Burke’s coming of age story
December 29, 2016
James Lee Burke has, over the course of his career, published more than 30 novels and won two Edgar Awards and named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
His novels frequently two of his most well-known protagonists, the New Orleans-based former cop and reluctant private-eye, Dave Robicheaux; and the Hackberry Holland clan, headed-up by an erstwhile, hard-drinking, Korean war vet Texas sheriff.
The latest in the Holland series is "The Jealous Kind" (Simon and Schuster). It's a gritty, coming of age story, set in the early 1950s in Houston. It's a troubled time in post-World-War II America
An incipient class war is brewing and it takes off when our narrator sees a beautiful and gifted young woman fighting with her boyfriend at a Glaveston drive-in. In stepping in to the situation, he is drawn into a confrontation with the mob as well as one of the most powerful families in the state.
Burke's spare, evocative prose keeps the pages turning throughout this eminently readable slice of '50s noir.
Another title worth checking out is "Good As Gone" (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill) by Larry Watson. It's the story of a man was always ready to leave, to run from something, to stand alone against things he did not fully comprehend. It's 1963 and Calvin Sidney, one of the last of what was called the old cowboys—a relic and unpredictable wild card—is living alone way out on the prairie in the middle of nowhere.
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His long-estranged son pops up and asks him to watch his grandchildren for a while in the same small he'd left years before. And, sure enough, before long trouble comes knocking at the door and we are plunged into a confrontation between the codes of the old and new wests. It's a compelling assaying of both aging and the viability of the old ways in changing times.
January Events at CAC
Churchill Arts has two events coming up in January. There will be gallery walk through and reception for Montana artist, Jerry Iverson — whose paintings are on view at the Art Center—on the 21st, which is free and open to the public. Tickets are now on sale for the performance by the Bill Charlap Trio on the 28th. You can pick up tickets at Jeff's Copy Express, ITT @ NAS Fallon or by calling CAC AT 775-423-1440.
One of the premiere pianists of his generation, Charlap is known for inspired interpretations of standards from the Great American Songbook. The trio, with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, is one of the leading ensembles in today's Jazz world. It promises to be one of the best shows of the season. We'll have more information on both the performance and artist's reception in the coming weeks.
Kirk Robertson covers the arts and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org