Haunting suspense and captivating villains, the hallmark of James Lee Burke’s bestselling novels of evil and redemption, are brilliantly evoked in his new Billy Bob Holland opus, the follow-up to the popular and critically acclaimed Bitterroot.
“James Lee Burke tells a story in a style all his own, in language that's alive, electric. He's a master at setting mood, laying in atmosphere, all with quirky dialogue that's a delight.” —Elmore Leonard
In James Lee Burke’s last novel featuring Billy Bob Holland, Bitterroot, the former Texas Ranger left his home state to help a friend threatened by the most dangerous sociopath Billy Bob had ever faced. After vanquishing a truly iniquitous collection of violent individuals, Billy moved his family to west Montana and hung out a shingle for his law practice. But in In the Moon of Red Ponies, he discovers that jail cells have revolving doors and that the government he had sworn to serve may have become his enemy.
His first client in Missoula is Johnny American Horse, a young activist for land preservation and the rights of Native Americans. Johnny is charged with the murder of two mysterious men—who seem to have recently tried to kill Johnny themselves, or at least scare him off his political causes. As Billy Bob investigates, he discovers a web of intrigue surrounding the case and its players: Johnny's girlfriend, Amber Finley, as reckless as she is defiant—and the daughter of one of Montana's US senators; Darrel McComb, a Missoula police detective who is obsessed with Amber; and Seth Masterson, an enigmatic government agent whose presence in town makes Billy Bob wonder why Washington has become so concerned with an obscure murder case on the fringes of the Bitterroot Mountains.
As complications mount and the dead bodies multiply, Billy Bob is drawn closer to the truth behind Johnny American Horse’s arrest—and discovers a greater danger to himself and to his whole family. How Billy Bob strikes back at evil and protects his kin is the masterful triumph of In the Moon of Red Ponies.
Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot and characters whose conflicts seem as real as life itself, this novel shows James Lee Burke again in the top form that has made him a critical favorite and a national bestseller.
Narrator Stechschulte does an excellent job giving voice to the many eccentric characters in Burke's fourth novel starring former Texas Ranger Billy Bob Holland, last heard from in Bitterroot (2001). Billy Bob and his private investigator wife, Temple, have relocated to a ranch in Missoula, Mont. Not long after he hangs his attorney's shingle, Billy Bob receives a visit from ex-biker/rodeo clown Wyatt Dixon, who he helped send to jail for life in Bitterroot. Wyatt, free on a technicality, once buried Temple alive before spending time in federal prison. Now a born again Christian, he wants Holland to represent his horse-trading business. Here Stechschulte's talent truly shines. His portrayal of Wyatt's vacuous politeness is unnerving. Billy Bob doesn't trust him, nor does the listener. But should we? This is just the tip of a complicated ecoterrorist plot chock full of multifaceted characters, including an ex-mercenary police detective, a Native American Desert Storm hero/activist and a shady U.S. senator. Stechschulte penetrates the psyche of each of these players with incredible acuity, making this an excellent summer listen. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Forecasts, May 24).
Good read just like a Tony Hillerman but with Montana Indians.
In the Moon of the Red Ponies
Having grown up in a reservation town and having many indigenous friends up to and including a tribal chief I can say that this is not an accurate portrayal of modern indigenous culture--in fact my friend the tribal chief was just commenting to me that the tribe had become greedy and well--well---well--just like WHITE people. Absolute true story.