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Extended Audio Sample Feast Day of Fools: A Novel, by James Lee Burke Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,511 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Lee Burke Narrator: Will Patton Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Hackberry Holland Series Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781442344259
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Celebrated crime master and two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke returns with a gorgeously crafted, brutally resonant chronicle of violence along the Texas-Mexico border.

Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town, meting out punishment and delivering justice in his small square of this magnificent but lawless land. When an alcoholic ex-boxer named Danny Boy Lorca begs to be locked up after witnessing a man tortured to death by a group of bandits, Hack and his deputy, Pam Tibbs, slowly extract the Indian man’s gruesome tale. It becomes clear that the desert contains a multitude of criminals, including serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins (whom the New York Times called “one of Burke’s most inspired villains”).

Holland’s investigation leads him to Anton Ling, a mysterious Chinese woman whose steely demeanor and aristocratic beauty compel Hackberry to return to her home again and again as the investigation unfolds.

James Lee Burke is at his engrossing and atmospheric best in this, his thirtieth novel, as Hackberry plumbs the depths of man’s inhumanity to man—from killers-for-hire, to the US government, to the misguided souls in search of a better life across the border.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “James Lee Burke presses onward with his singular mission to rewrite the American western.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “If you believe, as Burke does, that beauty and horror go hand in hand in this life, then he can touch you in ways few writers can.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Burke’s evocative prose remains a thing of reliably fierce wonder.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “America’s best novelist.” 

    Denver Post

  • “Holy shit does this novel crush into its pages a whole war chest of bloody drama and brutal questions about what it means to be an American and a Christian and a Christian American in the new century. James Lee Burke—muscular and elegiac, brutal and compassionate—is a Stetson-wearing, spur-jangling giant among novelists.

    Esquire

  • “Packed with lush imagery and allegorical heft, Feast Day of Fools is a tightly wound thriller that reconfirms James Lee Burke’s status as a master storyteller.” 

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the October 2011 Indie Next List
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2011
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2011
  • A 2012 Audie Award Finalist for Mystery
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, September 2011
  • A 2011 Hammett Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abeille | 2/20/2014

    " I hate to say this, but this book disappointed me. A lot of the ingredients that make Burke's other books work for me are here, but the end result still falls flat. For one, it felt like this book went on too long. I'm rarely eager for a book to end, but I found myself asking "Are we there yet?" often in the last third of the book. It also felt like the main character, Hackberry Holland, didn't make any progression from the beginning of Rain Gods to the end of Feast Day of Fools. He's still the same man, fighting the same demons over and over again but not achieving any kind of closure or growth. I'm sure that's realistic, but it doesn't make for a satisfying read. One other dissonant note that I found in this book is that one really has to have read the preceding book (Rain Gods) to understand the character of Jack Collins. It really felt like the author assumed readers would already have knowledge of all that happened in the earlier book. Having said that, there are some wonderful moments and characters in Feast Day of Fools. Burke is still a great writer and draws scenes like a master. I just hope he has a more ruthless editor for his next book. Book #38 in the Book a Week Challenge from the #WTM boards. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace | 2/18/2014

    " I recieved this from First Reads and I am so glad I did! Sheriff Hackberry Holland is once again trying to keep the peace in his small Texas town while dealing with arms dealers, serial killers , and of course, Preacher Jack Collins. Dark, violent, and disturbing, this is James Lee Burke at his best!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 2/15/2014

    " James Lee Burke reintroduces Preacher Jack Collins, a monster of a hitman-serial killer. Hack Holland wants to hunt down Collins, but ends up using him to kills another killer. If you can't get a Lt. Dave Robicheaux book from Burke, then a Hack Holland mystery is an acceptable substitute. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 2/8/2014

    " Good story. Good family of characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane Cowell | 1/25/2014

    " Another great book from James Lee Burke. Lyrical, mystical and violent all at once. A complex mystery that explores retribution, salvation and the nature of evil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hopeton Hay | 1/20/2014

    " The best book I've read by Burke. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mindy | 1/20/2014

    " Will Patton did his usual excellent job of narrating this book on CD. I don't think I will ever get tired for James Lee Burke novels. Here again he did a superb job (IMHO) of bringing to life the landscape and the people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue Radley | 1/18/2014

