I'm a huge James Lee Burke fan, and his books fall into three categories: good (the early ones), great (many of them), and sublime. This is one of the sublime ones. Multiple interesting but clear interwoven plot lines, characters you really love, villans who are clearly bad guys but who retain some humanity and make us look at our own dark sides, evocative landscapes, and an undercurrent of spot-on social commentary. And of course, read by Will Patton, who is the perfect match for JLB in every way. The elegaic, end-of-life perspective reminds us that JLB is getting on in years - hope he has at least another couple of decades of these powerful novels left in him.
Burke writes the same book over and over with the same characters, the same kind of dialogue, and the same stock evil-doers (oppressive and moneyed big business/politician types), with only the names changed. His protagonists are identical, poor tortured recovered-alcoholic war veterans who amusingly won't tolerate profanity, whether they live in Montana, Texas or Louisiana. His political diatribes have the depth and sophistication of an 18 year old Occupy Wall Sreeter. The fact remains, however, that he is such a superb writer that he keeps making this material entertaining in novel after novel. His plots are riveting, if slightly predictable by now, and no writer in any genre is more beautifully descriptive and evocative of his settings (although must every signal event happen under lightning clouds, regardless of the location or season in which they occur?). As long as he keeps churning them out I'll keep reading (or listening to) them, because he is such a gifted writer. This book is his best in a long time because he emphasizes the story and limits his tiresome anti-Bush rants of the past several years. Will Patton whispers his way through this one in the same hushed, portentous monotone he has used for every Burke book. There are no surprises here but if you enjoyed other Burke books read by Patton, you'll love this one.
All of them
I'd listen to Will Patton read the phone book
Yes yes yes
Love James Lee Burke in any form, but now only listen to the books because Will Patton is the narrator.
The plot and the characters and, as always, Burke's use of the language - his wordsmithery is incredible and an absolute pleasure to behold either visually or auditorily.
Bitterroot - multiplicity of schemings and plottings happening at the same time, overlapping and intertwining.
Yup, comparable and excellent, as usual.
Classic James Lee Burke - I think I said that.
Excellent - right up there with the many others I've read/heard.
Switch from Dave R. to a Texas sheriff allows new vistas into a few of Burkes recurring themes. It is a fabric glorified after WWII, ignored by polite society after Korea, renounced in and after Viet Nam and then given a kindly but superficial embrace in our Mid-East escapades - those who make war and those who know war. The terrifying vista of the military-industrial complex Burke portrays is only overshadowed by the reality that DDE warned us about.
Will Patton's performance is masterful, and the way that he transformed his voice in to so many characters was truly awe inspiring.
That being said the story was just too slow. I have enjoyed several previous books from James Lee Burke, but this just felt like it dragged on. I just couldn't get into it and it was tough to get through this one.
Let me start by saying I am a fan. However, this story is so unbelievable that it is tough to take seriously. There are literally three sets of well organized killing teams (russians, mexicans, and religious freaks, as well as the FBI of course) stuck in a small town trying to kill each other at various points to get at one guy who has plans for a predator drone. At various times these "gangs" try to help the police to catch each other kill. It is simply overkill and not remotely believable. Also, while i like the way Burke writes, half of the conversations between the characters end by statement like "don't make fun of me or else type lines". The characters are also overly analitical no matter how dumb they are supposed to be. Burke definitely has better books.
James Lee Burke's writing is rich and flavorful and so full of expression you can smell the desert air!
Will Patton???s interpretation of the book is excellent.
I love James Lee Burke. This was a great Texas/Mexico adventure. Hack was again stellar with some great new characters that made this story rich and interesting. Will Patton is the best storyteller in the business. If you love Burke, you will love this one.