The Best Lousy Choice

The Best Lousy Choice

by Jim Nesbitt

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Dallas private eye Ed Earl Burch is an emotional wreck, living on the edge of madness, hosing down the nightmares of his last case with bourbon and Percodan, dreading the next onslaught of demons that haunt his days and nights, including a one-eyed dead man who still wants to carve out his heart and eat it.

Burch is also a walking contradiction. Steady and relentless when working a case. Tormented and unbalanced when idle. He's deeply in debt to a shyster lawyer who forces him to take the type of case he loathes -- divorce work, peephole creeping to get dirt on a wayward husband.

Work with no honor. Work that reminds him of how far he's fallen since he lost the gold shield of a Dallas homicide detective. Work in the stark, harsh badlands of West Texas, the border country where he almost got killed and his nightmares began.

What he longs for is the clarity and sense of purpose he had when he carried that gold shield and chased killers for a living. The adrenaline spike of the showdown. Smoke 'em or cuff 'em. Justice served -- by his .45 or a judge and jury.

When a rich rancher and war hero is killed in a suspicious barn fire, the rancher's outlaw cousin hires Burch to investigate a death the county sheriff is reluctant to touch.

Seems a lot of folks had reason for wanting the rancher dead -- the local narco who has the sheriff on his payroll; some ruthless Houston developers who want the rancher's land; maybe his own daughter. Maybe the outlaw cousin who hired Burch.

Thrilled to be a manhunter again, Burch ignores these red flags, forgetting something he once knew by heart.

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. And it might just get you killed.

But it's the best lousy choice Ed Earl Burch is ever going to get.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940161430828
Publisher: Spotted Mule Press
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Series: Ed Earl Burch Crime Thrillers , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 315,304
File size: 644 KB

About the Author

Jim Nesbitt is the author of three hard-boiled Texas crime thrillers that feature battered but dogged Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch -- The Last Second Chance, a Silver Falchion finalist; The Right Wrong Number, an Underground Book Reviews “Top Pick”; and, his latest, The Best Lousy Choice. Nesbitt was a journalist for more than 30 years, serving as an reporter, editor and roving national correspondent for newspapers and wire services in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. He chased hurricanes, earthquakes, plane wrecks, presidential candidates, wildfires, rodeo cowboys, migrant field hands, neo-Nazis and nuns with an eye for the telling detail and an ear for the voice of the people who give life to a story. His stories have appeared in newspapers across the country and in magazines such as Cigar Aficionado and American Cowboy. He is a lapsed horseman, pilot, hunter and saloon sport with a keen appreciation for old guns, vintage cars and trucks, good cigars, aged whiskey and a well-told story. He lives in Athens, Alabama.

