Dave Robicheaux and buddy Clete Purcel are sitting this one out, but fans of bestselling author James Lee Burke definitely will want to get to know Weldon Avery Holland.
Weldon, who grew up in Texas during the Depression, is the protagonist of Wayfaring Stranger, a 400-plus-page sprawling historical saga that’s part love story, part thriller and all good vs. evil.
He encounters Bonnie and Clyde when he’s 16. He serves heroically in World War II, where he saves his sergeant’s life and rescues Rosita Lowenstein, who’s the love of his life, from a concentration camp.
Also figuring into the narrative are the golden age of Hollywood, the Cold War and the oil boom in Texas and Louisiana, where Weldon makes his fortune with an innovative pipeline welding process. And there’s the enigmatic and shady Wayfaring Stranger himself.
It’s got all the bad guys a reader could want, but these heroes are worth rooting for.
For his really loyal readers, Burke offers a shoutout to another of his series. Lawman Hackberry Holland is Weldon’s grandfather.
— Celeste Williams
by James Lee Burke
Simon & Schuster, $27.99
Audiobook: Simon & Schuster Audio, $29.99; read by actor Will Patton, the longtime voice of Burke’s novels.