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Feast Day of Fools (Hackberry Holland #3)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,230 Ratings  ·  470 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 463 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 1st 2011)
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Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern11/22/63 by Stephen KingBossypants by Tina FeySteve Jobs by Walter Isaacson Best Books of 2011: The Top 100
58th out of 100 books — 184 voters
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara GranThe Sentry by Robert CraisCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom FranklinHeadstone by Ken BruenFeast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke
Bast Books of 2011
5th out of 16 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Nelson
Chalk me up to the James Lee Burke hero worshipping fan club, I wanna go to Texas, the place has an atmosphere and the author brings it to your door in all its glory, although glory is perhaps the wrong word, sordid and a mite sleazy may be a more apt descriptions.

Feast day of fools is the third in the Hackberry Holland trilogy and if you read my review of Rain Gods you'll know how highly I rate this series. This one maintains those high standards but please be aware that if you start this serie
Oct 23, 2011 Mary rated it did not like it
I have just finished reading James Burke’s Feast Day of Fools. There were several times during the reading that I wanted to stop and just put it away but I kept on. I kept on because I wanted to understand why this book was so popular and highly recommended. Reviews use terms like “riveting”, “irresistible”, “an exemplar of all that is great in American writing”. The characters are described as “authentic” and “one of Burke’s most inspired villains.” What the book is actually about is violence, ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Fools, mostly evil filled, flawed ones, populate this latest novel from James Lee Burke. And there is plenty of violence in this novel filled with violent and damaged people. The sociopath Preacher Jack Collins, probably Burke's most evil character ever, returns from the previous Hack Holland novel, Rain Gods. James Lee Burke's writing is brilliant as surprises there. If you look past the violence you can see his thoughts and views on politics and religion woven into the story.

Michelle Lancaster
Apr 02, 2013 Michelle Lancaster rated it really liked it
By James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster 463 pgs
Rating - Read This!
James Lee Burke is one of my top five authors. By my best accounting he has written 31 books. He is probably best known for the Dave Robicheaux novels that follow the life and times of a deputy sheriff in New Iberia, Louisiana. One of these novels, The Lost Get-Back Boogie, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Mr. Burke has a gift for description that defies description so I won’t try. I’ll just say that you can feel
Donna Bridwell
Nov 09, 2011 Donna Bridwell rated it it was amazing
James Lee Burke has been quoted as saying Feast Day of Fools is his best work to date. I haven’t read all of his novels, but I have read several, and I can agree that Feast Day of Fools is the best of his books that I have read (although all I have read are quite good). Feast Day of Fools has several intricate, almost allegorical, themes and subplots. The characterizations are thorough, with most of the main characters being neither 100% good or evil, but an interesting combination of both – lik ...more
Ishmael Seaward
Oct 30, 2011 Ishmael Seaward rated it it was ok
Not one of his better books. The cast of characters seems unlikely for the location, (a Russian gangster who runs a game farm?) and Jack Collins reappears. Jack Collins is one of the most inconsistent characters I have come across, obviously educated but given to wasting the education on people who do not or cannot appreciate it, and then complaining about it. I had very little sense of the time span of this book, whether two days or two weeks. Burke also seemed more interested in describing the ...more
Oct 15, 2011 wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: burke
never have read a single story from this writer...but a few pages into this one and i can tell you that i'll be looking for more. wish i knew exactly how i came about this, likely...or i wonder if it had to do w/that other'n i read...warlock....

good start...gutsy gritty bloody...and i'd hazard some hard truths simply stated


yeah, i'll be looking for more from burke.

here's a sentence from late in the story:

upstairs, the thompson began firing again without letup, the rounds thudding
On the Texas border by Mexico, Danny Boy Lorca, a former boxer and alcoholic witnesses a brutal murder.

He tells Sheriff Hackberry Holland and his deputy that one man did escape and he heard the killers mention La Madelina, aka Anton Ling, a free spirited Chinese woman who sheltered illegal aliens. Danny also heard the leader referred to as Krill.

