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Only a master writer can leave you rocking on a see-saw between grinding your teeth over the moral imbeciles and cheering for the women of courage and backbone in this book. You think you'd hate these guys, but Burke finds and shows you just enough of their humanity that you understand the main characters.
Take your time and enjoy the pictures painted because you're going to be right there, smelling and tasting the Texas days and nights. This author gets under your skin with the characters; he doesn't tell you through trite phrases and meaningless gestures.
No highbrow literature here. Just a fine story, skillfully told. If you haven't read James Lee Burke before jump right in. If you have, you'll feel right at home. The narrator is like a fine barbecue, slow and low so the story is so tender it falls off the bone.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This book and the narration are so good that they almost deserve a class of their own. As another reviewer noted this story does bear a passing resemblance to No Country for Old Men, so if you liked that movie that's likely a good indicator for this book. I'm not a huge fan of Burke, I find his Louisiana novels (much like True Blood on HBO) a little hard to take, but this Texas badlands story is simply a masterpiece. The narration is spectacular, it's a little disconcerting that the lead villain sounds exactly like George W Bush, but it's hard to imagine how it could be improved upon. The story is complex with many interwoven threads so you need to be able to give the story your reasonably full attention to really appreciate the mastery of plot and language deployed here. The chief bad guy (W.) may be the best drawn and most complex literary monster since Hannibal Lector. The hero is grittier than a sandwich eaten at the beach, the cavalcade of supporting cast have such a comprehensive range of character flaws and challenges that it does get a bit Dostoyevsky grim from time to time, but never ceases to enthrall.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful