Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
A Novel

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When Hackberry Holland became sheriff of a tiny Texas town near the Mexican border, he'd hoped to leave certain things behind: his checkered reputation, his haunted dreams, and his obsessive memories of the good life with his late wife, Rie. But the discovery of the bodies of nine illegal aliens, machine-gunned to death and buried in a shallow grave behind a church, soon makes it clear that he won't escape so easily.

As Hack and Deputy Sheriff Pam Tibbs attempt to untangle the threads of this complex and grisly case, a damaged young Iraq veteran, Pete Flores, and his girlfriend, Vikki Gaddis, are running for their lives, hoping to outwit the bloodthirsty criminals who want to kill Pete for his involvement in the murders. The only trouble is, Pete doesn't know who he's running from: drunk and terrified, he fled the scene of the crime when the shooting began. And there's a long list of people who want Pete and Vikki dead: crime boss Hugo Cistranos, who hired Pete for the operation; Nick Dolan, a strip club owner and small-time gangster with revenge on his mind; and a mysterious God-fearing serial-killer-for-hire known as Preacher Jack Collins, with enigmatic motives of his own.

With the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a host of cold-blooded killers on Pete and Vikki's trail, it's up to Sheriff Holland to find them first and figure out who's behind the mass murder before anyone else ends up dead. In this thrilling and intricate work, James Lee Burke has once again proven himself a master storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of the darkest corners of the human heart.

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 24, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 449 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Rain Gods

Kirkus Reviews

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Given the high-casualty infighting among the criminals and the Prince of Darkness as antagonist, it’s hard for Hackberry, who’s haunted by the requisite Burke demons (war, drink, women), to make much of an impression, especially when the most heroic characters are Nick’s wife Esther and truck-sto...

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

The New York Times

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Mystery novels by James Lee Burke, S. J. Bolton, Michael Genelin and Fred Vargas.

Jul 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Book Reporter

RAIN GODS is a work of deep, violent and, yes, beautiful magic, a wondrous manifestation of one of our best American authors becoming even better, as improbable and impossible as that may seem.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

A– See all of this week’s reviews Originally posted Jul 07, 2009 Published in issue #1056 Jul 17, 2009 Order article reprints

Jul 08 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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Comparisons to Cormac McCarthy's 'No Country for Old Men' may be unavoidable, but 'Rain Gods' is its own stylish slice of contemporary Texas noir.

Jul 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Tampa Bay Times

Author of two fine suspense series, Burke revisits familiar themes — the wages of sin, the rewards of redemption, past horrors just about impossible to shake — in the new West, where a different sort of outlaw trafficks not only in drugs but in human beings.

Jul 31 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Hackberry is a cousin to Billy Bob Holland, the former Texas Ranger of Burke's Cimarron Rose and Heartwood -- novels that never gained traction with diehard Robicheaux fans like me.

Jul 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel


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Bookmarks Magazine

An author with a deep regional feel for parts of the United States-including Texas and Louisiana-Burke aptly portrays "a range war in Southwest Texas-a pitched battle between gangs of displaced bad guys, fighting among themselves for the new territory against the outmatched locals" (New York Time...

Jul 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

Spinetingler Magazine

Sheriff Hackberry Holland, cousin of Billy Bob Holland, featured in many of the author’s previous novels, confronts his past and present evils in his small Texas border town, accompanied by his deputy, Pam Tibbs, who provides backup.

Mar 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

California Literary Review

Burke is not just maintaining his high level of writing that runs throughout more than thirty books including seventeen in his Robicheaux series, he’s getting better, tighter, leaner, tougher: On the burnt-out end of a July day in Southwest Texas, in a crossroads community whose only economic imp...

Jul 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Rain Gods: A Novel

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