James Lee Burke

Easton Press James Lee Burke books

The Tin Roof Blowdown - Signed Modern Classic - 2008


Author James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke, an acclaimed American author, was born on December 5, 1936, in Houston, Texas. He is best known for his compelling and atmospheric crime novels, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series, which has garnered widespread acclaim for its vivid depictions of the American South and its complex, morally nuanced characters. Burke's early life was marked by a love for literature and a passion for storytelling. He studied at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa. Before embarking on his career as a novelist, Burke worked in various professions, including as a land surveyor, newspaper reporter, social worker, and English professor.

In 1965, Burke published his first novel, Half of Paradise, signaling the beginning of a prolific literary career. However, it was with the release of The Neon Rain in 1987 that he introduced readers to the character of Dave Robicheaux, a complex and introspective Cajun detective. Robicheaux's moral struggles, set against the backdrop of the Louisiana bayou, became a recurring theme in Burke's subsequent novels. The Dave Robicheaux series, which includes titles like Heaven's Prisoners (1988), Black Cherry Blues (1989), and In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (1993), has received critical acclaim for its rich prose, evocative descriptions of the Southern landscape, and exploration of themes such as justice, corruption, and redemption. Beyond the Dave Robicheaux series, Burke has written standalone novels and another series featuring protagonist Billy Bob Holland. His works often delve into the darker aspects of human nature, addressing issues such as racism, violence, and the impact of historical injustices on contemporary society.

James Lee Burke's writing has earned him numerous awards and accolades, including two Edgar Awards for Best Novel. His distinctive style combines elements of crime fiction, Southern Gothic, and literary fiction, creating a unique and immersive reading experience. In addition to his success as a novelist, Burke is admired for his commitment to the craft of writing and his dedication to exploring the complexities of the human condition. His ability to capture the essence of the American South and to create characters that resonate with readers has solidified his place as one of the preeminent voices in contemporary American literature.

James Lee Burke movies

James Lee Burke's works, particularly his Dave Robicheaux series, have been adapted into film and television productions. The character of Dave Robicheaux, a Louisiana detective with a complex moral compass, has been the focal point of these adaptations.

Notable film and television adaptations based on some of the best James Lee Burke's books include:
In the Electric Mist (2009) This film is based on Burke's novel "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" and stars Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. The movie follows Robicheaux as he investigates a series of murders while grappling with visions of Confederate soldiers and a Hollywood film production.

Heaven's Prisoners (1996) Alec Baldwin portrays Dave Robicheaux in this film adaptation of Burke's novel Heaven's Prisoners. The story revolves around Robicheaux's attempt to uncover the truth behind a plane crash and a mysterious woman.

Two for Texas (1998) While not a direct adaptation of one of Burke's novels, this made-for-television movie is based on Burke's characters. Kris Kristofferson plays the role of Hugh Allison, a character who appears in several of Burke's works.

It's worth noting that while these adaptations feature Burke's characters and are inspired by his novels, the complexities of his writing, the rich Southern atmosphere, and the depth of his characters may be challenging to fully capture in a visual format.


The Tin Roof Blowdown - Dave Robicheaux series Book 16

This is James Lee Burke's latest mystery featuring Dave Robicheaux. It is also much more than that. The story begins with the shooting of two would-be looters in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and then follows a motley group of characters from street thugs to a big-time mob boss, from a junkie priest to a sadistic psychopath as their stories converge on a cache of stolen diamonds, while the storm turns the Big Easy into a lawless wasteland of apocalyptic proportions. The nightmarish landscape created by Katrina seems the perfect setting for Burke's almost Biblical visions of good and evil it is as if he had to wait for this disaster to find the occasion to match his emotionally supercharged prose. You can feel the undercurrents of rage and pain beneath the narrative, making this not only his most personal and deeply felt book for some time, but quite possibly his best novel to date. This is not just a superb crime novel, it is potentially The fictional chronicle of a disaster whose human dimensions America is still struggling to process.

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