Krill has been hired to find the missing man, Noie Barnum because Barnum has info on the Preditor program and he wants to sell Barnum to Al Qaeda. Templ
Dan Oko
Nov 21, 2011 Dan Oko rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot, but I am not impartial. I don't read much of what might be considered genre fiction, but Jim Burke is a best-selling author, who has a been nominated for a Pulitzer, and a guy I admire. I met James Lee Burke at a film premiere for the ill-fated film adaptation of Heaven's Prisoners, when I was living in Missoula, Montana. The movie was not good. But in the books, his cinematic take on the criminal underworld, and moreover his sympathetic hero Detective Dave Robicheaux, a reco ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Sue rated it it was ok
Very violent, full of "bad guys," some of whom the author ultimately hoped the reader would vindicate later. There was really no one to root for. I had a hard time not giving it just one star
Glenda Alexander
Aug 13, 2011 Glenda Alexander rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary novel set in location few know about but who become intimately familiar while reading the graphic descriptions of the landscapes in which the characters find themselves and the climates in which they live, work, suffer many of those that survive contribute to their neighbors and communities. The deserts of America can be both uninteresting to view at times and at other times breathtakingly beautiful when nature creates different lighting, wind, clouds, rains, the smells borne on th ...more
Darrell Reimer
Jun 15, 2012 Darrell Reimer rated it liked it
The old gent manning the toll booth at Jasper National Park almost always had his nose buried in a paperback. One morning I asked him what he was reading. “Oh,” he said, grinning; “Louis L'Amour. Nobody writes 'em like he does!”

Midway through Feast Day Of Fools , I made a rough tabulation of how long I'd been reading James Lee Burke, and how many of his novels I'd read. My first Dave Robicheaux novel was A Morning For Flamingos, back in 1991. It's been 21 years now, and at least as many books.
Walter Cohen
Aug 21, 2012 Walter Cohen rated it it was ok
Let's be clear: I am a big James Lee Burke fan.

That said, Feast Day of Fools left me pretty cold. The story never grabbed me (not that it won't grab you)......a scientist of sort has the design of a drone in his head. He is kidnapped for sale to Al Queda and when that's too difficult he's going to be sold to a mobster. He is finally protected by Preacher Jack Collins (a character from previous Burke novels who is a bit scary).

And the characters were troublesome: I like Hackberry Holland.....but
Micah McCarty
Nov 16, 2011 Micah McCarty rated it it was amazing
Wow, this is probably the best book I've read so far this year. Apparently the author has written over 30 books and I've never even heard of him. I believed that this would be a five star book throughout the first three quarters of the book. However I ended with two minor complaints that might knock it down to 4 or 4 1/2 stars.

Number one: the author has numerous villains in the book that are such unique examples of evil (like McCarthy's Chugre) that there isn't enough room in the story for all
Peter Boysen
May 13, 2012 Peter Boysen rated it liked it
The 1890 U.S. Census was the first to report that all of the territory of the United States had been charted. As the twentieth century dawned, and technology created more and more ways to connect people to the government, from utility service to cellular phones to IP addresses, there were fewer and fewer ways to stay "off the grid."

All three of James Lee Burke's main characters (Dave Robicheaux, Billy Bob Holland and Hackberry Holland) find their lives intersecting with unsavory characters who r
Jann Barber
Feb 03, 2013 Jann Barber rated it liked it
This book was a selection for our mystery book club.

I felt as if this qualifies as a novel more than as a mystery, even when looking at "mystery" as "solving a puzzle" and not necessarily as "solving a murder."

Once you learn the meaning behind Feast Day of Fools, the title becomes a perfect fit for the storyline.

