Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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House of the Rising Sun

Whether modern-day Louisiana or early 20th-century Texas, the worlds James Lee Burke (Wayfaring Stranger) creates crackle on his pages. The vivid sights, sounds and smells envelop readers observing the tormented lives of his troubled characters. House of the Rising Sun continues that exemplary standard for fiction with a captivating story of family, faith, betrayal and redemption.

In this fourth Hackberry Holland book, the former Texas Ranger is searching for his estranged son, Ishmael, in Mexico when he wanders into the middle of an arms deal. Hack destroys the munitions but discovers a gem-encrusted cup among the arsenal, which he tucks away and carries back to Texas.

Powerful businessman Arnold Beckman believes the artifact is rightfully his and will stop at nothing to take it back, including kidnapping war hero Ishmael, who is recovering from serious leg injuries sustained at the Great War's Battle of the Marne. Hack must fight his personal demons and outsmart the deadly Beckman in order to save his son.

Brimming with delectably evil villains and heroes whose white hats have grown dingy from the dirt they've rolled in, House of the Rising Sun is a masterstroke in Burke's exceptional body of work. He balances the characters' introspection with suspenseful action, keeping the momentum of the novel quick and engaging; packs insightful thoughts on humanity into colorful quips; and, despite the bleakness of the plot, interjects hilarious scenes like Hack learning to drive a motorcar.

Everyone should experience the beauty of James Lee Burke's fiction at least once. House of the Rising Sun is a perfect opportunity to do so. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts