Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
It’s 1952 in Houston, Texas. Aaron Holland Broussard and his best friend, Saber Bledsoe, are at the drive-in when Aaron spots the beautiful Valerie Epstein and her boyfriend, Grady Harrelson, fighting, and intervenes. This is the beginning of Aaron’s progression into manhood as he and Saber become unwitting participants in a game of good vs evil, in which the mob and the power-hungry wealthy represent the evil. And, it’s also the story of first and true love as the seventeen year old Aaron falls in love with the smart and talented Valerie.
Aaron, as the narrator, is quick to point out that 1952 Houston does not reflect the 1950s you’ve seen in movies. No one he knew listened to Bing Crosby or Perry Como. It’s a dangerous time with dangerous men and the novel goes on to prove that.
My first James Lee Burke novel was The Neon Rain and it was read by Will Patton. The combination of Burke’s evocative writing with Patton’s narration hooked me. Even if you think you would never enjoy an audio book, this pairing might just change your mind. Burke doesn’t write like any other mystery writer I’ve come across, especially in The Jealous Kind where wise philosophy is presented in sensual unhurried prose. Just reading this author’s writing is a pleasure regardless of plot and character.
Speaking of plot. There is so much going on in The Jealous Kind that you might feel like you’ve entered a giant puzzle. This lives up to the term page-turner.
As for characterization, there are some amazing characters. My favorite, by far, is Aaron’s father who in some ways reminds me of Atticus Finch with his honorable kindness and steadfast belief in what good people should be. While he has attempted to instill these traits in Aaron, mostly successfully, Aaron is still young and capable of doing many foolish and impetuous things that might have you wanting to wring his neck. Equally reckless is his best friend, Sabe, who seems to go out of his way to find trouble.
I highly recommend The Jealous Kind to anyone who likes mysteries, southern literature, and well-written prose.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Jealous Kind will be published on August 30, 2016.
From Amazon: The Jealous Kind
rating: (5 out of 5 butterflies)