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Publisher's Summary

In In the Moon of Red Ponies, Billy Bob Holland discovers that jail cells have revolving doors and the bad guys are back and aching for revenge.

Johnny American Horse is a young activist for land preservation and the rights of Native Americans. He is charged with the murder of two mysterious men, who recently tried to kill Johnny, or at least scare him off his political causes. Billy Bob discovers a web of intrigue surrounding the case and its players: Johnny's girlfriend, Amber Finley, seems as reckless as she is defiant; Darrel McComb, a Missoula police detective who is obsessed with Amber; and Seth Masterson, an enigmatic government agent, who makes Billy Bob wonder why Washington is so concerned with an obscure murder case on the fringes of the Bitterroot Mountains.

As the dead bodies multiply, Billy Bob is drawn closer to the truth behind Johnny American Horse's arrest, and discovers a greater danger to himself and to his whole family.

©2004 James Lee Burke; (P)2004 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division

Critic Reviews

"Top-notch." (Publishers Weekly)
"James Lee Burke writes exceptionally clean, unforced prose that has a pronounced streak of poetry in it." (The New York Times)
"Burke's writing is masterful." (The Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Billy Bob Moves to Montana

James Lee Burke gets better with age. While I still prefer the trashy underworld and Cajun swamps of Dave Robicheaux, the move to Montana for Billy Bob Holland suits him. Burke brings the Big Sky Country alive with his lyrical prose. Of course it's predictable, but in a comfortable way, like an old shoe. The narrator does an above average job.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Huntington Beach, CA, USA
  • 07-30-04

Characteristic JLB

Native mysticism, fundamentalist Christianity, chilling violence, natural beauty, human corruption and redemption, flawed heroes, veiled conspiracies, right-wing oppressors and liberal underdogs... all classic James Lee Burke, and present in force. These themes persist through most of his work. I personally could do without the Michael Moore anti-right conspiracy stuff (wicked, shadowy right wing forces are--fill in the blank, depending on the time of day--killing innocent natives, polluting rivers, starting wars on phony premises, etc.), but I love Burke's stuff nonetheless. I just shrug and enjoy the colorful characters, the righteous crusades, and the overarching human themes. Nobody like Burke, and I read everything of his that I can get my hands on.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Haunted Characters

Once over the initial shock of not hearing Will Patton, I did enjoy this book. Most of Burke's main characters are haunted by something and Billy Bob is no exception, LQ shows up regularly for short visits and encouragement to keep Billy Bob from being wishy-washy. The bad guys are reminiscent of real characters and you wonder if this is modeled on Halliburton. All together a good read!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charlene
  • Spring Valley, MN, USA
  • 08-10-07

Where oh where is Will Patton?

Great book, but Will Patton IS the voice of James Lee Burke's characters, and it was disappointing not to hear him.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


James Lee Burke has done it again.... a terrific book!

This book, like many of his books, wrap up in the epilogue all to quickly as opposed to the first person, which I don't particularly like. Otherwise, I would have given it a 5-star rating.

Nonetheless, this audiobook is a can't miss.

The reader is good, but not of Will Patton calibur. Too many of his voices sound like a cross between Forrest Gump and Slingblade.

The story doesn't even unfold until about 1/2 way through the book, so stay tuned, the final acts are riveting!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Food for thought

In addition to being an engaging story, I appreciated the fact that it contains a thought-provoking theme. Without revealing too much of the plot, the theme revolves around the idea that people whom you may associate with a particular stereotype (e.g. psycopathic criminal or redneck bully cop) may surprise you with hidden depths. Not a bad idea at all.

My only niggle is with some of the character voices. The wife and the son of the main character particularly bothered me. The former was supposed to have a Texas accent, but it sounded more like Arkansas to me. The latter had a dopey "Far out, Dude" kind of voice that I don't think was congruent with his character.

But these are niggles. I enjoyed the book, and recommend it to others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Great Read

This book kept my attention and anticipation from first paragraph til the end. Each character was intriguing on his own, and the plot kept me wanting to know the next step. The narrator was fantastic and gave each character a very definitive personality. In the Moon of Red Ponies will give you a great ride - I recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Great suspense - the characters are all flawed - even the good guys! But, what a ride! The story was told with such believability that many times I was shaking my head. Great book for a long trip.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

almost good

The writing is pretentious. You get the feeling he made up his figures of speech, and then tried to fit them all in the story. Descriptive passages that would have been good if limited, just go on forever.
The worst, though is that the hero, Billy Bob, is outwitted by everybody. I like my heroes smarter than the competition.
When you have finished the book, and think about it. Billy Bob did Nothing to advance the resolution of the story except (believe it or not) at least two reprehensible actions. And here's a survival tip(not to give too much away): Don't shoot at people you don't want to hit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good Will Hunting. . .

I have not yet been disappointed by the writing of James Lee Burke and this novel is no exception. I agree that the narrator is "above average", as another reviewer has described, however, contrary to the narration listing, it is not Will Patton. If you are a Will Patton fan you might be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful