Thanks to a combination of selective memory, old movies and television shows, and iconic musical memories, we tend to think of the 1950s as a simpler, safer time that went by too quickly. That’s as true for those of us who actually lived through the decade as it is for those of us who simply wish we had. Somehow, however, I doubt that Hackberry Holland’s grandson, Aaron Holland Broussard, would agree.
Aaron, the latest addition to James Lee Burke’s Hackberry Holland family tree series (and the main character and narrator of The Jealous Kind), sees the decade differently from the vantage of his Houston neighborhood. And all the trouble starts relatively innocently fifty miles from home in the parking lot of a drive-in seafood restaurant near the Galveston beach one night when Aaron, never bashful about speaking out, intervenes in an argument between an older boy and a teenage girl he had never seen up close before that very moment.
As he probably secretly hoped he would, Aaron ends up with the girl, but he also ends up with something else that night: a vicious enemy with connections that can make him wish he had never gotten out of his car that night – Valerie or no Valerie. Now Aaron is the target of every gangbanger on the streets any time he even approaches Valerie’s neighborhood, and it seems as if she and his best friend Saber are all that even remotely stand between him and the beating of his life.
But then there is a whole lot of Holland blood in this Broussard boy.
|James Lee Burke|
When he and Saber decide to carry the fight to those threatening them, they trigger a battle that will suck in even the powerful fathers of their young enemies, men at the heart of the criminal boomtowns that Houston and Galveston are fast becoming. Aaron Broussard is about to learn things about himself and everyone he loves best that no boy should ever have to learn at his age. He will have to find the courage to live with the type of constant fear that often cripples grown men. Aaron calls fear like that “a pebble that never leaves your shoe,” but it turn out to be much, much more than that.
The Jealous Kind vividly captures a moment in Houston/Galveston history during which both cities were up for grabs if you were man enough to take them. As Burke reminds us, Houston was “the murder capital of the world” then and a town called “Cut and Shoot” was just forty miles up the road (it’s still there). Those were the days.
This is a must-read if there ever was one.
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)