Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Dave Robicheaux Special

I've been a fan of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels since 1989 when I stumbled onto Black Cherry Blues in one of those old Crown Books bookstores (Crown was one of the earliest book discounters but would eventually give way to Barnes & Noble and Borders). I was so taken with the character and story that I immediately went in search of hardcover first editions of the first two books in the series. I remember paying about $30 for each of those and how $60 seemed like a whole lot of money to be spending for two books - and it probably was a lot of money 20 years ago. But the books turned out to be a great investment because, last time I checked, I think that each of them were going for several hundred dollars.

I've continued to purchase each new Dave Robicheaux novel as soon as it hits the bookstore shelves but, as alert Dave Robicheaux fans will notice, I seem to be one book short of having a complete set of the books. Someone-who-will-remain-nameless talked me into loaning him a copy over a long, cold weekend with the promise that the book would be returned to me in the same condition, smoke-free, early the following week. Never happened because it seems that Mr. Nameless decided to read the book while soaking in a warm tub, fell asleep, and awoke only to find the book floating face down in the bathwater like one of the bad guys in a Dave Robicheaux novel. I keep forgetting to find myself a pristine replacement copy of the missing volume - and Mr. Nameless has long since disappeared from my list of friends. Live and learn is what I took from that experience.

Sitting atop the books is a baseball cap I purchased at Houston's "Murder by the Book" a bunch of years ago. It is still in great shape despite the fact that I wear it regularly on weekends and during the summer. In the dozens and dozens of times I've worn the cap, not once has anyone caught on to the fact that the bait shop logo refers to a bait shop existing only in the mind of James Lee Burke and his thousands of fans. I keep hoping that I will one day run into someone who gets the joke - but I'm not holding my breath anymore. Hmmm, maybe it will happen if I wear the cap to this year's Texas book festival (end of October). I need to write myself a note...


  1. Which book are you missing? You never know what will pop up at the monthly library book sale.

  2. It's the one called "Cadillac Jukebox," C.B. I'm kind of a completist and I'm hoping to find a nice first edition hardback to match the others I have. Thanks for offering to help out in the search, though...much appreciated.

  3. I read either Heaven's Prisoners or Black Cherry Blues first, I can't remember which. I really enjoy this series - I just reviewed The Tin Roof Blowdown, which I enjoyed even if the reviewers didn't! I hear the latest one is very good......I'm missing a few in the middle, like Cadillac Jukebox, which I'm planning on catching up on this year and next. There is something about Dave and his outlook on the world that I really respond too. He never gives up, even when he wants to, and he has a morality that lights up the bayou, doesn't he? I always end up feeling like I've just been down there, when I read one of his books. So I really enjoyed your post, and am delighted to meet another James Lee Burke fan!

    though I have to admit I wouldn't have got the hat joke either, not unless I was reading one of his books and looking at your hat at the same time!!

  4. Susan, I keep thinking that I'm going to re-read the whole series sometime - and it might still happen. When I stack them all up in one place like I did for this picture, it is a bit daunting, though.

    Don't feel bad about the cap thing - you are in good company. :-)

  5. I've only read one, which is embarassing considering I love crime thrillers.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the one I did read - Jolie Blon's Bounce