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Bitterroot  By  cover art

Bitterroot

By: James Lee Burke
Narrated by: Will Patton,Tom Stechschulte
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Publisher's Summary

Billy Bob Holland's friend, Doc Voss, has been battling against a local mining company whose operations would severely threaten the area's economy. Despite Voss's best efforts, the mining interests make it clear that they will resort to any means to see that Voss backs off. What Billy Bob doesn't know is that one member of the pro-mining faction is Wyatt Dixon, a recent prison parolee intent on exacting revenge for his imprisonment and his sister's death, both events he believes were Billy Bob's doing. His apparent support of the mining company is merely a clever cover for his plan to silence Billy Bob for good.

©2012 James Lee Burke (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

"James Lee Burke writes exceptionally clean, unforced prose that has a pronounced streak of poetry in it." ( The New York Times)

What listeners say about Bitterroot

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Vacuous Characters in an Absence of Poetry

Two of the most colorful characters in audio fiction are Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcel of James Lee Burke's Iberia Parrish. Contrast them with this novel's Billy Bob Holland and Doc Voss and the reader/listener of Bitterroot is left asking the question, "Why so flat?"

Holland and Voss might be good at slugging it out when pressed (or if the virtue of a female character has been besmirched), but their inept emotional responses to truly terrifying and painful traumas in the lives of loved ones makes them seem like a couple of dullards. Dave and Clete wear their emotions like tattoos on their biceps...that's what makes them compelling, particularly Clete whose "take no prisoners" response to threats on those he loves is raised to a unique art form.

Something else is missing from this story of Mafia Meets Western Motif; there is none of the painfully beautiful prose to describe the striking Montana landscape that listeners experience when they hear Burke's descriptions of Bayou Teche, Louisiana, or New Orleans (pre and post-Katrina). Montana may be a rugged and forested landscape in reality, but in Bitterroot it is a pancake-flat character. In Dave Robicheaux novels setting is character. In Bitterroot, Billy Bob, Doc, and the mountains from which the title derives are mere obstacles the reader must endure as he/she passes the hours waiting for the story to erode.

10 people found this helpful

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Big novel for the Big Sky!

I find it impossible to stop listening to Burke's work. His characters are engrossing and his story telling is riveting.

As I've mentioned before, Tom Stechschulte is a fantastic narrator, just as good as Will Patton who reads most of Burke's more current works. This is the third novel in the Billy Bob Holland series. I actually tried to listen to the 2cd novel in the series called Heartwood, which is a favorite of the author, but the narrator's exaggerated southern accent was so convoluted I got a refund. It's a great illustration of how important the reader's performance is for any book.

This book and really the series is less violent and more thoughtful in mystery than the Robicheaux series.

8 people found this helpful

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Good Book - Narrator has Quirks

Any additional comments?

I like all of James Lee Burke's books. The narrator for the Billy Bob Holland series is good but he has two odd quirks: 1-He can't pronounce words that end in "r-n" correctly. He says "Northerun," "Southerun," and "lanterun." Not a huge problem, but wierd. 2-He makes Lucas sound like a total moron. I keep waiting for him to say, "Tell me about the rabbits, George," or "Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?"

5 people found this helpful

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Not bad, but I miss Will Patton

I kept waiting for Will Patton to co-narrate this book as advertised, but kept waiting for Godot. That must be a mistake on Audible's part, because he wasn't part of the performance.

I've become used to Tom Stechshulte's narration, and now associate his voice with Billy Bob. He did a great job with the Wyatt Dixon character. That being said, no one brings it home in a Holland story like Will Patton. One major distraction was Stechshulte's narration for Lucas' character. He sounds like a moronic version of Forrest Gump. Alan Sklar narrated a Billy Bob Holland book, and the Lucas character sounded normal, not like a complete imbecile, which is how Lucas comes across in Bitterroot.

This story was not at tight as Cimarron Rose or any of the Hackberry Holland books, but it is still readable. There is a cycle of Billy Bob visiting someone, trading insults, and then leaving with little/nothing being accomplished. The Hackberry Holland characters (both generations) and Wheldon Holland are more complex and interesting subjects. I do like the interactions between Billy Bob and the deceased best friend that still exists in his subconscious.

3 people found this helpful

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This Review Needs A Title...So, I Gave it One

This one goes in the category of DNF (Did not finish). I do this when the audio sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher...."bwaa...bwaaa. bwaaaa". Billy Bob Holland, our narrator is a lawyer from Texas in Montana. He doesn't do any lawyering, just goes around getting in trouble with the local Sheriff. The book just did not click in my mind. And, what author, who lives in Montana, thought that the Clark Fork (of the Missouri) flows into the Columbia, on the other side of those large mountains on the West side of the state? Billy Bob should just stay in Texas, where he belongs. It was a strain to read. If this was a mystery I completely missed it. There was no real continuity. And, I have no idea what happened in the ending, because I never got that far.

1 person found this helpful

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Distraction

The narrator distracted me from really enjoying this book. His mispronunciation of "slough" and "Raton " and "Clark's Fork" grated on my Northwest Wyoming ears.

1 person found this helpful

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VERY DISSAPOINTING

I usually love his books and I am struggling to get thru part One not worth the effort will save until I am out of books and need to listen to something

1 person found this helpful

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Billy Bob Holland #3

Loved the author interview at the end of the audible version! James Lee Burke appears to be an awesome, decent human being as well as a wonderful wordsmith.

********* spoiler alert****************

Billy Bob starts the novel, again, making poor choices in partners. This one starts out sane but proves to be just the opposite about a 1/3 of the way into the book.

Billy Bob travels to Montana to help out his friend, Doc, who has stepped into a world of trouble which only gets worse.

He finally realizes his love for Temple, his long suffering sometime companion and proposes in a manner of speaking! Hallelujah!

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Montana saga- Bitterroot

To me there were too many “ bad guys” to be dealt with. This created confusion as to who to deal with next. I found Billy Bobs conversations with these people to not be believable. I also found the ending unbelievable when considered with all prior behavior and events. If this were the first of the authors books I had read it would probably have been the last. The author has many good books. I did not find this to be one of them

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A waste of time

I hope this guy has a job at the 7/11, this was a waste of time.