cover image House of the Rising Sun

House of the Rising Sun

James Lee Burke. Simon & Schuster, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0710-8

In Edgar-winner Burke’s stunning follow-up to 2014’s Wayfaring Stranger, former Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland sets off to look for his estranged son, Ishmael, a U.S. Army captain, in a journey spanning over two years. In 1916, after a botched Ranger operation in Mexico, Hackberry has in his possession an artifact rumored to be the Holy Grail, incurring the wrath of Arnold Beckman, a vicious arms dealer who wants the artifact for himself. Bloodshed and treachery follow as Hackberry searches for his son while staying ahead of Beckman. As usual, Burke packs this epic novel with stellar characters, the best of whom are women: union activist Ruby Dansen, who’s Ishmael’s mother, and Beatrice DeMolay, a brothel owner who comes to Hackberry’s aid in Mexico. It’s easy to picture Hackberry as an avenging angel, albeit one with tattered wings, and his struggle to reconcile his innate sense of goodness with his violent sense of justice is only one of the story’s many facets. Crisp dialogue highlights this tale of redemption and the bonds of family, and the breathtaking conclusion is one that readers won’t soon forget. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (Dec.)