New York Times bestselling author and “the reigning champ of nostalgia noir” (The New York Times Book Review) James Lee Burke returns with a powerful novel in the Holland Family series set in 1950s Texas, as the specter of the Korean War looms.
On its surface, life in 1950s Houston is as you’d expect: stoic fathers, restless teens, drive-in movies, and souped-up Cadillacs. But underneath that surface lies a world shifting under high school junior Aaron Holland Broussard’s feet. The underlying class war between the haves and have nots is growing steadily, along with the menace of conflict overseas in Korea, providing a harrowing backdrop to his growth to manhood. But when Aaron spots the beautiful Valerie Epstein at a drive-in, he steps in when he sees her fighting with her boyfriend, Grady Harrelson. Aaron’s newfound confidence helps catch Valerie’s eye, and the two begin dating. Grady is a live wire though, and presents a looming problem for Aaron.
You will recall the feelings and inspirational power of your first love, and empathize with Aaron’s extraordinary challenges to protect himself and the ones he loves in “this dark, atmospheric story” (Publishers Weekly). The Jealous Kind illustrates how first loves, friendship, violence, and power can alter what traditional America means for the people trying to find their way in a changing world.
Raging teenage hormones, gangster violence, class warfare, and a pink Cadillac stuffed with cash and gold bars set up Burke's latest novel, a mystery set in Houston, Tex., in 1952. Burke has a hit with this dark, atmospheric story of teenagers trying to make it through high school without getting killed by Mafia hitmen, low-life thugs, and greasers with oily ducktails and switchblade knives. Seventeen-year-old Aaron bumbles into a steamy teenage romance with Valerie Epstein, angering Grady, her rich country-club ex-boyfriend, who vows jealous revenge. With his prankster best pal, Saber, Aaron unwittingly steps into a messy world of violence that escalates to involve parents, punks, and the police. Beatings, arson, and a murder ramp up the tension as the boys are framed and futilely declare their innocence. Then Grady's pink Caddie full of money and gold is stolen and the Mafia steps in. They think it's their money, they want it back, and they believe Aaron and Saber have it. Burke portrays Houston as rife with crime, complete with a corrupt police force, and the boys have little hope of surviving this cesspool. Fortunately, they have good parents, an honest detective, and a savvy prostitute to back them up.