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Download Heartwood Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Heartwood, 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 (1,032 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Lee Burke Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Billy Bob Holland Series Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781442355903
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Few writers in America today combine James Lee Burke’s lush prose, cracking story lines, and tremendous sense of history and landscape. In Cimarron Rose, longtime fans of the Dave Robicheaux series found that the struggles of Texas defense attorney Billy Bob Holland show Burke at his best in exploring classic American themes—the sometimes subtle, often violent strains between the haves and the have-nots; the collision of past and present; the inequities in the criminal justice system.

Heartwood is a kind of tree that grows in layers. And as Billy Bob’s grandfather once told him, you do well in life by keeping the roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Holland’s dusty little hometown of Deaf Smith, in the hill country north of Austin, local kingpin Earl Deitrich has made a fortune running roughshod and tainting anyone who stands in his way. Billy Bob has problems with Deitrich and his shamelessly callous demeanor, but can’t shake the legacy of his passion for Deitrich’s “heartbreak-beautiful” wife, Peggy Jean.

When Holland takes on the defense of Wilbur Pickett—a man accused of stealing an heirloom and three hundred thousand dollars in bonds from Deitrich’s office—he finds himself up against not Earl’s power and influence but also a past Billy Bob can’t will away. A wonderfully realized novel, rich in Texas atmosphere and lore, Heartwood could only have been written by James Lee Burke, a writer in expert command of his craft.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Burke is a severe moralist but his tough hide soften like lambskin when he turns to oddballs, outsiders, and natural-born losers. Adopting the vision of these social outcasts…Burke shows us wonders.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gritty but graceful…Like a seasoned cowhand, Burke skillfully controls this unruly herd of characters…This tale of people who know their history yet are still doomed to repeat it is one you won’t easily put down—or forget.”

    People

  • “Hauntingly illuminates the muted regrets and tender dreams of a flawed but colorful community you’ll be sorry to leave.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “The work of a real writer, a man with a dark, sorrowful vision of a violent, self-destructive society. It confirms James Lee Burke’s position as one of the preeminent crime novelists of late-twentieth-century America.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “The novel compels for its lush portrayal of exquisite countryside; its beautifully composed, mood-setting scenes that pace the action; and the leisurely introductions that give dimension to the many eccentric characters…Rewarding.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Exhibits many of the author’s strengths: lyrical prose, an elegiac tone, and a complex, tormented hero…a strong novel.”

    Booklist

  • “Forget Raymond Chandler. The obsessive return of Burke’s ambitious themes, together with his characters’ inexhaustible capacity for courage, tenderness, and rage, makes him the Faulkner of the American crime novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debra Burgess | 2/20/2014

    " Found it hard to stay "involved" while reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Monroe | 2/2/2014

    " Another character to add for Burke along with Robicheaux its fantastic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/29/2014

    " The man can write. It almost doesn't matter what he writes about "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Biblophile | 1/23/2014

    " Excellent reading by Will Patton. Firstbook I've listened to by this author. Rich, lush prose and convoluted story line. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald Howell | 1/7/2014

    " 02/27/2012 - Good read, characters well defined. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leon Aldrich | 1/6/2014

    " Burke does it again with another yarn spun in Texas. If there is another author on the planet who turns catchy phrases with such ease, please share em' with me... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 12/17/2013

    " He's my favorite author. Read a Burke book and your in a dark theater by yourself surrounded and engulfed by his images. I've read them all but can only do so once every 3-4 months because in the end they are their message about the human condition is not hopeful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 11/10/2013

    " Another excellent novel author from James Lee Burke, I have yet to find an author who writes so well in describing the thoughts and emotions of his characters. This story flows along quickly with great depth and energy. Excellent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 11/10/2013

    " James Lee Burke is the greatest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Dickison | 10/29/2013

    " It can't get any better than this. A great storyteller with a great story to tell. Burke is now my favorite author. I generally don't like mystical storylines, but Burke makes this one live. I would advise everyone to read as much Burke as you can get your hands on. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Paddy | 9/29/2013

    " Burke can write a decent mystery, but the deluge of descriptors ("his green, almost-clear eyes," "her golden-glowed face") and lack of plot damn this book from page 2. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vinessa | 8/9/2013

    " My favorite of his books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 7/30/2013

    " Good mystery. I'd definitely read others by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Stoner | 6/1/2013

    " I think James Lee Burke's greatest skill may be his ability to create a vibrant sense of place. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Rowland | 5/14/2013

    " By the end of this book I started to like Billy Bob a bit more. On to the next one and it takes place in Montana which might help. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Fyke | 3/31/2013

    " Billy Bob, a lawyer in Texas. This one has to do with oil wells. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 3/27/2013

    " Billy Bob Holland tries to solve a murder, complicated by gang affiliates, the rich and powerful (and corrupt), a beautiful past romance, and touching moments fishing with a neighbor boy. Suspenseful and gritty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/11/2012

    " Anything by James Lee Burke is a great read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam Haan | 11/30/2012

    " I have never read this author before but I want to read more now. This book is about a tangled mess of crime, corruption, gangbangers and twisted human minds in South Central Texas. It is crime fiction but it has a little more depth than the typical mystery. I certainly recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mikel | 11/27/2012

    " The Billy Bob series is a great one. Burke really captures Texas (warts and all) very well. Looking forward to more from this series, as Dave Robicheaux can't go on forever. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rhonda | 10/21/2012

    " I really kind of liked this book better than the two stars imply. He reminds me of Larry McMurtry (whom I don't really care for) and it wasn't exactly a page-turner, but you want to know what happens. A rambling, unusual style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jake B | 8/11/2012

    " Fantastic book, will definitely read more of his stuff. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emma | 7/13/2012

    " Words can't describe how amazing this book was to me. "

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