Celebrated crime master and two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke returns with a gorgeously crafted, brutally resonant chronicle of violence along the Texas-Mexico border.
Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town, meting out punishment and delivering justice in his small square of this magnificent but lawless land. When an alcoholic ex-boxer named Danny Boy Lorca begs to be locked up after witnessing a man tortured to death by a group of bandits, Hack and his deputy, Pam Tibbs, slowly extract the Indian man’s gruesome tale. It becomes clear that the desert contains a multitude of criminals, including serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins (whom The New York Times called “one of Burke’s most inspired villains”).
Holland’s investigation leads him to Anton Ling, a mysterious Chinese woman whose steely demeanor and aristocratic beauty compel Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds.
James Lee Burke is at his engrossing and atmospheric best in this, his 13th novel, as Hackberry plumbs the depths of man’s inhumanity to man - from killers-for-hire, to the U.S. government, to the misguided souls in search of a better life across the border.
©2011 James Lee Burke (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
“[O]utstanding.... The richness of Burke's characters, always one of his strengths, reaches new heights.... The intricately plotted narrative takes numerous unexpected turns, and Burke handles his trademark themes of social justice and corruption with his usual subtlety.” (Publishers Weekly)
“As Burke steers the elaborately structured narrative toward its violent conclusion, we are afforded looks inside the tortured psyches of his various combatants, finding there the most unlikely of connections between the players. This is one of Burke’s biggest novels, in terms of narrative design, thematic richness, and character interplay, and he rises to the occasion superbly, a stand-up guy at the keyboard, as always... Though he is best known for his Dave Robicheaux series, the broader canvas of this Hackberry Holland adventure makes a fittingly grand stage on which to play out such a landmark event in American publishing.” (Bill Ott, Booklist)
“The dialogue scenes, along with the action sequences, the South Texas landscape and the indelibly conflicted characters make you want to give Burke a medal.” (Kirkus Reviews)
First, let me say the narration is awesome. I really enjoyed the gruff voice and it helped the story line very well. I wish I could say the same for the story and its characters. Even though I finished the book, I really wanted it to end much sooner. Perhaps it was a tad too long and a little too contrived for my taste. It isn’t a bad story and surely not a great page turner. But I can see why this type of novel is popular amongst other listeners. It just wasn’t my type of book.
Retired book buyer/book manager for wholesale distributor in the 5 largest northeast states. Prolific reader who was inundated with ARCs.
This is perhaps James Burke's finest work to date. The listener cannot get visually closer to Burke's descriptions. His lyrical gift flows like a river and his dialogue is as real and clever as they come. The story takes a while to unravel, but the pace is terrific and worth the wait. There are so many well developed characters here that skillfully mixes the bad that men do with the good that we are given people whose individual spectrums run the gamut. It is about the paradoxes within alll of us and the range of colors humans manifest.
That sums it up-color-color in character, color in storyline, color in dialogue and narrative. More different bad guys with different agendas than you can imagine all played out against the western skies. They're after the same guy for very different reasons. Artfully complex but skillfully presented to easily follow.
His accents are perfect for the characters.
The author obviously knows Texas and its people. The story is unique and exciting. Although this book is not the same, if you liked No Country for Old Men, you will like this.
Will Patton turns characters into friends with his wonderful vocal interpretations. James Lee Burke paints pictures with words that let you see, feel, and practically smell a scene. Unfortunately, Burke's characters seem to get more sadistic with each novel. The level of violence and the physical and verbal abuse have risen to levels that detract from the story. Scene after scene deteriorates into obscene language, torture, and/or graphically described suffering. And certain scathing psychological putdowns return repeatedly from novel to novel. I guess there are limited ways to be gross & disgusting. I'm sorry a writer as talented as Mr. Burke has become so sadistic. I don't think I'll listen to another Burke novel any time soon. Too bad, because I like the introspection and complexity of characters, and I love listening to Will Patton. If you like man's inhumanity to man in every third scene, you'll like this book. If beatings, burnings, and cursings make you flinch, stay away.
Yes! Burke's descriptive writing, plot and of course, Patton voice.
