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Extended Audio Sample Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel, by James Lee Burke Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Lee Burke Narrator: Will Patto Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Weldon Avery Holland Series Release Date:
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From New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke comes a sprawling thriller drenched with atmosphere and intrigue that takes a young boy from a chance encounter with Bonnie and Clyde to the trenches of World War II and the oil fields along the Texas-Louisiana coast.

It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when sixteen-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clyde’s stolen automobile.

Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp. Eventually, Weldon and Rosita fall in love and marry and, with Hershel, return to Texas to seek their fortunes.

There, they enter the domain of jackals known as the oil business. They meet Roy Wiseheart—a former Marine aviator haunted with guilt for deserting his squadron leader over the South Pacific—and Roy’s wife Clara, a vicious anti-Semite who is determined to make Weldon and Rosita’s life a nightmare. It will be the frontier justice upheld by Weldon’s grandfather, Texas lawman Hackberry Holland, and the legendary antics of Bonnie and Clyde that shape Weldon’s plans for saving his family from the evil forces that lurk in peacetime America and threaten to destroy them all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] pitch-black, decades-spanning family saga.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A big, broad, engagingly overstuffed new novel set with rousing confidence in midcentury Texas…Like much of Burke’s fiction, it’s saturated with the romance of the past while mournfully attuned to the unholy menace of the present…The novel is also full of prose as strong and precise as Hershel Pine’s pipeline welds…And then there’s Burke’s sense of place, which is so richly interwoven with his sense of history.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Burke’s last three novels, Light of the World, Creole Belle, and Feast Day of Fools, were arguably his best. Wayfaring Stranger joins them as one of his most powerful and ambitious novels to date.”

    Associated Press

  • “A historical novel, a thriller, a romance, and an irresistible read.”

    Tampa Bay Tribune

  • “Burke’s fans will recognize his lyrical strengths regarding the themes of social justice and class struggle, violence set to a stunning backdrop of natural beauty and destruction, and a Gulf Coast region that includes historically accurate details to delight Texas and Louisiana natives…Perhaps more than any of Burke’s previous work, Wayfaring Stranger is a tender love story, proving yet again his versatility and skill in creating gorgeous, luscious, painful stories of the American experience. Beautifully composed and tragic, Wayfaring Stranger is a sweeping historical epic of war and the American dream.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “The story of one man’s struggle to live with integrity in postwar America. Burke, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series, writes with great assurance and wisdom, as well as a kind of bitter nostalgia for lost innocence.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Similar in sweep to Edna Ferber’s Giant, this intricately plotted novel is recommended to readers interested in dramatic renderings of the societal changes of postwar America.”

    Library Journal

  • “An ambitious, deeply satisfying historical thriller…The wartime scenes showcase Burke at his best—vivid, finely wrought, highly evocative writing…A wonderful slice of midcentury American life overlaid with the roiling drama of individual lives as only Burke can portray them.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The postwar setting allows Burke to dramatize the uncertain early days of big oil, but the characters, their volcanic conflicts and their implacable demons will be instantly recognizable to Burke’s many fans. Instead of focusing on the wages of long-ago sin, as he generally does, Burke shows the sins actually being committed over several fraught years in the nation’s history. The result is a new spaciousness married to his fine-tuned sense of retribution.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Will Patton’s narration of Burke’s novel is notable for its energy…Holland is a complex character listeners won’t want to miss, and Patton’s Texas accents are superb…All the major characters in the story—including Rosita and Holland’s former commander—have demons that Patton ably brings out. This book and Patton’s reading are outstanding.”


  • “Burke is, for me, one of the great American novelists—in any genre. In more than thirty novels over four decades, he has demonstrated repeatedly that he is a supreme storyteller and among the finest writers of contemporary prose.”

    Daily Mail (London), praise for the author

  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, July 2014
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, July 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014: Mysteries and Thrillers
  • Nominated for the 2015 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense
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