Billy Bob Holland, the protagonist of Cimarron Rose, is an attorney in the dusty Texas town of Deaf Smith. An ex-Texas Ranger (cop, not ball-player) who mistakenly killed his partner during a drug bust, Holland is jolted from his brooding when his estranged illegitimate son is accused of the rape and murder of a party girl. He takes the case, of course, and things get complicated mighty quick. On a hunch only a father could believe, Holland is sure his son is being railroaded. Doggedly pursuing the truth, he runs afoul of sadistic cops, a powerful family, and the euphoniously-named Garland T. Moon, a feral thug with something to hide. Luckily, the folks on his team are just as tough. Burke's book isn't gritty realism-Holland's dead partner visits him often-but the characters ring true in a weird way. They are quirky and appealing, and even the criminals make good company while the whodunit unfolds.