By James Lee Burke
While his illegitimate son is improperly accused of homicide, Billy Bob Holland stands on my own opposed to the ruthless powers controlling the small city of Deaf Smith, Texas, as his research uncovers deeply rooted, high-level corruption, violence, and homicide.
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I had seen them in the city centre, or on the buses, traveling out to Howth or Sutton, longish grey trousers above knock knees and a grey blazer with a fringe of green or blue on it. They looked like imports from an English comic strip or a Billy Bunter illustration, dumped by accident in the squalid city centre streets, and now one of them was so bold as to skip his fare. The Pillar was intact then, Horatio Nelson still preened over the grey city on top of a thousand steps and young girls waited for their dates at the base.
The word ‘father’ was like an old Chinese gong. It reverberated. ’ ‘Silence, that’s what it is. I’m in a cloud of silence. ’ And your fingers tapped off mine as if they were a table top, and removed themselves. ‘I’m talking a lot, amn’t I . . ’ Amn’t I. I hadn’t heard that Irishism in awhile. ‘. . For someone in a silent cloud. There was a voice I heard once, years ago. ’ You ruffled the dog’s head, and lit a cigarette. ‘But I can talk to you. And it’s easy. ’ And the dog was now nuzzling at my elbow.
The only kind surely, I thought, as the tick- 2 ing became a hushed symphony, an exercise in counterpoint; found a kind of rhythm, lost it again, and found a different one, seeking I 2 imagined a magical point at which they would make proper music. The auctioneer coughed behind me and I knew commerce was 2 about to raise its pretty head. It was always preceded by a hush or 2 a cough, indecency shrouded in a cloak of politeness. He talked of guide prices, of one point four, one point five, and I knew he meant 2 millions of course, of how the northside gets a bad rap, if the same Crescent was in Howth or Malahide the sky would be the limit.
Cimarron Rose by James Lee Burke