Billy Bob Holland Books

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Billy Bob Holland is a fictional Texas attorney in a series created by American author James Lee Burke. The series is connected to the Hackberry Holland series in that Billy Bob and Hackberry Holland are cousins. The Billy Bob series comprises of four novels namely; Cimarron Rose published in 1997, Heartwood (1999), Bitterroot (2001) and the last one titled In the Moon of Red Ponies (2004). Billy Bob Holland strives to mete out justice to all the people but he is troubled by his past and haunted by his violent ancestors whom he fears may affect his legacy. He accidentally killed a partner named L. Q. Navarro and the man’s ghost keeps haunting him making him feel constantly guilty in his life and work.

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Order of Billy Bob Holland Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Cimarron Rose ( By: James Lee Burke) 1997 Description / Buy
2 Heartwood ( By: James Lee Burke) 1999 Description / Buy
3 Bitterroot ( By: James Lee Burke) 2001 Description / Buy
4 In the Moon of Red Ponies ( By: James Lee Burke) 2004 Description / Buy
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James Lee Burke won the 1998 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel for the novel Cimarron Rose. The novel was also nominated as a finalist for the 1998 Barry Award for Best Novel while in the previous year the same novel had been a finalist for the Hammett Prize. The novel, Heartwood, had been nominated as a finalist for Hammett Prize in 1999.


Cimarron Rose, Heartwood and Bitterroot are the three best booms in the series although the fourth book In the Moon of Red Ponies is also quite a thriller.
In Cimarron Rose, the protagonist, Billy Bob serves as an attorney in a small town near Deaf Smith in Texas. Previously Holland accidentally killed his partner when he was a ranger. In the current situation, his estranged son is accused of raping and murdering a girl. Billy Bob is the attorney in the case and he sweats to prove his son’s innocence in spite of evidence pointing the contrary.

In Heartwood Billy Bob faces Earl Dietrich who is an arrogant and rich newcomer who is ruder to the defense attorney. To add strange twist to the story, Earl is married to Billy’s high school sweetheart. The two are up for a grueling enmity.

Bitterroot is set in the Bitterroot valley of Montana where many celebrities reside as they seek seclusion from the public. Holland goes to the Big Sky Country for some fishing but finds himself helping out a friend in serious trouble. Holland is confronted by a recent prison parolee named Wyatt Dixon who had sworn to kill Bob Holland as a revenge for imprisonment and also to avenge for murder of his sister. Numerous people are killed as the drama ensues and more drama unfolds as Bob Holland finds himself in more mess although he eventually manages to wriggle free and emerge as a hero. The most interesting bits of the book are that although Billy Bob is determined to fight for the weak and mete out justice to them, he has a tendency towards violence as he counters the violent criminals that are becoming increasingly dangerous in his society.


You may also like the “Hackberry Holland” series by James Lee Burke which is a series of three books namely; Lay Down My Sword and Shield (1971), Rain Gods (2009) and Feast Day of Fools (2011). These books feature Hackberry Holland (Bob’s cousin) who is an attorney in Texas. He is also a prisoner of war (POW) of the Korean War. Although family and friends impress on Hackberry “Hack” to run for office, he refuses and chooses to act as an attorney taking on cases on a pro-bono basis and also looking after his horses. He also handled the murder of illegal aliens in the novel Rain Gods. Like his cousin Bob Holland, Hack finds himself fighting for old friends in courts. There is a generous dose of love as Hack seeks to settle down and he may get help in settling down from a beautiful woman who leads United Farm Workers Movement.

Jesus out to Sea (2007) is a series of 11 short stories by James Lee Burke that are modeled in a style close to that of the Bob Billy Holland Series. James Lee Burke wrote and had the stories published in several magazines between 1992 and 2006. Some of the stories form excerpts in his books. The stories are set in Houston, Texas as well as other parts of Texas although Burke also describes the Iraq War and the devastating hurricane Katrina in some of the 11 stories.

What Is The Next Book in The Billy Bob Holland Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Billy Bob Holland Series. The newest book is In the Moon of Red Ponies and was released on January, 1st 2004.

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