James Lee Burke
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About James Lee Burke
James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He’s authored thirty-seven novels and two short story collections. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
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Titles By James Lee Burke
Novelist Aaron Holland Broussard is shattered when his daughter Fannie Mae dies suddenly. As he tries to honor her memory by saving two young men from a life of crime amid their opioid-ravaged community, he is drawn into a network of villainy that includes a violent former Klansman, a far-from-holy minister, a biker club posing as evangelicals, and a murderer who has been hiding in plain sight.
Aaron’s only ally is state police officer Ruby Spotted Horse, a no-nonsense woman who harbors some powerful secrets in her cellar. Despite the air of mystery surrounding her, Ruby is the only one Aaron can trust. That is, until the ghost of Fannie Mae shows up, guiding her father through a tangled web of the present and past and helping him vanquish his foes from both this world and the next.
Drawn from James Lee Burke’s own life experiences, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood is a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family.
The American West in the early 1960s appears to be a pastoral paradise: golden wheat fields, mist-filled canyons, frolicking animals. Aspiring novelist Aaron Holland Broussard has observed it from the open door of a boxcar, riding the rails for both inspiration and odd jobs.
Jumping off in Denver, he finds work on a farm and meets Joanne McDuffy, an articulate and fierce college student and gifted painter. Their soul connection is immediate, but their romance is complicated by Joanne’s involvement with a shady professor who is mixed up with a drug-addled cult. When a sinister businessman and his son who wield their influence through vicious cruelty set their sights on Aaron, drawing him into an investigation of grotesque murders, it is clear that this idyllic landscape harbors tremendous power—and evil. Followed by a mysterious shrouded figure who might not be human, Aaron will have to face down all these foes to save the life of the woman he loves and his own.
The latest installment in James Lee Burke’s masterful Holland family saga, Another Kind of Eden is both riveting and one of Burke’s most ambitious works to date. It dismantles the myths of both the twentieth-century American West and the peace-and-love decade, excavating the beauty and idealism of the era to show the menace and chaos that lay simmering just beneath the surface.
In 1934, sixteen-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends with Weldon firing a gun, unsure whether it hit its mark.
Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland barely survives the Battle of the Bulge, in the process saving the lives of his sergeant, Hershel Pine, and a young Spanish prisoner of war, Rosita Lowenstein—a woman who holds the same romantic power over him as the strawberry blonde Bonnie Parker, and is equally mysterious. The three return to Texas where Weldon and Hershel get in on the ground floor of the nascent oil business.
In just a few years’ time Weldon will spar with the jackals of the industry, rub shoulders with dangerous men, and win and lose fortunes twice over. But it is the prospect of losing his one true love that will spur his most reckless act yet—one inspired by that encounter long ago with the outlaws of his youth.
A tender love story and pulse-pounding thriller, Wayfaring Stranger “is a sprawling historical epic full of courage and loyalty and optimism and good-heartedness that reads like an ode to the American Dream” (Benjamin Percy, Poets & Writers).
New Orleans Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with police brass, with killers and hustlers, and the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux haunts the intense and heady French Quarter—the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he beomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the seedy world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down the criminal underworld and come to terms with his own bruised heart and demons to survive.
On its surface, life in 1950s Houston is as you’d expect: stoic fathers, restless teens, drive-in movies, and souped-up Cadillacs. But underneath that surface lies a world shifting under high school junior Aaron Holland Broussard’s feet. The underlying class war between the haves and have nots is growing steadily, along with the menace of conflict overseas in Korea, providing a harrowing backdrop to his growth to manhood. But when Aaron spots the beautiful Valerie Epstein at a drive-in, he steps in when he sees her fighting with her boyfriend, Grady Harrelson. Aaron’s newfound confidence helps catch Valerie’s eye, and the two begin dating. Grady is a live wire though, and presents a looming problem for Aaron.
You will recall the feelings and inspirational power of your first love, and empathize with Aaron’s extraordinary challenges to protect himself and the ones he loves in “this dark, atmospheric story” (Publishers Weekly). The Jealous Kind illustrates how first loves, friendship, violence, and power can alter what traditional America means for the people trying to find their way in a changing world.
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.
Vietnam vet Dave Robicheaux has turned in his detective’s badge, is winning his battle against booze, and has left New Orleans with his wife for the tranquil beauty of Louisiana’s bayous. But a plane crash on the Gulf brings a young girl into his life—and with her comes a netherworld of murder, deception, and homegrown crime. Suddenly Robicheaux is confronting Bubba Rocque, a brutal hood he’s known since childhood; Rocque’s hungry Cajun wife; and a Federal agent with more guts than sense. In a backwater world where a swagger and a gun go further than the law, Robicheaux and those he loves are caught on a tide of violence far bigger than them all...
