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Hackberry Holland Books In Order

Publication Order of Hackberry Holland Books

Lay Down My Sword and Shield (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rain Gods (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Feast Day of Fools (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The Hackberry Holland series is a series of thriller, detective fiction, and mystery novels written by one of the New York Times bestselling authors from America named James Lee Burke. This series consists of a total of 4 books which were published between the years 1971 and 2015. All the novels of the series feature the lead character in the form of Hackberry Holland, who is described by author Burke as a sheriff based in Texas. Hackberry was formerly a progressive Democrat and a prisoner of war of the Korean War. He has also worked as a lawyer previously at a time when he had a hard drinking habit. He is also depicted as the cousin of Billy Bob Holland, who is the lead character in one of the other mystery series written by author Burke. The description of the family history of the Holland family as is given by author Burke is that Son Holland was the patriarch of the family. In the year 1835, he escaped from a Louisiana prison along with Hugh Allison. Hugh was a former member of the gang called Mason-Harp. Later, Son fought in the San Jacinto Battle with his friends Deaf Smith and Sam Houston. Then he moves from Texas to live in the Milk River country in the Montana Territory along with Hugh. The son of Son Holland was Sam Morgan Holland, who served as a Confederate soldier. He was also a gunfighter, a drover of Reconstruction, an alcoholic, and a Rose Dunn lover, also called as Cimarron Rose. He gives away his guns later and becomes a Baptist preacher. Sam’s son is Hackberry Holland, who used to own ranches located near Kerryville, Texas, and Yoakum, San Angelo.

Holland was a city marshall as well as a range in Texas. He was in a violent and symbiotic relationship with a man named John Wesley Hardin at the time of the Sutton-Taylor feud. Hackberry Holland makes his appearance for the first time in a short story written by author Burke, which was called as ‘Hack’. In the Hackberry Holland series, he is introduced first in the novel titled ‘House of the Rising Sun’. The grandson of Hackberry is also named Hackberry Holland, who is actually the main protagonist of the series. Previously, he had served as a Navy corpsman and was injured in the battle of Chosin Reservoir. For three years, he had to remain hidden in a place known as Bean Camp located in No Name Valley. This place was a godforsaken wasteland piece in North Korea. Hackberry Holland gives a description of his experience at war in the first book of the series. Holland is seen again in the second and third books of the series in which he is seen as the chief protagonist. The cousin of Holland, Bob Holland, also used to work as a ranger and then became a lawyer. He is first seen in the novel titled ‘Cimarron Rose’, in which he is describes the love affair of Rose Dunn and Sam Morgan. Another character described in the series is the grandson of Hackberry Holland Senior, named Weldon Holland. Each and every book written by author James Burke in the series is in the form of a standalone novel. But, all the characters are very well connected to the descendants of the Hackberry Holland the original.

The first book published in the Hackberry Holland series is titled as ‘Lay Down My Sword And Shield’. It was released by the Orion publication in the year 2003, after being originally published in the year 2013. The book, which was re-released as a trade paperback edition, deals with the colorful history of Hackberry Holland with a plot that is set against the backdrop of the era of civil rights. At the start of the book, it is depicted that Hackberry, also called as Hack by his near and dear ones, is a professional attorney and a former POW of the Korean War living in the sultry and hot Texas. He is pushed by his brother, his wife, as well as his friends into the oil trade business in order to run for the political office. Hack on the other hand, seems to have different interests. He likes to drink a lot, take care of his beloved horses, and take up occasional pro Bono cases at the law firm. In one of the cases, Hack tries to overturn the conviction of one of his army friends, as a result of which, he finds himself dragged into the seamy underbelly of the patronage system in Texas. He also gets embroiled in the early start of the movement of the United Farm Workers, which is led by a lovely woman. This woman seems to have a soft corner in Hack’s heart. Now, as Hackberry continues to indulge more in his attempt to bring justice to the deprived ones, he discovers both a new purpose of life and new love. In the end, the novel depicts the skillful mixture of the compelling characters, engaging plotlines, and a graceful prose at the hands of author James Burke, which helped him to demonstrate the shimmering and clarified vision of mystery. This helped him to increase his popularity even more among the fans of suspense books all across the globe.

The next book in the series is titled as ‘Rain Gods’, which was released in the year 2009 by Simon and Schuster. At the beginning of the book, it is shown that Hackberry hopes to leave a few things behind him after becoming the sheriff of a small town in Texas located near the Mexican border. Those included his haunted dreams, his obsessive memories of a happy life with his beloved late wife named Rie, and his checkered reputation. But soon, he begins to realize that things won’t be easy for him. At first, he discovers several dead bodies of illegal aliens that were machine-gunned and buried in a grave near a church. When he investigates the case with the help of his deputy Pam Tibbs, he gets entangled in a grisly and complex setting. Later, Hackberry comes to know that an Iraq veteran named Pete Flores and his girlfriend called Vikki Gaddis are running to save their lives from the brutal criminals, who want Pete dead because of his involvement in the aliens’ murders. But, Pete does not seem to have any idea as to who is behind him. He appears too much terrified and drunk, and then flees the crime scene during the shooting. Also, the list of people wanting Vikki and Pete dead is long, including Hugo Cistranos, Nick Dolan, and a serial killer named Jack Collins. Later, the Immigration Department, the FBI, and the Custom Enforcement, also get involved in the case. Now, it is up to Holland to find Pete and his girlfriend first before the others and then try to establish the identities of the ones who are trying to kill them. Author Burke has once again a wonderful description of an intriguing and mysterious novel that is thrilling enough to give goosebumps to the readers.

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