Some people said Danny Boy Lorca's visions came from the mescal that had fried his brains, or the horse-quirt whippings he took around the ears when he served time on Sugar Land Farm, or the fact he'd been a middleweight club fighter through a string of dust-blown sinkholes where the locals were given a chance to beat up what was called a tomato can, a fighter who leaked blood every place he was hit, in this case a rumdum Indian who ate his pain and never flinched when his opponents broke their hands on his face.
Danny Boy's black hair was cut in bangs and fitted his head like a helmet. His physique was as square as a door, his clothes always smelling of smoke from the outdoor fires he cooked his food on, his complexion as dark and coarsened by the sun and wind as the skin on a shrunken head. In summer, he wore long-sleeve cotton work shirts buttoned at the throat and wrists to keep the heat out, and in winter, a canvas coat and an Australian flop hat tied down over his ears with a scarf. He fought his hangovers in a sweat lodge, bathed in ice water, planted by the moon, cast demons out of his body into sand paintings that he flung at the sky, prayed in a loincloth on a mesa in the midst of electric storms, and sometimes experienced either seizures or trances during which he spoke a language that was neither Apache nor Navajo, although he claimed it was both.
Sometimes he slept in the county jail. Other nights he slept behind the saloon or in the stucco house where he lived on the cusp of a wide alluvial floodplain bordered on the southern horizon by purple mountains that in the late-afternoon warp of heat seemed to take on the ragged irregularity of sharks' teeth.
The sheriff who allowed Danny Boy to sleep at the jail was an elderly six-feet-five widower by the name of Hackberry Holland, whose bad back and chiseled profile and Stetson hat and thumb-buster .45 revolver and history as a drunk and a whoremonger were the sum total of his political cachet, if not his life. To most people in the area, Danny Boy was an object of pity and ridicule and contempt. His solipsistic behavior and his barroom harangues were certainly characteristic of a wet brain, they said. But Sheriff Holland, who had been a prisoner of war for almost three years in a place in North Korea called No Name Valley, wasn't so sure. The sheriff had arrived at an age when he no longer speculated on the validity of a madman's visions or, in general, the foibles of human behavior. Instead, Hackberry Holland's greatest fear was his fellow man's propensity to act collectively, in militaristic lockstep, under the banner of God and country. Mobs did not rush across town to do good deeds, and in Hackberry's view, there was no more odious taint on any social or political endeavor than universal approval. To Hackberry, Danny Boy's alcoholic madness was a respite from a far greater form of delusion.
© 2011 James Lee Burke
With lyrical intensity and deep compassion, James Lee Burke chronicles the violence along the Southwest border and the lives of those who, in pursuit of salvation, are hunted by evil. The long-awaited sequel to Rain Gods, Feast Day of Fools is Burke at his finest.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca—mocked among the locals for his “visions”—witnesses a man tortured to death in the desert, Sheriff Hackberry Holland hears the genuine fear in the broken man’s tale. Soon the desert reveals a multitude of criminals—including Hackberry’s nemesis, serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins. Presumed dead, Preacher Jack has reemerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing, but this time he and Sheriff Holland share a common enemy.…
Hardcover Book : 480 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc. ( September 27, 2011 )
Item #: 13-412359
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.062inches
Product Weight: 17.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
This is probably the best book I have ever read. I love everything James Lee Burke writes, but this was absolutely the best.
Reviewer: Kay S
Burke never disappoints. This is probably the edgiest of his books, a great read.
Reviewer: Gerry A
I love this book. James Lee Burke has never let me down and this is one of his best.
Like any novel by Burke even the hero isn't 100 % pure but boy are they human. It's always a good idea to keep a thersaurus handy when reading a Burke novel even if you have to break up violent murder scene to look up some flowery word in one of his metaphors. Another good cast of flawed characters.
Reviewer: Mike A