In his most autobiographical novel to date, James Lee Burke continues the epic Holland family saga with a writer grieving the death of his daughter while battling earthly and supernatural outlaws.
Novelist Aaron Holland Broussard is shattered when his daughter Fannie Mae dies suddenly. As he tries to honor her memory by saving two young men from a life of crime amid their opioid-ravaged community, he is drawn into a network of villainy that includes a violent former Klansman, a far-from-holy minister, a biker club posing as evangelicals, and a murderer who has been hiding in plain sight.
Aaron’s only ally is state police officer Ruby Spotted Horse, a no-nonsense woman who harbors some powerful secrets in her cellar. Despite the air of mystery surrounding her, Ruby is the only one Aaron can trust. That is, until the ghost of Fannie Mae shows up, guiding her father through a tangled web of the present and past and helping him vanquish his foes from both this world and the next.
Drawn from James Lee Burke’s own life experiences, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood is a devastating exploration of the nature of good and evil and a deeply moving story about the power of love and family.
At the start of this stunning supernaturally tinged entry in MWA Grand Master Burke's long-running Holland family saga (after 2021's Another Kind of Eden), a teenage boy spray paints a swastika on the barn of octogenarian author Aaron Holland Broussard in rural Montana. Broussard's interactions with the teen lead him into conflict with a host of villains, including evangelical bikers and a meth dealer who has been known to bury people alive. On the side of the angels is Ruby Spotted Horse, the state trooper who responds to his call about the graffiti and who, it turns out, is also entrusted with keeping the malevolent Old People from escaping their confinement beneath her house. Broussard's other ally is his dead daughter, Fannie Mae, who appears from time to time to just converse or to bring him warnings. Setting aside the ghosts, this is one of those extraordinary crime novels that feels more like real life, with incidents and people that aren't obviously connected piling up in the protagonist's life, rather than a neat set of clues pointing to a culprit. Once again, Burke uses genre fiction to plumb weighty issues, both social and emotional.
Be ready for this one
I’m an avid reader of James Lee Burke. This book took me by surprise so be ready for this one. If you’re young, you’ll miss the best parts in this book. If you’re old (like me), you’ll know the best parts and realize the story is just the means to get us there.
Cry. Thank you Sir.