“James Lee Burke tells a story in a style all his own, in language that's alive, electric. He's a master at setting mood, laying in atmosphere, all with quirky dialogue that's a delight.” —Elmore Leonard
In James Lee Burke’s last novel featuring Billy Bob Holland, Bitterroot, the former Texas Ranger left his home state to help a friend threatened by the most dangerous sociopath Billy Bob had ever faced. After vanquishing a truly iniquitous collection of violent individuals, Billy moved his family to west Montana and hung out a shingle for his law practice. But in In the Moon of Red Ponies, he discovers that jail cells have revolving doors and that the government he had sworn to serve may have become his enemy.
His first client in Missoula is Johnny American Horse, a young activist for land preservation and the rights of Native Americans. Johnny is charged with the murder of two mysterious men—who seem to have recently tried to kill Johnny themselves, or at least scare him off his political causes. As Billy Bob investigates, he discovers a web of intrigue surrounding the case and its players: Johnny's girlfriend, Amber Finley, as reckless as she is defiant—and the daughter of one of Montana's US senators; Darrel McComb, a Missoula police detective who is obsessed with Amber; and Seth Masterson, an enigmatic government agent whose presence in town makes Billy Bob wonder why Washington has become so concerned with an obscure murder case on the fringes of the Bitterroot Mountains.
As complications mount and 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. How Billy Bob strikes back at evil and protects his kin is the masterful triumph of In the Moon of Red Ponies.
Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot and characters whose conflicts seem as real as life itself, this novel shows James Lee Burke again in the top form that has made him a critical favorite and a national bestseller.
Compared to Louisiana, Robicheaux thought Montana would be safe — until two Native American activists suddenly go missing. When Robicheaux begins investigating, he is led into the dark world of the Mafia and oil companies. At the same time, someone from his past comes back to haunt him. Someone who was responsible for Robicheaux's flight from New Orleans — someone who brutally murdered his wife — and now is after young Alafair...
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, Black Cherry Blues spans from the mystical streets of New Orleans to the endless mountains of Montana, and ranks among James Lee Burke's finest work — an enduring classic, darkly beautiful and thrilling.
In Pegasus Descending, James Lee Burke again explores psyches as much as evidence, and tries to make sense of human behavior as well as of his characters' crimes. Richly atmospheric, frightening in its sudden violence, and replete with the sort of puzzles only the best crime fiction creates, Burke's latest novel is an unforgettable roller coaster of passion, surprise, and regret.
The twists begin when Trish Klein -- the only offspring of Robicheaux's Vietnam-era buddy -- starts passing marked hundred-dollar bills in local casinos. Is she a good kid gone bad? A victim's child seeking revenge? A promiscuous beauty seducing everyone good within her grasp? And how does her behavior relate to the apparent suicide of another "good" girl, an ace student named Yvonne Darbonne, who apparently participated in a college frat orgy before her death?
Can Robicheaux make his peace with the demons that have haunted him since his friend's murder so many years ago? Can he figure out how a local mobster fits into all the schemes and deaths? Can Robicheaux's life be whole again when it has been shattered by so much tragedy?
Once again, Burke proves why he is the virtual poet laureate of southern Louisiana, and why his novels, especially those featuring Dave Robicheaux, stand as brilliant literature and entertainment for our time.
Lucas Smothers, nineteen and from the wrong end of town, has been arrested for the rape and murder of a local girl. His lawyer, former Texas Ranger Billy Bob Holland, is convinced of Lucas’s innocence—but proving it means unearthing the truth from the seething mass of deceit and corruption that spreads like wildfire in a gossipy small town where everybody knows everybody else’s business.
Billy Bob’s relationship with Lucas’s family is not an easy one. Years back he was a close friend of Mrs. Smothers—too close, according to her husband. But when Lucas overhears gruesome tales of serial murder from a neighboring cell in the local lock-up, he himself looks like a candidate for an untimely death, and Billy Bob incurs enemies far more dangerous than any he faced as a Ranger.
With the same electric language and hard-edged style that brought James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux novels to the forefront of American crime fiction, Cimarron Rose explodes with a harsh, evocative setting and unforgettable characters.
A Morning for Flamingos is a classic Dave Robicheaux Louisiana mystery by New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke.
Clutching the shards, of his shattered life, Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux has rejoined the New lberia police force.
His partner is dead -- slain during a condemned prisoner's bloody flight to freedom that left Robicheaux critically wounded and reawakened the ghost of his haunted, violent past.
Following the trail of the escaped convicts, Robicheaux is soon drawn back to New Orleans. But this time, the stakes are even higher. He's working for the DEA undercover in an attempt to incriminate Tony Cardo, a clinically insane drug lord. But all Robicheaux's really got is revenge on the mind. And he'll only be satisfied when the killers who upended his life have been brought to justice.