CIMARRON ROSE by James Lee Burke
Kirkus Star

CIMARRON ROSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

You can take Burke out of Louisiana's Iberia Parish (Cadillac Jukebox, 1996, etc.), but you can't take Iberia out of Burke, as this tangled tale of Texas murder and memory makes wondrously clear. Without his râsumâ in front of you, you could never tell lawyer Billy Bob Holland (ex-Texas Ranger, ex-assistant US attorney) from Iberia's Dave Robicheaux. Billy Bob's passion for justice, like Dave's, is constantly battling the other passions that have engendered an unacknowledged son, Lucas Smothers, and that keep sending him into battle armed with more than his legal briefs. When Lucas is arrested for raping and murdering Roseanne Hazlitt, there's no question but that Billy Bob will defend him; the only question is how far he'll go. Ranged against Lucas are dyslexic, psychopathic Daft Vanzandt, the spoiled son of a wealthy East End millionaire; Garland T. Moon, the rabid jailmate whose off-the-record confession to a California murder Lucas overhears from his neighboring cell; and just about every law enforcement official resident in Deaf Smith, Texas, from smarmy jailer Harley Sweet to Mexican drug agent Felix Ringo. Burke saves Lucas's murder trial for the end, but the real action takes place long beforehand, as Billy Bob goes head to head with Ringo, Moon, the Vanzandts, two sheriffs, and his own defense witnesses. Each confrontation, as in the Dave Robicheaux novels, is engorged by the hero's overwhelming memories of his own family's involvement with evil: his father's violent death; his great-grandfather's spectral romance with Jennie, the outlaw Rose of Cimarron; and his own accidental killing of L.Q. Navarro, the Ranger partner who haunts his daily rounds as if he hadn't been dead 11 years. Other riddles about the past keep the pot boiling so furiously it's a wonder Burke can get it to the table. All the roiling intensity of the Robicheaux stories. Even the ragged ends make other mystery novels look anemic.
Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-7868-6258-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1997




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