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The Best Lousy Choice 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Mike Seely 6 months ago
"The Best Lousy Choice" is the finest of Jim Nesbitt's private-eye trilogy, featuring the always underestimated, Maker's-swillin', pill-poppin', poontang-poundin' former lawman, Ed Earl Burch. Part Charles Portis, part Cormac McCarthy, Nesbitt weaves a broader ensemble of characters into his latest Tex-Mex tome than Tarantino or Altman would dare to cast onscreen. Yet he never loses the reader, taking his time to flesh out their personal histories, pimples, peccadillos, motives and vices of choice. Nesbitt's knack for describing the harsh yet beautiful landscape his latest page-turner inhabits is vivid and cinematic, and his multiethnic collection of protagonists and antagonists defies easy characterization, highlighting what that part of the country has long been, and perhaps what America should get comfortable being. - Mike Seely, award-winning New York Times travel contributor and author of "Seattle's Best Dive Bars: Drinking & Diving in the Emerald City." * The author provided an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
linstrong12 4 months ago
Ed Earl Burch is a unique kind of guy. He's a former Homicide Detective, now a Private Investigator. Ghosts from prior victims, including an ax-wife and a partner, keep him company every night. About the only thing that keeps them at bay are alcohol mixed with Percodan. But when he's working, he's sharp as a tack and his body doesn't hurt as much. The nightmares fade into the night. When an older rancher and war hero is found burned to a crisp in his barn, the man's cousin hires Burch to investigate. Local police don't seem to want the job. The rancher had enemies, no doubt about it. It all boils down to family dynamics, a lot of land, water, developers who want that land, relatives that want to sell. The more he investigates, the more dangerous the job becomes. This is a hard boiled Texas thriller that feature Ed Earl Burch. He's battle-weary, unconventional when it comes to handing out justice. He's rough and tough but he still attracts the ladies. There is unrelenting action starting at the very first and not letting go until the very last page. Although 3rd in a series, this is easily read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series. Ed Earl is a character well worth reading. Many thanks to the author for the digital copy of this story about a man with a thirst for guns, booze, and women. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Anonymous 5 months ago
West Texas is a harsh mistress. She’ll snake-bite you, shoot you, stampede you. Or-plain-old burn you up inside your own barn. Jim Nesbitt brings these dangers and the beauty of this harsh land to life in “The Best Lousy Choice,” the third book in his series featuring private eye Ed Earl Burch. Burch is the perfect character for mystery readers seeking hardboiled stories, more bad guys than good and unrelenting action. Nesbitt’s confident writing carries the reader through a tale of drug trafficking, land swindling and a family of black and white sheep at war with itself. As the story starts, Burch already knows well the dark and awful dangers of West Texas. His last case involving a psycho cartel assassin left him home in Dallas with nightmares of torture and cold sweats only cured by four (or five) fingers of whisky and casual sex. Though the last thing he wants to do is go back to West Texas, finances force him, and on the very sort of case he hates most—divorce. But that one little investigation becomes the least of worries. A shootout with narco gunmen, a dirty sheriff and a murder over land remind Burch why he wanted to avoid this tough land—and force him deeper into the criminal world on the border with Mexico. Burch, tough as those he faces, is as interesting for his nightmares as he is for his sharp mind and sharper tongue when on the job. “The Best Lousy Choice” is a great choice for readers looking for a thriller filled with action, atmosphere and unforgettable characters.
Anonymous 5 months ago
THE BEST LOUSY CHOICE Ed Earl Burch is former Dallas cop with bad knees, an unhealthy attitude and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for guns, booze and women. If he were on the high seas, he'd be a pirate. But this book isn't about plunder. It's about survival. And Burch is fighting long odds. Called in to investigate the murder of a rancher, he's up against a vicious cartel and a corrupt sheriff. And they are not alone. There are others who want Burch dead and they are frighteningly good at what they do. In his third noir thriller, Jim Nesbitt takes us back to West Texas... "an ageless and unforgiving land of stark and barren beauty, harsh choices and sudden violence... " Nesbitt knows the state and its traditions. And Burch will come to know its depths... and its ghosts. If he expects to be left standing, he will need what Nesbitt calls "internal iron" and a willingness to do anything. There is almost no one he can trust, except, perhaps, Carla Sue Cantrell. And when it comes to Carla Sue, trust is something you can worry about in the morning. Burch no longer wears the badge. But he's smart and tough. And he knows when to duck. "The solitary boom from a Browning Hi-Power sounded like a thunderclap. The slug wiped smile from Lopez's lips and turned the back of his skull into a bloody pulp as the bound body and chair tipped backwards and thudded to the dirt floor." Nesbitt loves Texas and his descriptions take us there. "The Devil's Backbone ran northeast to southwest for about fifteen miles, petering out to become a ragged jumble of arroyos and small hills about five miles north of the Rio Grande... along the ridge's western flank, the drainage for a creek that was dry most of the year, swollen only by the winter rains that caused the creosote brush to turn a shiny olive green and waft the scent of old railroad ties and telephone poles..." Will Burch survive another round against enormous odds? Time will tell. For Burch, and for us, the Best Lousy Choice is a bracing dose of the West as strong and smooth as a long pull of good whiskey before breakfast.
Baron Birtcher 5 months ago
JIM NESBITT’S BEST LOUSY CHOICE BRISTLES WITH SO MUCH REALISTIC TEXAS GRIT, YOU’LL HAVE TO EMPTY OUT YOUR BOOTS WHEN YOU FINISH READING Suffice to say, that The Best Lousy Choice brings all of author Jim Nesbitt’s considerable talents to bear and puts them on display in crisp, wide-angled focus. It is Texas, 1989, and Ed Earl Burch, the self-described de-frocked cop and walking paradox is back. A man both clever and intelligent, he also possesses a timeless Western-style sense of justice, unburdened by too much regard as to the methods he employs to keep the scales in balance. As steady, relentless, and as tough as they come, Burch is a man at much at war with his personal demons as with the narco-traficantes, land schemers, and double-dealers that threaten his corner of the Lone Star State, one boot heel planted firmly on each side of the border, and the law. Make no mistake, this is an action thriller, a story that rears out of the chutes from page one, and is written with uncommon confidence and bravado. Nesbitt uses vivid descriptions and sharp dialogue to expertly capture the tones and textures of his settings and weaves in an abundant knowledge of Texas history, all of which conspire to create a narrative that crackles with wit and realism and action scenes that are bold, sometimes outrageous, and strike out at the reader with terrifying (and entertaining) suddenness. As the author so elegantly and aptly states, Ed Earl Burch’s Texas “is an ageless and unforgiving land of stark and barren beauty, harsh choices and sudden violence.” If you like your mysteries hard-boiled, your characters rough, and your dialogue tough (like I do), then not only is this the book for you, but it will have you running back to read the others in this series, and pretty much anything else by Jim Nesbitt. (Baron R. Birtcher, LA TIMES Bestselling author)
Dick Belsky 5 months ago
“Ed Earl Burch is a terrific hard-boiled character – a beaten up, beleaguered, boozing ex-cop who also happens to be one helluva detective. In Jim Nesbitt’s THE BEST LOUSY CHOICE (the third in the series) Burch is still having nightmares from the near-brush with death in his last big case. Working as a private investigator in 1989 Dallas, he’s forced to take cases he doesn’t want to pay off a big debt to a shylock. One of them – which at first seems to be just a normal divorce case – quickly explodes into a tangled web of drug deals, real estate fraud, corruption, arson, betrayal and, of course, murder. But the real story here is the violent uncompromising world of Ed Earl Burch’s Texas that Nesbitt writes about so eloquently and dramatically. It’s a tough world, but Burch is even tougher – an unorthodox lawman with a classic sense of justice who uses both his intelligence and brute force to beat the bad guys time and time again, no matter how badly the odds seemed to be stacked against him. There’s lots of action, lots of tough dialogue and lots of people who die in this book – all in an endless quest for big money. Burch is one of the few left standing at the end. “I don’t have to worry about you shootin’ me…,” he says at one point, “I ain’t got no money.” If you love that kind of attitude in a thriller (and I do!), you’ll want to read THE BEST LOUSY CHOICE and all Jim Nesbitt’s other Ed Earl Burch books too. Highly recommended!”