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Cimarron Rose by James Lee Burke

Cimarron Rose (original 1997; edition 1997)

by James Lee Burke

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694813,712 (3.79)20
Title:Cimarron Rose
Authors:James Lee Burke
Info:Hyperion Books (1997), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, favorite authors

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Cimarron Rose by James Lee Burke (1997)



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The slowness of my reading is partly down to this book, which took me a loooonng time to get through. Not that it isn't well written; but I had a hard time with so many people making so many bad choices, especially the protagonist. This is the first in the Billy Bob Holland series, and I'll read another just to see how in the heck Burke turns him into a series character when he seems to be burning bridges at every step. The addition of a "ghost" and the device of quoting from Billy Bob's great-grandfather's diary add some literary feeling to the story and differentiate Billy Bob a little from Burke's other character, Dave Robicheaux, who otherwise has a lot of similarities to Billy Bob (and in fact I've only read one of the Dave stories, so who knows....)
I might not have finished this book at this time, except it was one of the Edgar Best Novels which I'm going through in order. It does have a strong sense of place and history both local and family, but I just hate to see people act stupid. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
In some ways, this book is not really that different from the Dave Robicheaux series (same author) in tone and pacing. In both series the main characters are strong, silent and violent but... I actually prefer Billy Bob over Dave... I think it's because much of Dave's angst stems from a military background to which I can't relate, and has a lot of alcoholism-taint to his behavior. Billy Bob has issues, but they aren't related to drugs or alcohol and the source of his angst makes sense, even though it's a bit far-fetched at first glance.

The plot is quite detailed - lots going on - and there are a couple threads where you wonder if everyone really will get what they deserve (you'll want them to). I think in the end things work out in a sensible way, though I think the "sex interest" was a bit out of place and both oddly started and oddly wrapped up. I did spend most of the novel wondering if (okay, worrying that) one of the "good guys" was going to be killed... that's a good thing because it means the story, and the characters in it, weren't predictable.

It is a gritty noir with a decent mystery and distinctive characters. I will be reading the rest in the series. ( )
  crazybatcow | Jun 11, 2012 |
not up to his best
  Papa51 | Mar 6, 2012 |
I've seen Burke praised for his wonderful style. I know an acquiring editor who gave Burke as an example of the best in terms of line-by-line writing, and if you look inside the covers of his books, you'll see him praised as the epitome of hard-boiled detective fiction. I think my problem with him is I really don't like hard-boiled fiction.

My first try was Neon Rain, the first Dave Robicheaux book, and I didn't like the book or the hero at all--only read about 60 pages before dropping it, because I don't find attractive the kind of testosterone-laden fic where police officers use their fists rather than their brain to get information out of suspects--Mike Hammer vigilante types do not charm me. Despite that Billy Bob Holland is possibly even worse than Robicheaux in that regard, I did find him more sympathetic, which is probably why I got further into this book. At least when Holland does get violent and takes the law into his own hands, he does so with style. *thinks of a certain scene with a horse ridden into a saloon and a bad guy lassoed* I think the other reason I liked Holland more is because the stakes are so personal. Holland is a lawyer in a small Texas town and a former Texas Ranger haunted (literally more or less) by his dead partner, L.Q. Navarro. The mystery Holland's trying to solve involves his own unacknowledged son, conceived from an adulterous relationship, Lucas Smothers, accused of rape and murder. There are even (more than one!) strong female characters.

However, I don't intend to keep this book on my bookshelf or try more James Lee Burke after this. I think it's that, given I don't care for the grittiness of noir, you really, really have to charm me to keep me reading. Dennis Lehane does that with his Patrick Kenzie series despite it also falling into the hard-boiled genre. Kenizie is such a wise ass, I enjoy the journey, the actual narration, and I love the chemistry between him and his partner Angie. Because of that, I can take the sordidness, the cynicism of the corrupt, violent world they navigate. Holland doesn't have as engaging a voice so that I want to follow him further, and more than once he struck me as too-stupid-to-live. That, and testosterone poisoning, is a deal breaker for me. This is a better than average mystery in terms of its prose writing, but it doesn't have the turns of plot or engaging characters to push it to really memorable for me. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jun 27, 2011 |
An interesting mix of western past and present. Even more smart ass dialog than in the Robicheaux books. But in the end it works pretty good. ( )
  Darrol | Jan 16, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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To my mother, Mrs. James L. Burke, Sr.,

and my aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. James Brown Benbow
First words
My great-grandfather was Sam Morgan Holland, a drover who trailed cows up the Chisholm from San Antonio to Kansas.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786889306, Mass Market Paperback)

Billy Bob Holland, the protagonist of Cimarron Rose, is an attorney in the dusty Texas town of Deaf Smith. An ex-Texas Ranger (cop, not ball-player) who mistakenly killed his partner during a drug bust, Holland is jolted from his brooding when his estranged illegitimate son is accused of the rape and murder of a party girl. He takes the case, of course, and things get complicated mighty quick. On a hunch only a father could believe, Holland is sure his son is being railroaded. Doggedly pursuing the truth, he runs afoul of sadistic cops, a powerful family, and the euphoniously-named Garland T. Moon, a feral thug with something to hide. Luckily, the folks on his team are just as tough. Burke's book isn't gritty realism--Holland's dead partner visits him often--but the characters ring true in a weird way. They are quirky and appealing, and even the criminals make good company while the whodunit unfolds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Former Texas Ranger Billy Holland, now a lawyer, is hired to defend a teenage boy accused of killing his girlfriend. It is a family affair of sorts, the man who hired Holland being the boy's stepfather. The real father is Holland.

(summary from another edition)

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