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Heartwood (Billy Bob Holland #2)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,629 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Billy Bob has a problem with local kingpin, Earl Deitrich, but also has a passion for Deitrich's wife. So he has to be very careful when he takes on the defense of Wilbur Pickett, a man accused of stealing from Deitrich.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 11th 2000 by Island Books (first published 1999)
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Geri Taylor
I picked up this book on tape at a garage sale for fifty cents. (Sorry, Mr. Burke, no royalties there) but it did get me started following this magnificent author and his two characters, Robicheaux and Holland, along with his short stories.
Generally, I enjoy reading books with strong female leads, but Mr. Burke has be hooked!
The Billy Bob series is a great one. Burke really captures Texas (warts and all) very well. Looking forward to more from this series, as Dave Robicheaux can't go on forever.
I sometimes feel like my 'Great American Detective' shelf should be called 'Great American Vigilantes', considering that Spenser and Jack Reacher share space on it with Harry Bosch and Elvis Cole. (It's a very chauvinistic category I've created for myself, here. Have to see about fixing that.) Billy Bob Holland is a lawyer, and justice is more important to him than fitting nicely into the system.

Burke is amazing storyteller, and I don't mean just that he has a knack hand with plot. He uses langu
Feb 22, 2008 Clare rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: James Burke afficianados, people from Texas, those who like a good mystery
I love any book by James Lee Burke and am determined to read them all. I especially enjoy his descriptions of the Louisiana landscape. This book is different: it takes place in Texas and stars Billy Bob Holland, a lawyer. I am so enamored of Burke's other hero, Dave Robicheaux, that I couldn't help but wish he was in this book too. I think I'm getting a little crazy when I'm starting to think of a book character like Dave as real but that gives you an idea of how good James Lee Burke's writing c ...more
I always give James Lee Burke's books five stars, because they are all outstanding. This time (1999) the main character is Billy Bob Holland, and it is before he marries Temple Carrol, his investigator. There are all kinds of interesting characters, most of whom could use the services of Billy as a lawyer, and the ghost of his former Texas Ranger partner, whom he tragically and accidentally shot to death. Lots of action, murder and some suspense.
"Heartwood", is the second in a series of stories 'starring' Billy Bob Holland, a defense lawyer who was a Texas Ranger. Like most of Burke's stories, it is beautifully written, haunting and you don't know what the hell motivates the characters to do the things they do. It certainly holds its own in his list of novels and if you are a fan of Burke, you will probably enjoy this book.
Burke is one of the best writers, maybe the best writer I've ever read.. Heartwood #2 book in the Billy Bob Holland series. I read this about 10-12 years ago but was worth reading again..Holland an ex Texas Ranger now an attorney in a small hill country town west of Austin trying to find justice against all odds. His best friend who he accidentally killed visits him still....
Dewayne Stark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leon Aldrich
Burke does it again with another yarn spun in Texas. If there is another author on the planet who turns catchy phrases with such ease, please share em' with me...
Totally deconstruct F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; swap around the characters; add drugs and some Native American magical realism; make the narrator a former Texas Ranger; set the story in the hill country west of San Antonio, and you will have something close to this crime novel from the fertile mind of James Lee Burke.

It even ends with a dead body in a swimming pool and a melancholy closing image much like Fitzgerald’s—not “boats against the current,” but a boy and girl in a customize
HEARTWOOD by James Lee Burke is 341 pages in hardback form. It is #2 in Billy Bob Holland series.

Brief Description:

Central to Burke's second Billy Bob novel (Cimarron Rose was his first) is Wilbur Pickett. Wilbur had a brief moment of glory as a rodeo cowboy before sliding into a downward cycle of luckless enterprises. He ends up laboring for a wealthy family, the Dietrichs, in the Texas town of Deaf Smith. The Dietrichs accuse Wilbur of stealing some bearer bonds, and Billy Bob--now a defense a
"In my mind's eye I saw Ronnie Cross and Esmeralda Ramirez flying down an empty six-lane highway through the countryside, the chromed engine roaring, the green dials on the walnut dashboard indicating levels of control and power that seemed to transcend the laws of mortality itself.

