Two for Texas by James Lee Burke: A Short Review

I’ve always tended to read by author. When I find an author I like, I do try to read everything they write. I’ve long enjoyed the award winning author James Lee Burke with his Dave Robicheaux novels, so I was surprised to read a bit of his historical fiction entitled Two for Texas (Hyperion 1989). I was pleased with the read.

The novel reflects intense research. As is typical in his other novels, Burke avoids stereotypical writing and creates so many memorable phrases. My supervisor at Louisiana Delta Community College, Karen Harmon, a wonderful writer herself, studied under Burke. I wish I had been able to. The back jacket gives this summary of the novel:

“Sam Holland and Hugh Allison have only one thing in common–they escaped from prison together.   . . . What ensues is a whirlwind trip from Louisiana to Texas where they collide with flavorful characters and life-threatening circumstances. With teh world of their escape traveling fast, the only hope they hafve of freedom is by becoming key players in the Texas Revolution.”

Here are some lines I really liked:

“Where do you think you are? The regular rules don’t have nothing do to with this place” (10).

“It ain’t good to look back and sometimes figure how many years you lost . . .” (42).

[This is a prophetic statement] “Once this revolution is over, Texas won’t be no different than back in the Uninted States. They’ll have a rule for everything and a manacle to go with it” (65). I’ve often wondered about this scenario: Texas seceded from Mexico (by revolution). Texas joined the U.S. with the understanding it could leave. The Civil War came and Texas left. The U.S. made it stay. Hmmm.

“Sometimes you can’t do everything eright, boy” ( 92).

“Listen, boy. It’s no good to go back where you already been. It ain’t the same. Other people own it, and it ain’t yours no more” (113).

There are so many good lines in this novel, but these perhaps will pique your interest in Burke’s book. As I am working on my Texas school programs, I found this book a good investment.