James Lee Burke, Author . Simon & Schuster $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7432-4543-2

In this top-notch fourth novel in Burke's series featuring ex–Texas Ranger attorney Billy Bob Holland, Billy Bob has moved his family and practice to the pastoral city of Missoula, Mont., the setting of his last adventure (Bitterroot , 2001), only to discover that the psychopathic ex-biker/rodeo clown, Wyatt Dixon (who buried Billy Bob's private investigator wife, Temple, alive), is out of prison on a technicality and claiming to be a born-again Christian. Billy Bob befriends alcoholic Desert Storm hero Johnny American Horse, a sometime breeder of horses and eco-activist who—when not in the drunk tank—is carrying on a passionate affair with Amber Finley, the daughter of Romulus Finley, a vindictive and bigoted powerful U.S. senator. When Johnny is suspected of murdering the hit man who invaded his home as well as masterminding the burglary of Global Research (a high-tech agricultural lab), making off with its computer files, the action picks up quickly. Noted for quirky characters and intricate plots, Burke introduces demon-driven sheriff's deputy Darrel McComb—an ex–war hero and former mercenary pilot who flew cocaine for the contras—who has an erotic fixation on Amber. Factor in private security agency chief Greta Lundstrum, FBI agent Seth Masterson and Karsten Mabus, CEO of the company that owns Global Research, and the mayhem builds to a gripping, spine-tingling finale. Agent, Philip Spitzer . 10-city author tour . (June 8)

Reviewed on: 05/24/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-3721-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-3942-5
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Mass Market Paperbound - 402 pages - 978-0-7434-6664-6
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Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4767-3127-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-6660-5
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