Synopses & Reviews
James Lee Burke returns with his gorgeously crafted thirtieth novel, now in paperback — featuring the return of one of Burke’s most legendary villains, Preacher Jack Collins.
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 a local drunk 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 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 the home of Anton Ling, a mysterious Chinese woman whose steely demeanor and aristocratic beauty compels 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 third Hack Holland 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.
"James Lee Burke — muscular and elegiac, brutal and compassionate — is a Stetson-wearing, spur-jangling giant among novelists.” Benjamin Percy for Esquire
“Burke’s evocative prose remains a thing of reliably fierce wonder.” Entertainment Weekly
“James Lee Burke presses onward with his singular mission to rewrite the American western in Feast Day of Fools...Burke is constructing a whole mew mythology in this series, with characters haunted by history and driven by ghosts....Hackberry Holland’s assertion that ‘a martial and savage spirit had ruled these hills’ since the time of the conquistadors is a good man’s way of saying that the violence we do sinks into the ground we walk on and becomes part of our collective heritage.” The New York Times Book Review
“James Lee Burke's thirty superbly written mysteries and Westerns have always been allegorical, illuminating the grandest of themes. Over the years, he has written about racism, neocolonialism, the rape of the environment, the hijacking of Christianity by hateful bigots and the futility of war. He has written about manipulative political and business figures, and about the quest for individual and national redemption. He has also explored the nature of evil....In Feast Day of Fools, Burke pulls all of his themes together in a master work that comprises his unified theory of America at the beginning of the 21st century....And as always in a Burke novel, the landscape is vividly described in passages so poetic they could be broken into lines of verse.” Bruce DeSilva, The Associated Press
“He’s a genius, Burke, and I read everything he puts out. All his novels are about good vs. evil and how hard it is to overcome evil. This one’s about a Texas sheriff and two villains, one associated with the [drug] cartels, the other a mass murderer. The three of them collide.”—Bill O'Reilly for the New York Post
“When the literary lights of the 21st century go marching in, James Lee Burke will be leading the parade. For five decades, Burke has created memorable novels that weave exquisite language, unforgettable characters, and social commentary into written tapestries that mirror the contemporary scene. His work transcends genre classification....Feast Day of Fools is a richly complex novel with several themes and subplots...extraordinary characterizations, dialogue, sense of place, and an almost mystical, allegorical summation.” Philadelphia Inquirer
“Riveting...Burke is creating an allegorical, almost Biblical setting here: The lost wander hopelessly in the desert, seeking revenge or redemption or some terrible mix of both. The moral center in all of this is Hackberry Holland, who feels old ‘in the way people feel old when they have more knowledge of the world than they need.’ He’s Burke’s most fascinating character, a man whose sense of justice has been shaken but not destroyed. Equally compelling is Pam Tibbs, the most no-nonsense woman in fictional law enforcement (‘Men often thought she was trying to be cute. They were mistaken’). The push-and-pull between the two is just one more of Burke’s thrilling examples of the mysteries of the human heart.” The Miami Herald
“Like the hero of his 30th work, to be published Tuesday, James Lee Burke delivers — again. There's a reason Burke, 75, has earned the Grand Master title from the Mystery Writers of America and is tagged by some colleagues as the greatest living mystery writer....He combines complex characterization, driving action and a philosophical bent — and his consistency is remarkable, carrying him through 18 Dave Robicheaux books, set in Louisiana, and now the third novel in the Hack Holland series. The man is legendary, and rightly so....But Feast Day of Fools is more than action. It's a sprawling, compelling, allegorical story with characters that just won't get out of my mind. Through it all, Burke shares some of his hard-won knowledge about life. And that makes it one of the Grand Master's best.” New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Nobody turns suspense into poetry like James Lee Burke.” San Antonio Express-News
HIS CELEBRATED THIRTIETH NOVEL!
James Lee Burke returns to the Texas border town of his bestseller Rain Gods, where a serial killer presumed dead is very much alive...and where sheriff Hackberry Holland, now a widower, fights for survival — his own, and of the citizens he’s sworn to protect.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert, Hackberry’s investigation leads him to Anton Ling, a mysterious Chinese woman known for sheltering illegals. Ling denies any knowledge of the attack, but something in her aristocratic beauty seduces Hack into overlooking that she is as dangerous as the men she harbors. And when soulless Preacher Jack Collins reemerges, the cold-blooded killer may prove invaluable to Hackberry. This time, he and the Preacher have a common enemy.
About the Author
James Lee Burke, named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of twenty-nine previous novels and two collections of short stories. He lives in Missoula, Montana.