Black Cherry Blues

A Novel


By James Lee Burke

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In this Edgar Award-winning thriller, former Louisiana homicide cop Dave Robicheaux is trying to start a new life after the murder of his wife — but he can't escape his past forever.
Dave Robicheaux was once a Louisiana homicide cop. Now he's trying to start a new life, opening up a fishing business and caring for his adopted girl, Alafair.

Compared to Louisiana, Robicheaux thought Montana would be safe — until two Native American activists suddenly go missing. When Robicheaux begins investigating, he is led into the dark world of the Mafia and oil companies. At the same time, someone from his past comes back to haunt him. Someone who was responsible for Robicheaux's flight from New Orleans — someone who brutally murdered his wife — and now is after young Alafair…

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, Black Cherry Blues spans from the mystical streets of New Orleans to the endless mountains of Montana, and ranks among James Lee Burke's finest work — an enduring classic, darkly beautiful and thrilling.


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Her hair is curly and gold on the pillow, her skin white in the heat lightning that trembles beyond the pecan trees outside the bedroom window. The night is hot and breathless, the clouds painted like horsetails against the sky; a peal of thunder rumbles out on the Gulf like an apple rolling around in the bottom of a wood barrel, and the first raindrops ping against the window fan. She sleeps on her side, and the sheet molds her thigh, the curve of her hip, her breast. In the flicker of the heat lightning the sun freckles on her bare shoulder look like brown flaws in sculpted marble.

Then a prizing bar splinters the front door out of the jamb, and two men burst inside the house in heavy shoes, their pump shotguns at port arms. One is a tall Haitian, the other a Latin whose hair hangs off his head in oiled ringlets. They stand at the foot of the double bed in which she sleeps alone, and do not speak. She awakes with her mouth open, her eyes wide and empty of meaning. Her face is still warm from a dream, and she cannot separate sleep from the two men who stare at her without speaking. Then she sees them looking at each other and aim their shotguns point-blank at her chest. Her eyes film and she calls out my name like a wet bubble bursting in her throat. The sheet is twisted in her hands; she holds it against her breasts as though it could protect her from twelve-gauge deer slugs and double-aught buckshot.

They begin shooting, and the room seems to explode with smoke and flame from their shotgun barrels, with shell wadding, mattress stuffing, splinters gouged out of the bedstead, torn lampshades, flying glass. The two killers are methodical. They have taken out the sportsman's plug in their shotguns so they can load five rounds in the magazine, and they keep firing and ejecting the smoking hulls on the floor until their firing pins snap empty. Then they reload with the calmness of men who might have just stood up in a blind and fired at a formation of ducks overhead.

The sheet is torn, drenched with her blood, embedded in her wounds. The men have gone now, and I sink to my knees by my wife and kiss her sightless eyes, run my hands over her hair and wan face, put her fingers in my mouth. A solitary drop of her blood runs down the shattered headboard and pools on my skin. A bolt of lightning explodes in an empty field behind the house. The inside of my head is filled with a wet, sulphurous smell, and again I hear my name rise like muffled, trapped air released from the sandy bottom of a pond.

It was four in the morning on a Saturday and raining hard when I awoke from the dream in a West Baton Rouge motel. I sat on the side of the bed in my underwear and tried to rub the dream out of my face, then I used the bathroom and came back and sat on the side of the bed again in the dark.

First light was still two hours away, but I knew I would not sleep again. I put on my raincoat and hat and drove in my pickup truck to an all-night café that occupied one side of a clapboard roadhouse. The rain clattered on my truck cab, and the wind was blowing strong out of the southwest, across the Atchafalaya swamp, whipping the palm and oak trees by the highway. West Baton Rouge, which begins at the Mississippi River, has always been a seedy area of truck stops, marginal gambling joints, Negro and blue-collar bars. To the east you can see the lighted girders of the Earl K. Long Bridge, plumes of smoke rising from the oil refineries, the state capitol building silhouetted in the rain. Baton Rouge is a green town full of oak trees, parks, and lakes, and the thousands of lights on the refineries and chemical plants are regarded as a testimony to financial security rather than a sign of industrial blight. But once you drive west across the metal grid of the bridge and thump down on the old cracked four-lane, you're in a world that caters to the people of the Atchafalaya basin—Cajuns, redbones, roustabouts, pipeliners, rednecks whose shrinking piece of American geography is identified only by a battered pickup, a tape deck playing Waylon, and a twelve-pack of Jax.