I thought of horsemen fleeing a grass fire in Old Mexico and civilian soldiers who waited with musket and powder horn at an adobe wall and a preacher who baptized by immersion and created a cathedral out of trees and
Jenna Allen
FINALLY! What publisher would publish this piece of nothing. This was a terrible book. Not only were things happening that didnt matter there wasnt even a whole story. it was like if i were a receptionist in a lawyers office and only got bits and pieces to the case as he was putting the story together and i had no idea what he was putting together.. The characters were terrble and had hardly any personality. Also the main character was talking to his dead partner the entire book and he wasnt muc ...more
Jim Jaqcobs
Not up to his other novels! Too many conversations between Billy bob and ghosts; too many dreamy descriptions of shade, sun, trees, etc and characters that were just not quite believable. I have read a number of Burke's other novels which I liked-this one not his best and a bit disappointing!

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Narrator: Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio, 2001
Length: 5 hours (abridged)

Publisher's Summary
In this story of haves vs. have-nots, past vs. present, justice vs. the justice system, Texas defense attorney Billy Bob Holland has his work cut out for him. According to Billy Bob's grandfather, you do well in life by keeping your roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Billy Bob's dusty little hometown of Deaf Smith, loc
Few can write of hard times as beautifully as James Lee Burke. Scenery becomes almost poetic, characters become so real they can make you hurt, and story telling that can't be surpassed.
L.A. Kent
Liked this and can appreciate that it is really well written. Just not as pacy as the Robicheaux series and the characters and storylines are quite gloomy, although very interesting.
James Seawel
James Lee Burke does not disappoint in Heartwood. It's not my favorite of his, but it's solid. Burke continues to paint a perfect portrait of the landscape and of the times of which he writes. He captures social classes and the regional identities of his subjects wonderfully. He continues his theme of good versus evil, battle of the sexes, and battles of the haves versus the have-nots. He tells the story of how Heartwood trees grow in layers from the inside out; this was told to the main charact ...more
Lisa Keating
Bill Bob Holland series # 2. Really enjoy this author as he is more laid back in his writing. He also has great descriptions of places and his characters.
Didn't care much for this book, although I do enjoy most of James Lee Burke's novels.
unfortunately I was only able to get my hands on the abridged audiobook. Probably one of the worst abridgments I've ever heard. Seems like if you're trying to cut down on the length of an audiobook, you wouldn't add in 30-60 seconds of slide guitar and dobro music in between each break in the story. At least 10-15 minutes of this audiobook were spent listening to unnecessary music interludes. very aggravating. The story was decent but not my favorite. I still get overwhelmed with Burke's writing ...more
Renita D'Silva
A fast paced, gritty thriller. Enjoyed it.
The story generates a sense of irrelevance. The characters are not that strong or connected. The central character always seems to be reacting instead of being proactive and there is plenty of empty space in his life. A feeling of ineptitude seems to pervade the story and there is no purpose to anyone's life. Reading this story was more work than joyful diversion. There were a couple of interesting moments toward the end involving San Antonio's Riverwalk and The Alamo. The characters were simply ...more
May 03, 2014 Dreama marked it as to-read
Shelves: james-lee-burke
Own. Haven't Read. 05/02/14
"HeartWood" Tells about all the undercuurrents in a small town both good and bad. There are people with money who use people and throw them away like garbage. There are others who go out of their way to help others. The author can tell you about places he's seen,the trees,land and flowers in a way that you almost feel like you are there!You can actually see them!He explains it all - the evil and the good in a very interesting way! I highly recommend this book!
Loved it!
I enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed this author.
Richard Miller
I like this character!
I thoroughly enjoy reading Mr. Burke's stories. I admit his style is not straight forward, but it is a terrific pleasure.
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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

Billy Bob Holland (4 books)
  • Cimarron Rose (Billy Bob Holland, #1)
  • Bitterroot (Billy Bob Holland, #3)
  • In The Moon Of Red Ponies (Billy Bob Holland, #4)
The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux, #1) The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux, #16) Black Cherry Blues (Dave Robicheaux, #3) The Glass Rainbow (Dave Robicheaux, #18) In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead (Dave Robicheaux, #6)

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“...young people...who were casually profane, as though the validation of their own power could be achieved only by their assault on the sensibilities of others.” 5 likes
“What kind of trees are those?" I asked.
"Heartwood," my father said. "They grow in layers, like the spirit does. That's what Grandpa Sam used to say, anyway. You just got to keep the roots in a clear stream and not let nobody taint the water for you.”
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