Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border
town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care.
Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a
perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many
decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to
keep his own demons at bay.
When alcoholic ex-boxer Danny Boy Lorca witnesses a man tortured
to death in the desert and reports it, Hack's investigation leads
to the home of Anton Ling, a regal, mysterious Chinese woman whom
the locals refer to as La Magdalena and who is known for sheltering
illegals. Ling denies having seen the victim or the perpetrators,
but there is something in her steely demeanor and aristocratic
beauty that compels Hackberry to return to her home again and again
as the investigation unfolds. Could it be that the sheriff is so
taken in by this creature who reminds him of his deceased wife that
he would ignore the possibility that she is just as dangerous as
the men she harbors?
The danger in the desert increases tenfold with the return of
serial murderer Preacher Jack Collins, whom The New York
Times called "one of Burke's most inspired villains." Presumed
dead at the close of Rain Gods, Preacher Jack has
reemerged with a calm, single-minded zeal for killing that is more
terrifying than the muzzle flash of his signature machine gun. But
this time he and Sheriff Holland have a common enemy.
Praised by Joyce Carol Oates for "the luminosity of his writerly
voice," James Lee Burke returns with his most allegorical novel to
date, illuminating vital issues of our time-immigration, energy,
religious freedom-with the rich atmosphere and devastatingly
flawed, authentic characters that readers have come to celebrate
during the five decades of his brilliant career.