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Bitterroot by James Lee Burke

Bitterroot (2001)

by James Lee Burke

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This one goes in the category of DNF (Did not finish). I do this when the audio sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher...."bwaa...bwaaa. bwaaaa". Billy Bob Holland, our narrator is a lawyer from Texas in Montana. He doesn't do any lawyering, just goes around getting in trouble with the local Sheriff. The book just did not click in my mind. And, what author, who lives in Montana, thought that the Clark Fork (of the Missouri) flows into the Columbia, on the other side of those large mountains on the West side of the state? Billy Bob should just stay in Texas, where he belongs. It was a strain to read. If this was a mystery I completely missed it. There was no real continuity. And, I have no idea what happened in the ending, because I never got that far. ( )
  buffalogr | Apr 29, 2017 |
It is a bit difficult to explain my "issue" with this series... but it has to do with how the main character, Billy Bob, is mainly just the "narrator" of the story. Most of the story is told from his point of view (with a couple slips into other POVs), but he is not really involved with committing any of the actions in the novel. He is there, and he talks about who did what and what's going on, but he doesn't play any pivotal role in any of it... This is fine, because the story is strong and interesting enough that we don't really need him to do much, but it does make me wonder why the author bothers to have a central recurring character who is rather incidental to the solving of the crime(s).

Billy Bob isn't a cop or a detective, or even a lawyer in these books (well, he IS a lawyer, but he doesn't do any lawyering)... he is just the backdrop around which a lot of bad guys do a lot of bad things. At the end justice is served, but not by Billy Bob... the bad guys seem to end up doing it to themselves.

Anyway, I really like the writing style and the characters "evilness" and the fact that justice gets served, so will be reading the next in the series. ( )
  crazybatcow | Aug 31, 2015 |
Bitterroot by James Lee Burke-Set in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, features Billy Bob Holland, former Texas Ranger and now a Texas based lawyer, who has come to Big Sky Country for some fishing and ends up helping out a old friend in trouble. Holland's in big trouble, in the form of Wyatt Dixon, a recent prison parolee swore to kill him as revenge of both his imprisonment and his sister's death. ( )
  Gatorhater | Jun 26, 2013 |
This is my first Billy Bob Holland book and the third in the series. Mark Hammer is an excellent narrator, but nobody reads James Lee Burke like Will Patton!

Billy Bob is a former Texas Ranger turned attorney. He left law enforcement after he and his partner chased some bad guys to Mexico and dispatched some vigilante justice. His partner died during the killing, and now his ghost follows Billy Bob, offering advice and acting as his conscience.

Billy Bob heads to Montana for an extended visit with an old friend and is drawn into a complex web of lies, deceit and violence. His son (it sounds like they are working on building a relationship) and investigator surprise him by coming up to stay as well. What is it with Burke and having his older male authority figures have relationships and sexual tension with their younger female subordinates? Kinda weird that it's consistent across his novels.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book. However, I love me some Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell, so that's still my favorite series by James Lee Burke. ( )
  bohemiangirl35 | Jul 14, 2012 |
bad guy Wyatt Dixon after Billy Bob Holland ex Texas Ranger in Montana ( )
  mtnmamma | Sep 29, 2011 |
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Doc Voss's folks were farmers of German descent, Mennonite pacifists who ran a few head of Brahman outside of Deaf Smith, Texas, and raised beans and melons and tomatoes and paid their taxes and generally went their own way.
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Danish title (2002): Sine egne rødder; German title: Die Glut des Zorns
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743411439, Mass Market Paperback)

Ex-Texas Rangers are suckers for old friends in distress, so when Vietnam vet and recent widower Doc Voss calls lawyer Billy Bob Holland from Montana with an apparently innocent invitation to visit, Billy Bob packs up and "head[s] north with creel and fly rod in the foolish hope that somehow my own ghosts did not cross state lines."

Doc has managed to alienate everyone in town, including mining interests on the Blackfoot River; a drug-running biker gang; an enclave of white supremacists, led by slimy Carl Hinkel; the local mob connection, in the person of an even slimier Nicki Molinari; and the feds, who don't want anything interfering with their pursuit of both Hinkel and Molinari. After Doc's daughter is brutally raped by three of the bikers, and those three are murdered in a particularly nasty fashion, Holland must try to clear his friend of suspicion. As he ferrets through a tangled web of coincidence and connection, Holland risks losing everything and everyone dear to him.

The wild card in the pack is Wyatt Dixon, a psychopathic ex-con who holds Holland responsible for his sister's death, and who has followed him to Montana: "[Wyatt] recycled pain, stored its memory, footnoted every instance of it in his life and the manner in which it had been visited upon him, then paid back his enemies and tormentors in ways they never foresaw."

James Lee Burke's prose alternately sparkles with a perverse insouciance ("Lamar had gotten his. Big time. Soaked in paint thinner and flame-roasted from head to foot like a burned burrito.") and glows with a muted intensity ("I closed the door and slipped the bolt and went back to sleep and hoped that the sun would rise on a better world for all of us."). The author's capacity to add depth to his characters with a few well-chosen phrases remains striking: the town sheriff walks "heavily, like a man who knew his knowledge of the world would never have an influence upon it"; a group of college boys is "suntanned and hard-muscled, innocently secure in the knowledge that membership in a group of people such as themselves meant that age and mortality would never hold sway in their lives."

Is the Billy Bob Holland series (three novels and counting) just Robicheaux Redux? The ex-Texas Ranger is, as either man might admit, the spittin' image of Dave Robicheaux, Burke's Louisiana PI: simultaneously rugged and rage-filled, chivalrous and callow, debonair and disturbing. And like the Robicheaux series, the Holland novels drift effortlessly among genres: regional writing, gritty noir, classic PI. You can cavil that Burke is repeating himself--or you can rejoice that Burke is continuing to enlarge his pool of intense, lyrical crime novels. Personally, I plump for the latter. --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Set in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, home to celebrities seeking to escape the pressures of public life, as well as to xenophobes dedicated to establishing a bulkhead of patriotic paranoia, Burke's novel features Billy Bob Holland, former Texas Ranger and now a Texas-based lawyer, who has come to Big Sky Country for some fishing and ends up helping out an old friend in trouble.". "And big trouble it is, not just for his friend but for Billy Bob himself - in the form of Wyatt Dixon, a recent prison parolee sworn to kill Billy Bob as revenge for both his imprisonment and his sister's death, both of which he blames on the former Texas lawman. As the mysteries multiply and the body count mounts, the reader is drawn deeper into the tortured mind of Billy Bob Holland, a complex hero tormented by the mistakes of his past and driven to make things - all things - right. But beneath the guise of justice for the weak and downtrodden lies a tendency for violence that at times becomes more terrifying than the danger he is trying to eradicate."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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