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In this top-notch fourth novel in Burke's series featuring ex–Texas Ranger attorney Billy Bob Holland, Billy Bob has moved his family and practice to the pastoral city of Missoula, Mont., the setting of his last adventure (Bitterroot, 2001), only to discover that the psychopathic ex-biker/rodeo clown, Wyatt Dixon (who buried Billy Bob's private investigator wife, Temple, alive), is out of prison on a technicality and claiming to be a born-again Christian. Billy Bob befriends alcoholic Desert Storm hero Johnny American Horse, a sometime breeder of horses and eco-activist who—when not in the drunk tank—is carrying on a passionate affair with Amber Finley, the daughter of Romulus Finley, a vindictive and bigoted powerful U.S. senator. When Johnny is suspected of murdering the hit man who invaded his home as well as masterminding the burglary of Global Research (a high-tech agricultural lab), making off with its computer files, the action picks up quickly. Noted for quirky characters and intricate plots, Burke introduces demon-driven sheriff's deputy Darrel McComb—an ex–war hero and former mercenary pilot who flew cocaine for the contras—who has an erotic fixation on Amber. Factor in private security agency chief Greta Lundstrum, FBI agent Seth Masterson and Karsten Mabus, CEO of the company that owns Global Research, and the mayhem builds to a gripping, spine-tingling finale.
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The similarity between Burke's more recent Billy Bob Holland series and his celebrated Dave Robicheaux novels inevitably interferes with our ability to give the Hollands their due. Yes, former Texas Ranger turned Montana lawyer Holland is, in many ways, a Big Sky version of ragin' Cajun Robicheaux. They have both found a corner of paradise and want desperately to protect it from the encroachments of modern life; they both are prone to violence and often jeopardize their loved ones out of the all-consuming desire to protect them; and they invariably must tangle with one or both of Burke's twin towers of evil: malignant white trash and viciously bent rich people. But despite all that, despite our wish that a writer of Burke's great talent might have used a new series to head toward uncharted waters, it's time to stop picking on Billy Bob Holland. This latest entry in the series, in which Holland attempts to help an idealistic Indian ecoterrorist and winds up antagonizing a power-broking congressman, offers the perfect opportunity to let Billy Bob stand on his own feet. The familiar themes are all here, but Burke puts some new spins on them: the white-trash antagonist reveals surprising depths of character; Billy Bob stops to smell the roses; and even the square-off with the power broker feels less like an Old Testament free-for-all and more like the kind of attenuated skirmish that defines our more circumscribed contemporary world. Yes, Billy Bob is cut from familiar cloth, but admit it, he wears it well. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
My first thought about this book was, "Oh, God, it's set in Montana. Where's he going to go with this? Read morePublished on July 24 2004
This is the best of the Billy Bob series! The other reviewers have already summed up the plot so I won't rehash that, but let me say this is the best of the Billy Bob Holland... Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Shane Gleason
In his latest book, James Lee Burke has put together a wimpy, dog tired plea for the ecology that goes nowhere. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by John R. Schill
William Faulkner once said that the only thing worth writing about was the conflict within the human heart. That thought describes perfectly "In the Moon of Red Ponies. Read morePublished on June 27 2004
This well-written novel by James lee Burke had me from page one until it ended. My introduction to Mr. Burke came with LAST CAR TO ELYSIAN FIELDS--a tour-de-force. Read morePublished on June 18 2004
I never thought I'd love a book where the main character is named Billy Bob! The other reviewers have already summed up the plot so I won't rehash that, but let me say this is the... Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by Shelly Aster
Seldom has a violent mystery story attacked the question of human potential to do good or evil as powerfully as "In the Moon of Red Ponies" does. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by Donald Mitchell