|James Lee Burke|
James Lee Burke was struggling through some lean times as a novelist -- he had published only one book in 15 years -- when a friend and fellow writer suggested he take a stab at crime fiction. The result was The Neon Rain, the first book in his successful Dave Robicheaux books. With a complex moral protagonist and a lush writing style, the series evokes the heady environment of the Louisiana bayou country.
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James Lee Burke
New Iberia, Louisiana and Missoula, Montana
Date of Birth:
December 5, 1936
Place of Birth:
B.A., University of Missouri, 1959; M.A., University of Missouri, 1960
National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1977; Pulitzer Prize nomination, 1987; Edgar Allan Poe awards for Black Cherry Blues,1989, and for Cimarron Rose, 1998
James Lee Burke's official web site
|Burke's Biggest Influence|
|The Sound and the Fury|
Burke is a man of few words when it comes to responding to interview questions; but he does display an abiding admiration for William Faulkner, citing him multiple times as both an influence and a favorite read. The book that has influenced his life the most, he says, is the 1929 family tragedy by Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury.
Read an excerpt
|How Burke Made the Dean's List|
|Burke's college English papers earned him a string of D-minuses until he talked to his professor about what was wrong. "She said, 'Your spelling is an assault upon the eyeballs. Your penmanship makes me wish the Phoenicians had not developed the alphabet. But I couldn't give you an F because you have so much heart,'" he said in a 1996 interview with People. "Every Saturday I went with her and rewrote the essay for the week. I got a B and made the dean's list. (She) changed my life."|
|The Best Book to Read First||The Country Lawyer|
|The Neon Rain|
James Lee Burke
The Neon Rain introduces Burke's most memorable character, police detective Dave Robicheaux. Here, Robicheaux's investigation into the murder of a prostitute angers both the mob and the police force and lands him in the center of a frame-up.
James Lee Burke, Rost
Winner of the Edgar award for mysteries, Cimarron Rose introduces tormented country lawyer Billy Bob Holland, who defends his illegitimate son against rape and murder charges. The Holland series also includes Heartwood and Bitterroot.
|Photo by Robert Clark||