The novels title is also the name of the song that Iry Pareta honky-tonk musician, Korean vet, and ex-conwants to write to hold his memories of a "more uncomplicated time," before the war, before prison. The book opens the day thirty-year-old Iry leaves Louisianas Angola state penitentiary, after serving two years for manslaughter, and follows him to Montana, where he hopes to stay cool and out of trouble by working hard on a ranch owned by the father of his prison pal, Buddy Riordan. Iry finds the fresh start he seeks, joins a weekend band, and even falls in love. But the Riordan familys problems deal Iry a new sort of trouble with some ultimately tragic consequences.
The Lost Get-Back Boogie is a novel about loyalty and friendship, betrayal and loss. It is about essentially good people and their attempts to define the value of their lives and to find their place in a changing, complicated world. And it is the work of James Lee Burke at the top of his form.