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Extended Audio Sample Rain Gods: A Novel Audiobook, 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 (2,001 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: July 2009 ISBN: 9780743582421
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When Hackberry Holland became sheriff of a tiny Texas town near the Mexican border, he'd hoped to leave certain things behind: his checkered reputation, his haunted dreams, and his obsessive memories of the good life with his late wife, Rie. But the discovery of the bodies of nine illegal aliens, machine-gunned to death and buried in a shallow grave behind a church, soon makes it clear that he won't escape so easily.

As Hack and Deputy Sheriff Pam Tibbs attempt to untangle the threads of this complex and grisly case, a damaged young Iraq veteran, Pete Flores, and his girlfriend, Vikki Gaddis, are running for their lives, hoping to outwit the bloodthirsty criminals who want to kill Pete for his involvement in the murders. The only trouble is, Pete doesn't know who he's running from: drunk and terrified, he fled the scene of the crime when the shooting began. And there's a long list of people who want Pete and Vikki dead: crime boss Hugo Cistranos, who hired Pete for the operation; Nick Dolan, a strip club owner and small-time gangster with revenge on his mind; and a mysterious God-fearing serial-killer-for-hire known as Preacher Jack Collins, with enigmatic motives of his own.

With the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a host of cold-blooded killers on Pete and Vikki's trail, it's up to Sheriff Holland to find them first and figure out who's behind the mass murder before anyone else ends up dead. In this thrilling and intricate work, James Lee Burke has once again proven himself a master storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of the darkest corners of the human heart. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Crazy he may be, but Preacher is one of Burke’s most inspired villains—cruel and violent, but also profoundly moralistic and self-loathing, qualities that he shares with Hackberry Holland, as he informs the guilt-haunted sheriff when they finally meet.” 

    New York Times

  • “One of Burke’s most powerful books.” 

    Independent (London)

  • “Burke is not just maintaining his high level of writing that runs throughout more than thirty books…he’s getting better, tighter, leaner, tougher.” 

    California Literary Review

  • “The landscape of Rain Gods is harsh, the chase scenes harrowing, the denouement crackling with lightning and mad laughter, not to mention tarantulas and rattlers…James Lee Burke knows how to creep us out, and bring us to ground with a jolt.” 

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Gold | 2/20/2014

    " I'm about 1/3 through. One of our best writers, but at times the artistry overwhelms the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald E. | 2/7/2014

    " Good ole' vet cowboy cop and young assistant in Texas trying to catch a bunch of psycho assassins. Got to love it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/4/2014

    " This is Burke's version of No Country for Old Men, and I think it's probably better than Cormac McCarthy's book. Also now has a sequel that I think is a bit better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Gillespie | 1/28/2014

    " I enjoyed this book for its interesting, flawed characters and its depiction of Texas. A bit ponderous in the middle but still a wonderful book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 1/27/2014

    " Think I would have enjoyed it more if I could have read it without so much interruption. "

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

    " Hackberry Holland is the main character, not Dave Robicheaux. They do have a lot in common. But Hack is a sheriff. This is great melodic writing, painting a picture of the southern Texas landscape that evokes the heat waves and dusty grit to match the gritty characters. Preacher is the bad guy with principles in this one. An Hack and Preacher have a certain kind of respect for each other. The owner of the strip clubs (Nick Dolan) and definitely his wife are characters that you will never forget. This is really good writing, making great reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Antoinette Kelly | 1/15/2014

    " Not Dave Robicheaux but a Texan. The story is grim but he does describe nature beautifully and delves into his characters' emotions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 rinabeana | 1/15/2014

    " I liked Hack much better than in the first book, though it took a little while to adjust to the third person narrative and the fact that so much time had elapsed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bradley | 1/6/2014

    " James Lee Burke brings us a second serving of Texas sheriff Hackberry Holland in a novel full of personality and atmosphere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha Crouse | 1/5/2014

    " Wonderful descriptions in a crime novel--sets atmosphere excellently. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbie Collins | 12/30/2013

    " Good story, gripping. Unfortunately there is way too much violence for me. It kept me involved, but after a while, I couldn't take all the death. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd Geist | 12/19/2013

    " Pretty good, but brutal. The main character is pretty interesting. I will probably read more of this guy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack G | 12/17/2013

    " I enjoyed Huckberry Holland .... there is still hope for us older folks. Preacher is a complex and in some ways appealing villan . The portraits of the various characters were very well done and some of his reflections on both the place and time of Huckberry were outstanding . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed Lyon | 12/7/2013

    " Good but I like Burke's books that are set in New Orleans better. Pretty bloody. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jo | 12/6/2013

