This is the first book in the Holland Family Trilogy by James Lee Burke, a new writer to me, but one to whom I will return again and again. The novel has wonderful writing and masterful dialogue.
The story begins in 1934 when 16 year old Weldon Holland sees Bonnie and Clyde camped out on his grandfather’s wooded land and eventually shoots into the back of their departing car “after one of their notorious robberies.” Fast forward 10 years and we meet Lieutenant Weldon Holland again as he survives the Battle of the bulge with fellow sole survivor of their platoon, Hershel Pine from Louisiana. The two find themselves behind German lines where they rescue Rosita Lowenstein “hiding in a deserted extermination camp.” The two, Weldon and Rosita marry, and with Hershel return to Texas. They start an oil company together.
Although Weldon, idealist that he is, thinks he has seen an end to evil in the war, he soon finds he must “…[save] his family and friends from the evil forces that lurk in peacetime America”– think McCarthy witch hunts, big oil brutality, corrupt cops, mafia influences and Hollywood corruption.
The book is an exhilarating, exciting, sometimes exhausting read, one which keeps the reader turning pages and holding his/her breath to see what happens next.
I can hardly wait to read book two which has just been published.