Thursday, September 18, 2008

Author of the Day: James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke writes wonderful, literary mysteries. He has a couple of series going, but his most famous is his Dave Robicheaux series, featuring an ex- boozer and ex-New Orleans homicide cop now settled in New Iberia Parish. The series has gone on for so long, that Robicheaux has gone from cop, to bait shop owner, to sheriff, to ex-sheriff, to sheriff again. He's on his 4th wife. It's hard to say how old he is, but he must be pushing 70. His three-legged pet raccoon named Tripod is the oldest living raccoon in history, since it first appeared in Heaven's Prisoners in 1988 and was still scampering around, at least as of Crusader's Cross in 2004. Just how long do raccoons live? The series is dark, complex, plenty gritty, and rich with lyrical details of beauty and evil. Once you sink your teeth into one, you want to gobble them all up. But I have found that more than a couple at a time are too much. I get tired of Robicheaux's dry drunk sermonizing, bored by the 700th description of rain on the bayou, and as worn out by the parade of creepy bad guys as Robicheaux himself must be. But then a few months or so will pass and I am ready for another. According to List of Bests, I am 58% finished with the series. Those I've read are in blue. I am halfway through Heaven's Prisoners. The Neon Rain Heaven's Prisoners Black Cherry Blues A Morning for Flamingos A Stained White Radiance In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead Dixie City Jam Burning Angel Cadillac Jukebox Sunset Limited Purple Cane Road Jolie Blon's Bounce Last Car to Elysian Fields Crusader's Cross Pegasus Descending The Tin Roof Blowdown Swan Peak


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