James Lee Burke - Rain Gods

Publishers: Simon & Schuster
 
ISBN:  9781439128244
 
My rating: 3/5
 
 
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 (goodreads.com)
 
 
My thoughts
 
My first book by James Lee Burke. Bottom line - great story. Why only 3 stars? Well several reasons.
 
The story has so many characters and story lines I won't even try and give a brief summary.
 
It took me quite a while to actually get into the story and a few chapters I had to re-read to remember the plot from the previous chapter and the characters. Once I  got hooked, I really enjoyed the book.
But it's a looooong book. Just short of 400 pages, I initially enjoyed Burke's detailed descriptions, "show not tell" paragraphs, but in the end, it was just too much and repetitious. The characters are interesting, but again the constant analysis of their past, emotions or behaviour was at times too much.
 
Not sure whether I started with the wrong story, but I will probably not add another book by James Lee Burke on my TBR file.

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