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Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel Audiobook, by James Lee Burke Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James Lee Burke Narrator: Will Patton Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Weldon Avery Holland Series Release Date: July 2014 ISBN: 9781442369931
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2015 Audie Award Finalist for Thriller/Suspense

In his most ambitious work yet, New York Times bestseller James Lee Burke tells a classic American story through one man's unforgettable life.

In 1934, 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 with Weldon firing a gun, unsure whether it hit its mark.

Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland barely survives the Battle of the Bulge, in the process saving the lives of his sergeant, Hershel Pine, and a young Spanish prisoner of war, Rosita Lowenstein—a woman who holds the same romantic power over him as the strawberry blonde Bonnie Parker, and is equally mysterious. The three return to Texas where Weldon and Hershel get in on the ground floor of the nascent oil business.

In just a few years’ time Weldon will spar with the jackals of the industry, rub shoulders with dangerous men, and win and lose fortunes twice over. But it is the prospect of losing his one true love that will spur his most reckless act yet—one inspired by that encounter long ago with the outlaws of his youth.

A tender love story and pulse-pounding thriller, Wayfaring Stranger "is a sprawling historical epic full of courage and loyalty and optimism and good-heartedness that reads like an ode to the American Dream" (Benjamin Percy, Poets & Writers). Download and start listening now!


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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About the Author

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 numerous New York Times bestsellers. 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 and narrator. HIs narrations have earned the prestigious Audie Award for Best Fiction Narration and also won dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards. 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.