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Hackberry Holland = Dave Robicheaux. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this story to some extent, however, my favorite author (James Lee Burke) used his most popular character's personality, foibles, quips and failures to morph Hackberry Holland into a more interesting anti-hero; one that happens to mirror in many easily recognizable ways his most endearing character, Dave Robicheaux. Thus, I say: Hackberry Holland is Dave Robicheaux, merely set in a new geographic and historical setting.
This book uses so many of the same literary references and imagery (e.g. The Garden of Gethsemane) from the Robicheaux novels that I began to feel like Burke was plagiarizing himself (is that possible?). When I heard Hackberry say he was "going to take it to them under a black flag," my observations were confirmed. That's when I felt very sad.
I asked myself, "Self, is Burke running out of material?" He may be, but he is still a fine writer and poet. The opening sequence is so compelling I started the novel over three times to enjoy the first several paragraphs. As for the rest…I think Dave is more believable. Hackberry is forced, as if he is trying too hard to be a broken man and self-destructive recidivist.
You'll enjoy most of this novel, but it may send you on a journey to seek a new master of the Western/Southern Motif genre.
I give it one Army Colt down and one up.
30 of 32 people found this review helpful
I had just listened to Wayfaring Stranger and really enjoyed that book. However, this was vastly different:
I'm a big fan of Will Patton as narrator on all other books I've listened to with him. But there are two characters (out of many) that were really hard to listen to and one of them is a main character in 2nd half. I couldn't even follow the story, I was so distracted by the indistinct accent and embarrassing drama of this one character. Whoever directed WP to perform this way should find another line of work.
I wish books were rated like movies - this would be an R due to excessive violence and torture. It looks like previous hackberry books were also like this, and that's why I avoided them. I thought this book may be more like Wayfaring Stranger.
Characters acting oddly:
And I'm compelled to add that too often characters would attack someone (maybe rightly) but it would be so inadequate that, of course, they would be overcome by the other side. Ie, would you calmly punch one bad guy while the other one was holding a gun to you? Too much of this.
28 of 33 people found this review helpful