"When you crack open the spine of a James Lee Burke novel you are never in doubt that you are in for something special."
Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his wife, and locked in an almost-romance with his Deputy Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off of the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert and reports it, Hack's investigation to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering illegals. Ling denies having seen the victims or perpetrators, but there is something in her demeanour and aristocratic beauty that compels Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds. Could it be that the Sheriff is so taken in by this creature who reminds him of his deceased wife, that he would ignore the possibility that she is just as dangerous as the men she harbours?
The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of serial murderer, Preacher Jack Collins. Presumed dead at the close of 'Rain Gods', Preacher Jack has re-emerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing which is more terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun. But this time he and Sheriff Holland share a common enemy.