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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“[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)

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  • Edward
  • Weston, FL, United States
  • 11-15-11

Perhaps the most violent work or art ever penned.

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • Winston Salem, NC, United States
  • 10-31-11

Perfect pairing

As many have already written for this book and others, Burke's prose and Patton's reading make a perfect pairing. There is no reader at Audible I like more than Will Patton, in spite of his Russian accent that is even worse than Star Trek's Chekov. I listen to Burke's books multiple times, sometimes oblivious to the plot and just simmering in the imagery and sound.

There is a generous supply of bad guys in this book. At first it seems like too many bad guys, but Burke manages to make them all interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Madeira Beach, FL, United States
  • 10-29-11

Hackberry hits again!

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Compelling story fabulously performed

James Lee Burke is a splendid storyteller whose novels feature complex and unpredictable plots and vivid, morally conflicted characters. He also has a gift for language rarely encountered in genre writing. He surpasses himself in both style and content here. However--and it's a big however--the book was in desperate need of editing and could have been cut by one-third, simply by eliminating some of the weather descriptions, half the metaphors for the look in the bad guys's eyes, and three-quarters of the main character's flashbacks to his war years in Korea. Not that the language and the message weren't powerful, just that he says the same thing too many times.

Nonetheless, Will Patton's truly amazing reading makes any repetition worth listening to. He brings all the characters to life convincingly. I've listened to many recorded books and this was the first time I felt compelled to look up the reader/actor--who I then recognized from films and television. I was dazzled by his talent, which dovetailed perfectly with Burke's narrative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Texas Violence

More violence than necessary to tell the story - the meanest collection of characters in recent Burke novels.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Carson City, NV, United States
  • 10-05-11

Writer could not figure out how to end this book!

What happened to the ending? The story was rolling along until half way through, oops, it stopped. It seemed the author could not think how to end this book. Great reader, though.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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the usual suspects drop by

Jim wrote this one with a cast of people that I would not touch with a ten foot pole, and is all the more reason to stay pretty far from south Texas. The usual suspects are Audie Murphy, Ma Barker and pretty boy Floyd, who strangely inhabit Hackberry's mind as they do Dave Robichaux, Burke's main character, both of these guys are elderly war veterans that spent time marinating in bottles, and that probably says something about the author. The performance by Will Patton could probably be done in his sleep, but is nevertheless quite good and since I read all of Burkes novels, it would seem quite a loss to do without Patton's narration, in fact when I see Patton on TV I start looking around for Clete. How long can Burke continue with his geriatric inebriated Don Quixote's? Well we will see, (or I hope so anyway)?

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • Pembroke Pines, FL, United States
  • 10-05-11

The dynamic duo

What did you love best about Feast Day of Fools?

I just love listening to James Lee Burke's prose. It is poetry to me.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I can't decide which I like better, Hackberry Holland or Robicheaux although I can't help but think Huckleberry every time I hear Hackberrys first name. I think it is Burke's characters that keep you on the edge of your seat. There are always some nut jobs in his books along with some purely evil people. I can't wait to hear what they will do next.

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

Will Patton always teams with James Lee Burke to give steller performances. Patten is a good actor and unlike some other popular readers, he does not chew the scenery or over emote. He could recite McGuffey's reader and I would listen until he finished.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

In a word YES. But I did not just want to, I listened all night long without sleep.

Any additional comments?

I you like film noir books, then get this one. If you like Mysteries and Thrillers, then get this one. If you like Adventure stories, then get this one. If you liked Psycho, the movie, then get this book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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<br />

Burke's usual violence and lyricism contrast, but almost no story. Characters filled with rage and despair, and all so very very tough. I found it to be an ugly book. and I so liked the early James Lee Burke

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  • Robert
  • McKinney,Texas
  • 12-06-17

Weak ending

This is the third book in the series I’ve read and been disappointed in the ending. I feel like the ending is rushed in each one. However, the books are fantastic and the author creates impressive imagery to emphasis the settings.