Just discovering James Lee Burke more than a year ago, I was elated to see there were so many books to read. He’s been writing since the 1980’s. Fortunately I don’t mind discovering a writer who has so many books written which I haven’t read because it gives me a list, sometimes as in this case, a long list of books to read. And read I have, beginning with The Neon Rain; I was hooked from there with the Dave Robicheaux series.
Cimarron Rose introduces a new character, Billy Bob Holland and I am so glad to get to know this troubled but sincere man.
There have been many comparisons between the two protagonists but I choose to look at them as individuals which they are. There are some similarities, of course, the biggest being a struggle to live a good life and doing the right thing after having so many personal misfortunes. However, there are many people we know throughout our lives, friends and relatives who have suffered setbacks so these two characters having similar misfortunes does not bother me at all.
Burke’s writing is not for everyone. If you enjoy light, breezy dialogue with little intrigue, skip Burke’s books. However, if you enjoy words that dance off the page, scenes described with words that bring the surroundings to life and allows you to breathe in the smell of the land, Burke’s writing is for you.
I found myself re-reading some paragraphs because I wanted to make sure that I got every nuance of his writing. I wanted to make sure that I understood completely what was going on in each and every scene which seemed to fill a page or page and a half chocked full of descriptive language. There was action from beginning to end. That’s my kind of book.
So many reviews have been written about the multiple storylines that another one is simply not needed. However, let it be said that Burke has a strong opinion about the ‘haves and have nots’ and is willing for his characters to stake their reputation on giving the underdogs a chance at having a good life, doing whatever is needed.
I feel that I have learned so much about living right from reading Burke. He’s become much more than simply time spent reading, entertainment to me. While Burke’s writing has indeed entertained, his lessons about living without being preachy, are woven throughout his writing. I find the ability of a writer to use the English language so beautifully, even lyrically with creativity, just simply amazing.
Very glad there are so many more Burke novels for me to devour page by page, slowly like drinking a fine wine. This book will be right up there as one of my all time favorites. No doubt.