If you've read James Lee Burke's novels, then you're in for a more than pleasant suprise with "The Convict". Because it's a book of short stories.
Mind you - it's just as well these stories are short. Each tale packs enough punch for a full blown novel. Comparing just one of these stories with any of Burke's novels is like comparing whisky with strong beer.
Each story is heady stuff - not only in the powerful way Burke takes a word and wrings all the blood out of it onto the page before setting it into place. The stories are of strong-headed, often wrong-headed men doing what they knew to be the best thing. They are tales of the American South, of the bijoux days, of the days of sweat and gunpowder and bowel-shaking fear.
These are tales Burke must have heard as a boy, tales that have been purified in the distillery of Burke's mind until all that's left is the gritty, sweaty essence.
And, at just a shade over six bucks, these are cheap thrills, indeed. But do be careful: each story packs enough of a wallop to put Mike Tyson on the canvas.