When Burke burst on the scene with his first Dave Robicheaux book, The Neon Rain, little did we know that here was a man who had already written five excellent non-crime novels that had been ignored by just about everyone.
His early lyrical style was carried through to his crime novels, and he has now produced such a fine body of work that he is surely the most important crime writer of the past ten years. In Robicheaux he has created one of the great crime detectives, a man consumed by his demons and his drink, who fights lone battles against some memorable villains in the deep south of Louisiana.
Burke’s vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere elevate him to the higher echelons of American literature, and his work will live on. He won an Edgar for his third Robicheaux novel, Black Cherry Blues, but all are recommended. His latest is Cimarron Rose, in which he introduces Billy Bob Holland.
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