Sunday, January 24, 2010

RAIN GODS by James Lee Burke (2009)

Although I am a committed reader of Burke's Dave Robichaux novels, RAIN GODS is the first that features sheriff Hackberry Holland (a war vet with horrors of his own to exorcise) and his deputy Pam Tibbs (who has more than a little crush on her boss). Set in a tiny Texas town near the Mexican border, the novel offers a lens on the lives of the lost, the vulnerable, the wounded and the corrupt who people this desperate place in desperate times.

Holland's discovery of the shallow graves of nine illegal aliens leads him to the heart of organized crime and face to face with memorable villains like Hugo Cistranos, Nick Dolan and Bible-thumping sociopath "Preacher" Jack Collins all of whom want to kill a young damaged Iraq War vet Pete Flores, who with his girlfriend Vikki Gaddis, hopes beyond hope for a fresh start.

With betrayal at breakneck speed and Burke's capacity to show humans at their best and their worst, RAIN GODS will keep you reading through the night.

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