    " Great read. A book that you do not want to put down "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 1/13/2014

    " I prefer the Dave Robicheaux series, but James Lee Burke is a great writer and Hackberry Holland has enough quirks and integrity to keep my interest. But I wonder, a bit, at the energy level and athleticism of this Korean vet. I can't quite suspend my disbelief. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Harry | 12/22/2013

    " Too long. Unsatisfactory ending. Another 70+ year old acting like a man half his age. Not Burke at his best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie Mcnamara | 12/18/2013

    " An author that never fails to write a beautiful/intense mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian Grover | 12/11/2013

    " Read this on the way to San Antonio to try and get a little Texas flavor. I think I liked it about as much as I can like this type of book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edward | 8/18/2013

    " I love reading James Lee Burke. This one a few too many violent crims for my liking but I love reading JLB's writing. I simply find joy with his descriptions of life and landscapes. I listened to this book read by Will Patton and that makes it special as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Grace Walsh | 7/9/2013

    " Burke never disappoints me. The pictures he paints of the Southwest take me there. His insight into human nature is so vivid I end up "knowing" each character. Above all I read Burke because he is one of our finest writers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Al Canary | 5/31/2013

    " Just OK! Picked up a B&N markdown table for Hardcovers. Found that all of Burke's charactors are larger that life & dialog sounds nightmarish! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ly Vuong | 11/29/2012

    " Well developed characters of Sheriff Hackberry Holland and Preacher Jack Collins. Fascinated story, with twists and turns that keep reader on the seat edge from beginning to end. Wonderful novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 10/18/2012

    " there were about four too many "bad guy" groups running around in the desert all after the same guy. much of it was superfluous "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 6/23/2012

    " I usually really enjoy James Lee Burke's books but this one is a Sheriff Hackberry one, and while he's a good character this wasn't a great plot and I prefer the Dave R. character anyway. A decent read but just not one of his best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cal | 4/29/2012

    " I enjoy Burke's writing as he is able to convey complexity of characters well. There are lots of rabbit trails that all converge; at times the narrative line falls away as he digresses into the individuals for extended periods. Felt like No Country for Anyone after listening for a couple hours. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mark | 3/19/2012

    " Mediocre. Too much language and other distasteful subject matter "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vickie | 11/21/2011

    " Has there ever been a James Lee Burke book I didn't like? This one is full of very evil people. But, even with all of that evil, he manages to convey the plot action and scenes with such poetry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 11/6/2011

    " I am a sucker for Mr. Burke. I love the language and the epic sense and even the super realism which sometimes can challenge one. But thoroughly loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynette | 11/4/2011

    " What is not to like? This is another great book by one of my favorite authors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vickie | 11/2/2011

    " Has there ever been a James Lee Burke book I didn't like? This one is full of very evil people. But, even with all of that evil, he manages to convey the plot action and scenes with such poetry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wilma | 11/2/2011

    " Loved this book~~actually read it through twice in a row because there is so much to it. What can one say about the beautiful, uncomprable prose of James Lee Burke except the advice: don't miss it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edward | 10/29/2011

    " I love reading James Lee Burke. This one a few too many violent crims for my liking but I love reading JLB's writing. I simply find joy with his descriptions of life and landscapes. I listened to this book read by Will Patton and that makes it special as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 10/27/2011

    " James Lee Burke reintroduces Preacher Jack Collins, a monster of a hitman-serial killer. Hack Holland wants to hunt down Collins, but ends up using him to kills another killer. If you can't get a Lt. Dave Robicheaux book from Burke, then a Hack Holland mystery is an acceptable substitute. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 10/26/2011

    " Loved this book--violent, but filled with great writing and philosophy. It reminded me of the movie--No Country For Old Men--I would highly recommend this one "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 JoAnn | 10/25/2011

    " This novel contains many great characters both good and evil. Everything is not set in the personalities evoked, but mixed and many faceted. The story is well told and draws one forward from beginning to end.

    I enjoyed this book very much and give it a high recommendation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Burt | 10/22/2011

    " James Lee Burke just keeps the books coming and this one is as good as usual. "

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