cover image Every Cloak Rolled in Blood

Every Cloak Rolled in Blood

James Lee Burke. Simon & Schuster, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-9821-9659-2

At the start of this stunning supernaturally tinged entry in MWA Grand Master Burke’s long-running Holland family saga (after 2021’s Another Kind of Eden), a teenage boy spray paints a swastika on the barn of octogenarian author Aaron Holland Broussard in rural Montana. Broussard’s interactions with the teen lead him into conflict with a host of villains, including evangelical bikers and a meth dealer who has been known to bury people alive. On the side of the angels is Ruby Spotted Horse, the state trooper who responds to his call about the graffiti and who, it turns out, is also entrusted with keeping the malevolent Old People from escaping their confinement beneath her house. Broussard’s other ally is his dead daughter, Fannie Mae, who appears from time to time to just converse or to bring him warnings. Setting aside the ghosts, this is one of those extraordinary crime novels that feels more like real life, with incidents and people that aren’t obviously connected piling up in the protagonist’s life, rather than a neat set of clues pointing to a culprit. Once again, Burke uses genre fiction to plumb weighty issues, both social and emotional. Agent: Anne-Lise Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (May)