Another Kind of Eden

by Burke, James Lee

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New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke brings readers a captivating tale of justice, love, brutality, and mysticism set in the turbulent 1960s. The American West in the early 1960s appears to be a pastoral paradise: golden wheat fields, mist-filled canyons, frolicking animals. Aspiring novelist Aaron Holland Broussard has observed it from the open door of a boxcar, riding the rails for both inspiration and odd jobs. Jumping off in Denver, he finds work on a farm and meets Joanne McDuffy, an articulate and fierce college student and gifted painter. Their soul connection is immediate, but their romance is complicated by Joanne's involvement with a shady professor who is mixed up with a drug-addled cult. When a sinister businessman and his son who wield their influence through vicious cruelty set their sights on Aaron, drawing him into an investigation of grotesque murders, it is clear that this idyllic landscape harbors tremendous power—and evil. Followed by a mysterious shrouded figure who might not be human, Aaron will have to face down all these foes to save the life of the woman he loves and his own. A prequel to James Lee Burke's masterful Holland family trilogy, Another Kind of Eden is both riveting and one of Burke's most ambitious works to date. It dismantles the myths of both the twentieth-century American West and the peace-and-love decade, excavating the beauty and idealism of the era to show the menace and chaos that lay simmering just beneath the surface.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In The Jealous Kind (2016), set in early-1950s Galveston, Aaron Holland Broussard was a teenager in the grips of passion. In this latest chapter in Burke's multigenerational Holland saga, it's 10 years later, 1962, on the cusp of the hippie era, and Aaron, now a nightmare-haunted Korean War vet, is working on a ranch near Denver and trying to write. Like all of Burke's heroes, Aaron can't keep his mouth shut or his fists at his sides. First, he defends a woman who's being harassed by her professor, which leads to encounters with some early-wave flower children, one of whom is less peacenik and more predator. Meanwhile, Aaron gets on the wrong side of a bent businessman and his son, both of whom seem driven by something way beyond garden-variety meanness. The supernatural, especially in the form of demons, has become a near-constant presence in Burke's fiction, and here those demons are ready to rumble. Like Dave Robicheaux, Burke's other series hero, Aaron has "always believed in the unseen world," so he's not completely surprised by the vibes he's getting from his adversaries, but he has no conception of the otherworldly carnage that awaits him in the book's finale. Incorporating elements of horror into otherwise realistic thrillers is a thing these days, but few manage it with Burke's special eloquence, at once melancholic and macabre."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "It's 1962 in bestseller MWA Grand Master Burke's captivating sequel to 2016's The Jealous Kind, and Aaron Holland Broussard, a drifting aspiring novelist, hops off a boxcar near Denver and finds work on a large farm. After the son of a local tyrannical businessman assaults Aaron and some coworkers, Jo Anne McDuffy, a beautiful art student, warns Aaron not to seek revenge. But as much as Aaron, who begins a relationship with Jo Anne, tries to suppress his violent instincts, trouble won't let him be, with local goons and law enforcement harassing him. Meanwhile, a nefarious professor circles Jo Anne with dubious intentions. Suffering nonchemical blackouts and warding off memories of his time in the Korean War, Aaron slowly unravels as the majestic beauty of the west turns into a hellscape of murdered women, cults, and mysterious forces that might not be of this world. Sharp prose and distinctive characters help propel Aaron's journey from earnest farmhand to tormented soul in a world of horrors. Suspense fans will be well satisfied. Agents: Philip Spitzer and Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (Aug.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Literature
Publisher Simon & Schuster2021
Language English
ISBN 9781982151737