Chalk me up to the James Lee Burke hero worshipping fan club, I wanna go to Texas, the place has an atmosphere and the author brings it to your door in all its glory, although glory is perhaps the wrong word, sordid and a mite sleazy may be a more apt descriptions.
Feast day of fools is the third in the Hackberry Holland trilogy and if you read my review of Rain Gods you'll know how highly I rate this series. This one maintains those high standards but please be aware that if you start this series there's a big difference between the first book and the following two. The first one is all about Hack, the second introduces a bad guy called Preacher Jack Collins and this is where we come to the second major pulling point of this series, aside from an atmosphere that just leaks danger it's the characters.
The characters are absolutely gripping, I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading about characters so much, both flawed and honest as the day is long, on different sides of the law and with very different interpretations of honour.
The dialogue is also riveting there's almost a constant undercurrent of threat, aside from sheriff Hack Holland and Jack Collins, there's Russian mobsters, Mexican hard cases and others including a Reverend Cody Daniels and La Magdalena, a saver of souls. Each comes with a history, many of them flawed in some way, a depth of character that means you feel every one of them very deeply, even those that are not preordained long and prosperous lives.
If you want plot details, read the synopsis or this review could end up being a mile long, this is more of a homage to a series of a books that are outstanding in their entirety. If you like character driven thrillers that have it all in regard to what I would call a perfect read then dig in but please don't be put off after the first, the game changes dramatically from then on and with the introduction of the killer, Preacher Jack Collins, it cements its place in my all-time favourites.
It's not all serious though, there is humour in there amongst the people that surround Hack, even romantically chase him to some extent but there's just so many things I enjoyed about Feast Day of Fools, and I actually enjoyed writing this review. That pretty much says how I felt anyway, amongst the incoherent rambling.
I don't know if this is the last we'll see of Hack and Jack Collins, it sort of felt that way but in the same degree was left open for a return and it certainly deserves a return, I hope so anyway.
So I'll leave you with a couple of quotes from Preacher Jack Collins dialogue.
“The sheriff tried to kill me by firing a whole magazine down a mine shaft. He has also insulted me several times on a personal level without provocation, even though I have always treated him with respect. So principle requires that I do something in kind to him, otherwise I’ll be guilty of what’s called a sin of omission. Are you following me?”
And talking to two Mexican hitmen.
“So we’re saved from your incompetence by the intervention of the fates, and that should make me feel good?”
When I think back I’m kind of amazed what James Lee Burke fit into this novel, there’s loads of complex characters but it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re overloaded. The audio was just over 16 hours and the only negative point I could think of was that they changed the narrator to Will Patton but how can that be a negative, it was however, just because you get used to the voices portrayed by Tom Stechschulte in the first two books.
Apologies for the long review but at the same time I think it tells you something, I hope so anyway.