    " I'm either starting to get over my love of Burke's writing or this story just didn't quite work. I didn't get as emotionally invested with Hackberry as I do with Dave or Billy Bob. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorie | 9/23/2013

    " This was another great book from James Lee Burke. I would recommend any of his books to anyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Murray O'Brien | 4/23/2013

    " I like the way JLB lays down a story. I was not a big fan of the characters and their curcumstances. It felt like a social documentary where I found it easy to negatively judge them. It was a good read though and I will definately acquire the next Hackberry Holland adventure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey Hammerhead | 10/25/2012

    " James Lee Burke takes you through many emotions in this book. I must admit, I liked Jack Collins. I love the way Burke describes teh landscapes and the people. Great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 8/17/2012

    " Great characters finding a way through various bad situations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 4/29/2012

    " Sodden with simile and so thick with purple prose hard to see through it all to the heart of the story. It wasn't a bad premise but it buckled under its own weight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myrna | 2/27/2012

    " Good development of various odd ball characters from the good guys to the bad. About a small town sheriff in the Tex-Mex boarder who feels his age investigating a mass killing of Asian girls. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cammie | 12/21/2011

    " James Lee Burke is one of best writers of our times. He is one of the few writers whose books I will purchase in hard cover because I can't wait for the paperback version to come out. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha | 11/26/2011

    " my least favorite of the James Lee Burke books I have read. TOO dark, although that's what attracts me to his other books. Just couldn't get into the main character, Hackberry Holland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 11/9/2011

    " Very good book. I love James Lee Burke. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 10/18/2011

    " Interesting story. I think Burke tells the story with interesting and different details. Reminded me of No Country For Old Men- Preacher is very like the antagonist of that book / movie. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Charlene | 6/29/2011

    " Read 6 chapters & seriously could NOT get into it. Taking it back to the Library TODAY! ugh! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 6/28/2011

    " This would make a great movie ala "No Country for Old Men." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Milo | 5/17/2011

    " Another classic case od writing read by the absolute finest reader on the scene. Burke and Patton are the ultimate team. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 5/5/2011

    " Good but I like Burke's books that are set in New Orleans better. Pretty bloody. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kasa | 5/3/2011

    " Too many similarities to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN kept me from being too engaged.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 L | 4/6/2011

    " Even though Hackberry Holland is a solid character, thoughtful, etc., I prefer the Dave Robicheaux books, probably because of the setting. Also, this book was more complicated that it needed to be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/2/2011

    " James Lee Burke is the best! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 4/1/2011

    " 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 Rick | 4/1/2011

    " This was another great read by my favorite Author, to me know one can describe a scene better than JLB. I was a little hesitent at first because this wasn't a Dave Robicheux Novel but I'm glad I decided to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cath | 3/21/2011

    " Minor Burke - his habit of circling his plot rather than trapping it and carrying it home becomes tiresome here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 3/4/2011

    " New Character but still one of the best writers I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 1/17/2011

    " I enjoyed Huckberry Holland .... there is still hope for us older folks. Preacher is a complex and in some ways appealing villan . The portraits of the various characters were very well done and some of his reflections on both the place and time of Huckberry were outstanding . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 stan | 1/13/2011

    " What a start to the year a great book . must go down as a classic "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ludwig | 1/12/2011

    " great mystery, good ending. james lee burke kept the book flowing so i was always wanting
    to know what was going to happen next. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 1/10/2011

    " This would make a great movie ala "No Country for Old Men." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 1/6/2011

    " Can't go wrong with James Lee Burke. He has a unique way of describing the most mundane things. His use of the English language is refreshing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 1/5/2011

    " Burke is by far the best contemporary crime fiction writer I know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 1/5/2011

    " I loved the two main characters of this book, the sheriff and the killer. They are both very complex characters with common elements. Yet one is a sociopath and one is a good human being. Very interesting play on things. "

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About the Author
Author James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of more than thirty novels and two collections of short stories, including the New York Times bestsellers Creole Belle, Dixie City Jam, The Glass Rainbow, Rain Gods, Pegasus Descending, The Tin Roof Blowdown, Feast Day of Fools, and more.. His novel The Lost-Get Back Boogie was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and two of his books, Heaven’s Prisoners and Two for Texas, have been made into motion pictures.

About the Narrator

Will Patton is an award–winning actor who has narrated audiobooks by such authors as Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, Don DeLillo, and Ernest Hemingway. He has won thirty-two AudioFile Earphones Award for his narrations. His numerous film credits include Remember the Titans, The Punisher, The Mothman Prophesies, Armageddon, and The Spitfire Grill. He starred in the TNT miniseries Into the West and on the CBS series The Agency and won Obie Awards in the theater for his performances in Fool for Love and What Did He See.