Rain Gods  - James Lee Burke
For starters, it needs to be said that James Lee Burke is ridiculously prolific, turning out two or three new books a year, but that would sound like I was complaining about the fact. Nothing could be further from the truth and long may he continue to do so!

In 'Rain Gods', Burke takes a step sideways from the two series he's been writing (the long-running Dave Robicheaux books and the Billy Bob Holland series) to introduce another of the Holland clan, Billy Bob's cousin. This particular individual is, as all Burke's heroes are, terribly scarred by his past - in this case, his experiences as a prisoner of war in Korea and his gradual understanding on his return to the US of how badly he'd treated other people.

Holland's path as sheriff in the middle of nowhere clashes with a paid assassin, a man who believes he's doing God's work in killing, and the murder of a bunch of Asian prostitutes buried in a shallow grave behind an abandoned church. There's revenge and counter-revenge in the plotline, as well as a bunch of characters most of whom you will want to despise but who the author's skill makes very real regardless of how utterly awful they really are.

Another excellent book from James Lee Burke, who I've always described to people as a novelist who writes crime stories as his turn of phrase leaves many self-styled literary writers in the dust. Always happy to read more by him, so I'm now looking forward to picking up The Glass Rainbow, Robicheaux's 18th outing in print...