Feast Day of Fools : Hackberry Holland

  • by James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by Will Patton
  • Series: Hackberry Holland
  • 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

“[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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Burke Redeemed

"Lay Down My Sword & Shield," the book that introduced me to Hackberry Holland, was disappointing to this fan of the Dave Robicheaux series. "Feast Day of Fools" redeems both the author and the character.

In "Feast Day," Holland is some 40 years older, and much the wiser. He's a man of principle, which he wasn't in the last book. As repellant as he was, he becomes a sympathetic and admirable character.

The book moves at a good clip, and engages the listener immediately. I found myself rewinding to make sure I hadn't missed, or misunderstood, anything. The book tells a story that involves a vicious and demented serial killer, agents of a Mexican drug cartel, agents of the U.S. government, and a charismatic ex-CIA operative turned faith healer. The ending is surprising, and very satisfying.

Will Patton does a good job of narrating, although at times his accents got a bit jumbled. It didn't really detract from the book, but it's why I didn't give him 5 stars.

Do yourself a favor and spend a credit on this one. You won't regret it.
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- Eva Gannon

Shoot Out at the More-Than-OK Corral

Most of the reviews I've read thus far, in spite of the disparity they contain, have valid points. I'll offer what I think is probably most helpful to someone considering this book: Burke is flat out a magnificent writer, his command of language, his artistic prose, his adeptness at continuity, and his strong characters. I don't know that anyone, besides Cormac McCarthy, can tell a such a raw story more beautifully, which is some feat when it comes to describing horrific gore and violence. But he does so in a disconnected slow motion way that makes it tolerable and crucial to the story. He does not seem to worry about abridgement--and why should he? People crave fast action, in-your-face stories, and Burke doesn't write for that market. He could be accused of filling the pages with, as one reviewer put it, "kitchen sink" characters and plots--so may be best enjoyed in small doses rather than devoured in a 16 hr. marathon. (*Possibly consider the abridged edition?) This is not fast food, but rather a dining experience. It is intense, rich, and can give you something like heartburn if you consume it all at one sitting; you need to walk away from this feast every now and then to avoid overload. The landscapes are so vividly described you all most choke on the dust, the characters, especially Hackberry (who ironically accuses himself of speaking too many "idle thoughts") is amazingly sculpted by Burke. This is not a book that will sit nicely in your head, but savored in bits is a great read. Will Patton is flawless in his narration, where in Rain Gods (previous novel about Preacher Collins) I thought his twang was heavy and distracting. If you know what your getting in for, I highly recommend.
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- Mel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-27-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio