A Private Cathedral: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

Version: Unabridged
Author: James Lee Burke
Narrator: Will Patton
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: August 2020
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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After finding himself caught up in one of Louisiana’s oldest and bloodiest family rivalries, Detective Dave Robicheaux must battle the most terrifying adversary he has ever encountered: a time-traveling superhuman assassin.

The Shondell and Balangie families are longtime enemies in the New Iberia criminal underworld and show each other no mercy. Yet their youngest heirs, Johnny Shondell and Isolde Balangie, rock and roll-musician teenagers with magical voices, have fallen in love and run away after Isolde was given as a sex slave to Johnny’s uncle.

As he seeks to uncover why, Detective Dave Robicheaux gets too close to both Isolde’s mother and the mistress of her father, a venomous New Orleans mafioso whose jealousy has no bounds. In retribution, he hires a mysterious assassin to go after Robicheaux and his longtime partner, Clete Purcel. This hitman is unlike any the “Bobbsey Twins from Homicide” have ever faced. He has the ability to induce horrifying hallucinations and travels on a menacing ghost ship that materializes without warning. In order to defeat him and rescue Johnny and Isolde, Robicheaux will have to overcome the demons that have tormented him throughout his adult life—alcoholism, specters from combat in Vietnam, and painful memories of women to whom he opened his heart only to see killed.

A Private Cathedral, James Lee Burke’s fortieth book, is his most powerful tale, one that will captivate readers—mixing crime, romance, mythology, horror, and science fiction to produce a thrilling story about the all-consuming, all-conquering power of love.

Reviews (4)


Written by Robert P. on September 14th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The most ambitious James Lee Burke novel to date. Dave Robicheaux has always been a complex, complicated character, a damaged soul and a knight errant, capable of great goodness and great sadness. This book deftly explores both Dave Robicheaux's and Clete Purcell's history, yielding insight into their psychology. And this book explores themes not found in previous Dave Rochicheaux adventures. A very satisfying book complimented by Will Patton's excellent (as always!) narration.


Written by Anonymous on August 27th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I love James Lee Burke's writing - I want to see him the Nobel lit prize before he leaves us!

Written by Terryl D. on August 22nd, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I LOVE James Lee Burke!! Been listening to these for sooo long! Will Patton is Dave Robich( forgot how to spell it! Lol)!!!

Written by Anonymous on August 21st, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Burke delivered greatness as anticipated. He explored the supernatural deeper than ever before; eloquently done. Loved the descriptive writing and immensely enjoyed the plot. Well done!

Author Details

Author Details

Burke, James Lee

James Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

He and his wife Pearl met in graduate school and have been married 48 years, they have four children: Jim Jr., an assistant U.S. Attorney; Andree, a school psychologist; Pamala, a T. V. ad producer; and Alafair, a law professor and novelist who has 4 novels out with Henry Holt publishing.

Burke's work has been awarded an Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant. Two of his novels, Heaven's Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures. His short stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, Antioch Review, Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Today he and his wife live in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana.