Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off 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 leads 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 victim or the perpetrators, but there is something in her steely demeanor 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 harbors? The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins, whom The New York Times called "one of Burke's most inspired villains." Presumed dead at the close of Rain Gods, Preacher Jack has reemerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing that is more terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun. But this time he and Sheriff Holland have a common enemy. Praised by Joyce Carol Oates for "the luminosity of his writerly voice," James Lee Burke returns with his most allegorical novel to date, illuminating vital issues of our time'immigration, energy, religious freedom'with the rich atmosphere and devastatingly flawed, authentic characters that readers have come to celebrate during the five decades of his brilliant career.
American mystery author, James Lee Burke, was born in Houston, Texas, explaining why most of the lead characters in his novels are Texan. He has won two Edgar awards, which is a very rare experience, and is a bestselling author of two short story collections and over thirty novels. Burke is best known for his Dave Robicheaux series. His Edgar Awards were for Black Cherry and Cimarron Rose. Two of his series were made into screen plays with each movie having a-list actors playing the Robicheaux character (Alec Baldwin - Heaven's Prisoners, and Tommy Lee Jones- In the Electric Mist).
A writer must usually hold down other employment while they attempt to gain a degree of following readers. Burke's various jobs included.......truck driver, newspaper reporter, social worker, land surveyor, unemployment system employee, Job Corps worker, teacher, and finally, novelist.
Burke lives in Montana with his wife, Pearl, two daughters, and four grandchildren. His favorite advice was given by Irving Stone, when Burke was nineteen.......... "Never write a story to pay your gas bill......if you do, be assured your utilities will be turned off".