I have not read a Hackberry Holland book before and enjoyed Burke's story and character development. At times, his lush language got in the way and distracted me, but I know many people
Oct 31, 2011 Larry rated it really liked it
The third Hack Holland novel is good, but involves more tangled with bad people than even Burke's Dave Robicheaux books. Drug dealers, anti-immigrant loonies, all-purpose psychopaths, drunks, crooked politicians,crooked cops, government agents with uncertain agendas, renegade bikers, religious wackos, and, most daunting of all, people seeking a remission of their past wrongs, Hack Holland among them. The combination is interesting, but it may be one turn of the ratchet too many. Preacher Collins ...more
Kathleen Gear
Mar 06, 2015 Kathleen Gear rated it it was amazing
James Lee Burke's voice is so rare and his characters so superbly drawn that each book is a delight to read. This one was no exception. Loved it.
Amanda Spake
Not the best book by Burke and not the best of the Hackberry Holland books, which I love. Mainly, it was too long. I kept feeling the publisher had insisted Burke add 100 more pages to make the novel worth it's cover price. It bogs in the middle, which is uncharacteristic of a Burke novel. The other Hackberry Holland books are far more spare--and better. But I usually end up liking his novels in the end, and this was no exception. Still, I would have preferred not constantly looking ahead and sa ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Martha rated it it was ok
Too dark for my tastes! I usually like James Lee Burke novels, but this one left me depressed. Just too much evil for no reason (not that there usually is a reason, but...) I also felt like there were hidden meanings in conversations between Sheriff Holland and his deputy, Pam, that I couldn't understand; maybe the other two books in the series would have shed light on their complex relationship. Anyway, I finished it, but felt like the world wasn't a very pleasant place afterward.
Mike Billington
Jul 17, 2015 Mike Billington rated it it was amazing
I first encountered Hackberry Holland many years ago when I read James Lee Burke's "Lay Down My Sword and Shield."
Didn't like him much then. He was dissolute; an alcoholic who regularly cheated on his society wife, toady to a powerful political figure and an all-around, weak-willed loser. I so disliked him that even when he was apparently redeemed by the fierce woman who would later become his second wife I was unable to work up much sympathy for him.
I was hesitant, therefore, to pick up "Feast
Dec 26, 2011 Rapidio rated it did not like it
I have been a fan of James Lee Burke for many years, but I must say that this book is awful. His writing is as lyrical as ever and his descriptions of place are stellar, but even these strengths cannot save this totally unbelievable tale of good v evil, sorrow and redemption. Burke has always dealt in mans' inhumanity to man, but I fail to see how this volume adds to his panoply in any relevant manner. I would not recommend this book, even to fans of the author
Nov 01, 2011 Joe rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
so very sorry to say...being a HUGE fan of James Lee Burke..that this one...I had a tough time finishing, in fact...I found myself..skimming the pages just to get to the end. A bit TOO graphic even for a J L Burke fan like me but more it was the religious and biblical references mixed in with the pure evil of some of the characters that left me...feeling...almost Uncomfortable.
Mar 09, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Noie Barnum is on the run and a lot of people want him. Some people want to make him tell what he knows and others want to kill him before he tells. The only people that seem to actually want to help Noie are the sheriff of a Texas border town, Hackberry Holland, a man who believes in protecting the innocent and making wrong-doers pay for their misdeeds and Preacher Jack Collins, an amoral but brilliant killer whose motivation for this singular kind deed is known only to him. As the story begins ...more
Nov 09, 2011 Kelly rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I tried several times to read this latest book by one of my all-time favorite authors and simply could not get past about page 30. I don't like the Hackberry Holland books as much as some of the others, but still......just not for me. It goes back to the library unread and unlamented.
Kay Wright
Jan 22, 2012 Kay Wright rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So bad i started skipping the lyrical descriptions that brought me to Burke twenty years ago. no puzzle, one dimensional characters, lots of disgusting violence. What happened to the great writer? Maybe the prozac got in the way. What a shame.
Paul Pessolano
Aug 27, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“Feast Day of Fools” by James Lee Burke, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

James Lee Burke has written 30 novels. He is probably best known for his series that takes place in Louisiana and features Dave Robicheaux.

“Feast of Fools” features Hackberry Holland and has been in two previous novels, the most recent one “Rain Gods”.

Holland’s novels take place in Texas and are full of lotsa’s – lotsa great characters, lotsa mystery, and lotsa action.

Hackberry is tormented by hi
Larry Hoffer
Oct 22, 2011 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
At age 75, James Lee Burke may be one of our greatest living crime writers, if not simply one of the best writers around. He's won two Edgar Awards, been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and created some fantastically vivid characters in his more than 30 books. If you haven't read anything he has written, pick up one of his books. You won't be sorry.

Burke usually writes a novel a year, and lately switches between his longtime protagonist, Louisiana police detective Dave Robichaux, and Texas sher
Nov 07, 2011 Kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: detective-series
I love James Lee Burke and have read every one of his books, but this one was the hardest; I just could not get into it. Usually I just love to sit and absorb his beautiful writing, especially when he is describing scenery and setting; you can just see, hear and smell it.

But this time, the characters put a damper on the experience. Hackberry Holland is at least 80 years old and his very young (30's?) deputy is in love with him? Jack Collins is creepy, yes, and Holland despises him, yes, so their
Jul 22, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
This was a pleasant surprise. Not a happy book, but a fully engaging one. The story line was compelling (yet, alas, brutal), the characters were sufficiently compelling, the time(s) and place(s) interesting, and the prose was solid throughout and sublime, if not exquisite, in spots. As I (quickly) progressed through it, I was reminded of both No Country for Old Men (although, frankly, this is far more nuanced and, ultimately, gratifying) and Lonseome Dove (without being quite so epic in scale); ...more
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James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving
More about James Lee Burke...

Other Books in the Series

Hackberry Holland (4 books)
  • Lay Down My Sword And Shield (Hackberry Holland, #1)
  • Rain Gods (Hackberry Holland, #2)
  • House of the Rising Sun (Hackberry Holland, #4)

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“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.” 8 likes
“Hackberry tried to convince himself that Collins was dead, his body long ago eaten by coyotes or lost inside the bowels of the earth. Regardless, Hackberry told himself, Collins belonged in the past or the place in the collective unconscious where most demons had their origins. If evil was actually a separate and self-sustaining entity, he thought, its manifestation was in the nationalistic wars that not only produced the greatest suffering but always became lionized as patriotic events.” 0 likes
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