it becomes claustrophobic not just figuratively, but literally as well. Giving the novel an almost oppressive atmosphere, the ambiance lingers over the narrative, with danger and evil lurking around every corner. This is something that Robicheaux has come to terms with over the course of his career, as he always attempts to do the right thing and ensure justice is served.

Working within the French Quarter of New Orleans, the Detective Dave Robicheaux has seen too much violence for one lifetime. Previously serving in Vietnam he now chases after criminals and lowlifes through the musty streets of his home city. Everything comes to a head when the body of a prostitute is discovered in the bayou, leading him further into the heart of the criminal underworld. Will he ever overcome the past? Can he find the killer? What will become of him in the neon rain?

Heaven’s Prisoners

Initially brought out in 1988, this was released just one year after the first, as it follows on directly from the previous story. Brought out through the Pocket Books publishing label, this continues in much the same vein as before, in both style and tone. Giving the reader more of what they’ve now come to expect from the author, it also develops the character further, along with his world-view.

Continuing in much the same vein as before, this provides more of the same ideas and themes that Burke is now famous for. Providing another mystery for the eponymous detective, it sees him even more world-weary than ever, still trying to do the right thing. The world only gets darker though for the intrepid detective, as he tries to make sense of it all amidst all the chaos. Finding him still trying to make sense of his past and his demons too, he’s slowly becoming a lot more resigned to it all now. Dealing with another case he getting a lot more belligerent in the face of the leading authorities, sometimes resorting to less than savory methods when getting the job done. Wanting to finish things his own way, he’s not really one for taking orders either, something which is starting to affect those in charge. Where the city of New Orleans previously became a fixture, featuring heavily as the backdrop to much of the action, it is now in the past. Almost a character in its own right, almost being a central to the character of Robicheaux and who he is, he know transfers to the state of Louisiana. It is here that Burke fully utilizes the open expanses of the state perfectly, making the most of the landscape and its sprawling nature.

After turning in his detective badge and giving up alcohol, Dave Robicheaux is heading to Louisiana with his wife. It is here that he comes across the case of a plane crash that occurred over the Gulf, leading a young girl to be brought into his life. This is when he confronts Bobba Rocque, a hood that he’s known his entire life, along with his Cajun wife, as they’re flung into a world of violence once more. Will he be able to uncover the truth behind it all? Can he deal FBI agent that has more bravado than actual sense? What will become of heaven’s prisoners?

The Dave Robicheaux Series

Looking at this series it’s easy to see why the character was transferred to the big-screen, as he is so iconic. The narrative from James Lee Burke is also extremely well paced, allowing everything to unfold in an easily accessible and engaging manner. As the legacy of the character looks set to continue on into the foreseeable future, it looks like his influence isn’t going away anytime soon, with more and more readers discovering these books every day.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dave Robicheaux

3 Responses to “Dave Robicheaux”

  1. Nancy Lee Clark: 2 years ago


  2. Frank lazansky: 3 years ago

    So looking forward to the next Dave Robicheaux book. Hope it’s not to long

    • Vanessa Hooper: 3 years ago

      These are great, aren’t they?


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