Yes. I was caught up waiting to see what each character was going to do next, how the plot would unfold and if Hack would ever give in to Pam.
Hackberry Holland. Will Patton is able to convey Hacks tortured memories of the POW camp, his longing for his deceased wife and his stubborness in letting himself love again.
I think almost everyone will be able to relate to the characters in this book on some level. There are a few laughs and a few places where one might want to cry. I wanted to tell Hack he was fortunate to have two women in his life who really loved him. But, he finally realizes this in the end.
YES! I hope Burke has a fourth book coming in this series. He left the main characters injured in Mexico. Also, Burke and Patton are a great combination.
Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery.
I've never read or listened to a James Lee Burke book I didn't like, so I come in with that prejudice. This hero, like Dave Robicheaux, is battle-scarred,demon-chased and damaged but not dead yet, still alight with desire for love and justice.
As always with Burke, a solid story, excellent villains, descriptions of landscape and characters that rival any fine writer's out there, notes of redemption. Burke's language is, as always elegiac and my only gripe in listening to it vs. reading it is....come'on what bad guys speak with such poetic erudition? It works on the page, and it's part of Burke's flow but in narration it's just too gorgeous for the down and out. But I like hearing it enough that it's okay. Burke always provokes thought, he keeps us entertained.
The narrator is perfectly paired with the material, and the "Feast Day of Fools" metaphor (there's a bit of a lecture by one of the improbably bad guys about metaphors in the book) is wonderfully wrought.
I would listen again to nearly anything read, for me, by Will Patton.
Will Patton gives individual voice to each character in the story, with just the right nuance and emphasis.
Mr. Burke is a master at varying the pace and rhythm of his narrative, so that you rock along enjoying the ambience and then are shocked and compelled when action and sometimes violence occurs.
The voice of the reader is a deal-breaker for any audiobook. Will Patton is the best there I've ever found.
Thrilling, gritty, and sensory
Will Patton's narration
Don't know what a tag line is
I will read more of James Lee Burke, and I will certainly listen to anything and everything narrated by Mr. Patton.
James Lee Burke is a truly great artist. Yet, his work is a riddle to me, although I take great joy from each page of his books. Yes, I have enjoyed all of the books. What I like about each of them is -- first off -- the quality of his writing. His descriptions of a scene, or a person, or an act of violence are clear and flowing and simply make you wonder why nobody else has ever figured how to use the language in exactly the same way.
What causes me to wonder and question the man is simply where does he get the inspiration for those murderous, terribly violent and shockingly original characters about which he writes. Several of his heroes have been officers of the law. Although they are good cops, they are always deeply flawed. They seen to corner the market on violent acts. Once, one of Burke's characters dumped a whole pot of scalding hot gumbo on the head of a criminal suspect. In Feast Day, the lead character -- Hackberry Holland -- hits a bartender across the mouth with the fat end of a pool cue, just to see if he still had his old swing.
The plots of Burke's books are often so violent that you have to sit back and wonder if there are people in the world who can actually perform such acts. One of the villains in Feast Day has a Thompson .45 machine gun. He uses it frequently and with great joy to dismember his victims
The plot of Feast Day is -- as to be expected -- a bit strange. There's an oriental woman who worked for the CIA. She still feels deep guilt about calling down the wrath of modern day weapons on people who wanted nothing more than life on the land of their birth. There's a nasty Russian who plans to capture and sell to Al Qaida a man who can provide the blueprints for the Predator drone.
You get face to face with a lot of original characters. You almost grow used to the violence. But you never, never have a moment to shift your thoughts to anything outside of the pages of Feast Day of Fools.
James Lee Burke has definitely got something going here. This second Hackberry Holland novel matches the previous and then some. Deputy Pam, Preacher Jack Collins and others are fleshed out a bit more and deep. Will Patton, of course, as reader, is a necessity in this series. I cannot think of anyone else doing JLB. Both Rain Gods and Feast Day of Fools are both in audio and hardback in my library. JLB delivers again, as expected. Download both, if you can. You will not be dissapointed.
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