Another Kind of Eden – by James Lee Burke

This is a new book in the Hackberry Family / Holland Family series.  I’ve been reading these books for many years but at this point it’s only as they come out.  I’m tempted to go back and reread some of them.  

Another Kind of Eden
by James Lee Burke
2021 /
read by Will Patton 6h 19m
rating: A / crime
(Hackberry / Holland series which aren’t necessarily in chronological order.)

Actually, someone mentioned Neon Rain on the 4-Mystery Addicts list and that got me thinking but within a day I discovered this new Holland Family book by Burke. Oh yes!!!

Back in 1995 or so I discovered In the Electric Mist with Confederate Deadwith Confederate Dead and I’ve been stuck on James Lee Burke ever since. But the first Holland Family book was probably Cinnamon Rose back in 2000 or so. Then I found Lay Down My Sword and Shield which was first published in 1971 (?) but ereleased and I’ve kept up with the Holland stories.  I’ve actually only kept up since I got online with Amazon in 1996 – then I could easily get the books I wanted, pronto!

 I like the Dave Robicheaux books best, but the Holland books are close except for one thing – more below but maybe also I just got used to Clyde Purcell (Robicheaux’s sidekick) and am more familiar with the the characters of that series. 

Anyway! This time we have Aaron Holland Broussard again and now it’s the 1960s.  He was featured in The Jealous Kind which was set in Houston of the 1950s. Aaron is the grandson of the elder Hackberry Holland who was in The House of the Rising Sun. From what I gather, between books Aaron went to college and studied writing because he talks about that.

And Hackberry Holland-the-younger was in Rain Gods where, after serving in Korea, he became a lawyer and finds the bones of Korean women buried in a remote cemetery in South Texas.

These are great:

So much for all that.  In “Another Kind of Eden” it’s the early 1960s and Aaron Holland Broussard is out of college.(It’s mentioned that his father was from Bayou Teche which happens to wind east of New Iberia which is the general location of the Dave Robicheaux books).  Now he’s riding the rails (instead of the range like his great-grandfather Holland) and looking for a novel to write.  He’s working rather lamely at various places in Colorado where he finds himself caught up with some “beatniks” and drugs and some ugly trouble and a bit of mysticism as well as love with an artist . There’s a pretty good mystery plot in there, too, btw, fwiw. Heh.

The books all use what is essentially the same theme, good vs gritty evil.  And they all have the metaphor drenched prose Burke is known for, the settings change is all.

In the Robicheaux novels the plot is soaked in incredible Biblical type prose with some Arthurian legend thrown in and set in the lush Louisiana Bayou country. For the Holland novels the setting is in the deserts of Texas, Colorado and Mexico.  The prose works much better in the setting of Spanish Oaks and sugar cane with a lazy river winding through it – that might just be me, the desert setting also works as a rendition of hell, but that’s a bit stretched.

 The Holland family stories are more historical and they’re based on Burke’s family history. These books are basically all stand-alones but the characters are connected in the background.  

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