The Crime Writers’ Association

Gold Dagger 2010


James Lee Burke

Rain Gods

Published by: Orion

Synopsis: Texas Sheriff Hackberry Holland is a former ACLU attorney and Korean War prisoner, and the cousin of much-loved Burke series character Billy Bob Holland. Running from a traumatic and chequered past to become sheriff of a dried-out, broken-down border town in south Texas, Hackberry soon find himself dealing with more than just his own demons after nine dead prostitutes are dug up in the desert.

The search for justice – and revenge – pits Hack against hired guns, unscrupulous skin bar owners, drug dealers who operate on both sides of the border, and a psychotic killer known as The Preacher. Burke deftly combines intricate, engaging plotlines and original, compelling characters with his powerfully poetic prose to create a blistering crime novel that also stands with the best of American contemporary fiction.

Judges’ comments: A powerful novel with a strong sense of place and a villain of almost mythic proportions. The tension is developed with great authority.

James Lee Burke is the author of many award-winning novels. He lives with his wife, Pearl, in Missoula, Montana and New Iberia, Louisiana.

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