Bitterroot by James Lee Burke

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Following his acclaimed bestseller Purple Cane Road, James Lee Burke returns with a triumphant tour de force.
Set in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, home to celebrities seeking to escape the pressures of public life, as well as to xenophobes dedicated to establishing a bulkhead of patriotic paranoia, Burke's novel features Billy Bob Holland, former Texas Ranger and now a Texas-based lawyer, who has come to Big Sky Country for some fishing and ends up helping out an old friend in trouble.
And big trouble it is, not just for his friend but for Billy Bob himself -- in the form of Wyatt Dixon, a recent prison parolee sworn to kill Billy Bob as revenge for both his imprisonment and his sister's death, both of which he blames on the former Texas lawman. As the mysteries multiply and the body count mounts, the reader is drawn deeper into the tortured mind of Billy Bob Holland, a complex hero tormented by the mistakes of his past and driven to make things -- all things -- right. But beneath the guise of justice for the weak and downtrodden lies a tendency for violence that at times becomes more terrifying than the danger he is trying to eradicate.
As USA Today noted in discussing the parallels between Billy Bob Holland and Burke's other popular series hero, David Robicheaux, "Robicheaux and Holland are two of a kind, white-hat heroes whose essential goodness doesn't keep them from fighting back. The two series describe different landscapes, but one theme remains constant: the inner conflict when upright men are provoked into violence in defense of hearth, home, women, and children. There are plenty of parallels. Billy Bob is an ex-Texas Ranger; Dave is an ex-New Orleans cop. Dave battles alcoholism and the ghosts of Vietnam; Billy Bob actually sees ghosts, including the Ranger he accidentally gunned down....But most of all, both protagonists hold a vision of a pure and simple life."
In Bitterroot, with its rugged and vivid setting, its intricate plot, and a set of remarkable, unforgettable characters, and crafted with the lyrical prose and the elegiac tone that have inspired many critics to compare him to William Faulkner, James Lee Burke has written a thriller destined to surpass the success of his previous novels.

About James Lee Burke

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James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of thirty-one previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as The Glass Rainbow, Swan Peak, The Tin Roof Blowdown, Last Car to Elysian Fields, and Rain Gods. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
Published June 12, 2001 by Simon & Schuster. 346 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Billy Bob Holland (Heartwood, 1999, etc.) leaves his Texas law practice behind for a fishing trip with his old friend Dr. Tobin Voss in Montana—forgetting that Burke’s troubled heroes can’t travel far enough to leave trouble behind.

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The Guardian

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Bitterroot James Lee Burke Orion £12.99, pp334 John Steinbeck said that 'Montana is a love affair'.

Sep 16 2001 | Read Full Review of Bitterroot

Publishers Weekly

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Billy Bob and Doc also have to contend with celebrities wanting to experience "country life," organized crime figures, government agents and a sinister, recently paroled felon who blames Billy Bob for his wife's death.

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Book Reporter

Holland, in the meantime, is complicating his own life by becoming involved with Cleo Lonnigan, a woman with a history that includes murder and the mob, and a present that includes involvement with Holland's friend Voss.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Bitterroot

Entertainment Weekly

James Lee Burke divides his time between New Iberia, La., and Missoula, Mont.

Jun 22 2001 | Read Full Review of Bitterroot

Reviewing the Evidence

I will be up-front with you right off the bat: BITTERROOT is some of the best writing I've seen in a long time, not just from James Lee Burke, but from anyone.

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Gather Books

I've read one of James Lee Burke's Roubicheaux series books and enjoyed it so I thought I'd give this one a shot - I belive it is also one of a series of books surrounding the same character, Billy Bob Holland.

Nov 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Bitterroot

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