James Lee Burke

Rain Gods

"This book has all the elements we have come to know and love in a novel by JLB.."


Sheriff of a bone-dry, broken down South Texas border town, former Korean POW, Hackberry Holland is a man haunted by his past, while fighting a war in the present. His modern-day enemies are drug-runners, people-smugglers and hired guns... but when the bodies of nine Asian prostitutes are found executed and barely buried behind a dilapidated church, he knows with a frightening certainty that he is dealing with another form of evil all together.

As the pieces of the problem start to take pattern and shape, Hackberry discovers a network of corruption and violence linking a strip-bar owner, a New Orleans crime lord, a mentally scarred Iraq war veteran and an assassin for hire who takes his inspiration from the Old Testament and who is known only as the Preacher.

Hackberry knows to the ends of his weary bones that if he is to solve the horrible murder of these poor women he will have to face the worst form of evil that he has ever come across. But with his own soul still in torment from his time in captivity all those years ago, will he be a match for a killer who believes he has God on his side?

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Much has been said about the undoubted talents of James Lee Burke over the years and this, his latest, can surely do nothing but add to the superlatives heaped upon the man. This book has all the elements we have come to know and love in a novel by JLB; a lawman working against the odds while struggling against his own demons, a sociopathic killer and a facility with words that leaves you thrilling about the prose as much as the plot. In Rain Gods we have a killer par excellence who takes the love of his craft to a new level. The Preacher is a cracking creation, full of contradiction and just as likely to release his victims as he is to cut their throats. James Lee Burke could write out the phone book and I would be entranced. Here we have an intriguing change from his most famous creation, Dave Robicheaux, but there is similarities if you are hankering after Dave. Hank has his battle with booze and his experiences in a war that affected a different generation of young Americans. The counterpoint to this is the young man in the novel who has crossed the bad guys and is on the run along with his beautiful girlfriend. This young man is a veteran of the Iraqi conflict and his experience displays the horrible truth that nothing really changes. Against the backdrop of a dry and dusty Texas plains, with a hint of rain in the future the plot carefully unfolds to highlight the journey that each of the characters find themselves on. Some will come out the other end with their life and their character intact. Others will have their lives changed forever... just as the first raindrop finally falls.

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