The rain spun in the yellow arc lights over the café parking lot. It was empty inside, except for a fat Negro woman whom I could see through the service window in the kitchen, and a pretty, redheaded waitress in her early twenties, dressed in a pink uniform with her hair tied up on her freckled neck. She was obviously tired, but she was polite and smiled at me when she took my order, and I felt a sense of guilt, almost shame, at my susceptibility and easy fondness for a young woman's smile. Because if you're forty-nine and unmarried or a widower or if you've simply chosen to live alone, you're easily flattered by a young woman's seeming attention to you, and you forget that it is often simply a deference to your age.

I ordered a chicken-fried steak and a cup of coffee and listened to Jimmy Clanton's recording of "Just a Dream" that came from the jukebox next door. Through the open doorway that gave onto the empty dance floor, I could see a half-dozen people at the bar against the far wall. I watched a man my age, with waved blond hair, drink his whiskey down to the ice, point to the glass for the bartender to refill it, then rise from his stool and walk across the dance floor into the café.

He wore gray slacks, a green sport shirt with blue flowers on it, shined loafers, white socks, a gold watch, and gold clip-on ballpoint pens in his shirt pocket. He wore his shirt outside his slacks to hide his paunch and love handles.

"Hey, hon, let me have a cheeseburger and bring it up to the bar, will you?" he said.

Then his eyes adjusted to the light and he looked at me more carefully.

"Great God Almighty," he said. "Dave Robicheaux. You son of a buck."

A voice and a face out of the past, not simply mine but from an era. Dixie Lee Pugh, my freshman roommate at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1956: a peckerwood kid from a river town north of Baton Rouge, with an accent more Mississippi than Louisiana, who flunked out his first semester, then went to Memphis and cut two records at the same studio where Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis began their careers. The second record put him on New York television, and we watched in awe while he played his sunburst rhythm-and-blues guitar or hammered his fingers on the piano keyboard while an audience of thousands went insane and danced in the aisles.

He was one of the biggest in the early rock 'n' roll era. But he had something more going for him than many of the others did. He was the real article, an honest-to-God white blues singer. He learned his music in the Baptist church, but somebody in that little cotton and pecan-orchard town rubbed a lot of pain into him, too, because it was in everything he sang and it wasn't manufactured for the moment, either.

Then we read and heard other stories about him: the four or five failed marriages, the death of one of his children in a fire, a hit-and-run accident and DWI in Texas that put him in Huntsville pen.

"Dave, I don't believe it," he said, grinning. "I saw you ten or twelve years ago in New Orleans. You were a cop."

I remembered it. It had been in a low-rent bar off Canal, the kind of place that featured yesterday's celebrities, where the clientele made noise during the performances and insulted the entertainers.

He sat down next to me and shook hands, almost as an afterthought.

"We got to drink some mash and talk some trash," he said, then told the waitress to bring me a beer or a highball.

"No, thanks, Dixie," I said.

"You mean like it's too late or too early in the day or like you're off the jug?" he said.

"I go to meetings now. You know what I mean?"

"Heck yeah. That takes guts, man. I admire it." His eyes were green and filled with an alcohol shine. He looked at me directly a moment, then his eyes blinked and he looked momentarily embarrassed.

"I read in the newspaper about your wife, man. I'm sorry."

"Thank you."

"They caught the guys that did it?"

"More or less."

"Huh," he said, and studied me for a moment. I could see that he was becoming uncomfortable with the knowledge that a chance meeting with an old friend is no guarantee that you can reclaim pleasant moments out of the past. Then he smiled again.

"You still a cop?" he asked.

"I own a bait and boat-rental business south of New Iberia. I came up here last night to pick up some refrigeration equipment and got stuck in the storm."

He nodded. We were both silent.

"Are you playing here, Dixie?" I said.


"No, I don't do that anymore. I never really got back to it after that trouble in Texas."

He cleared his throat and took a cigarette out of the pack in his shirt pocket.

"Say, hon, how about getting me my drink out of the bar?"

The waitress smiled, put down the rag she had been using to clean the counter, and went into the nightclub next door.

"You know about that stuff in Texas?" he asked.

"Yes, I think so."

"I was DWI, all right, and I ran away from the accident. But the guy run that stop sign. There wasn't no way I could have avoided it. But it killed his little boy, man. That's some hard shit to live with. I got out in eighteen months with good time." He made lines on a napkin with his thumbnail. "A lot of people just don't want to forget, though."

I didn't know what to say. I felt sorry for him. He seemed little different from the kid I used to know, except he was probably ninety-proof most of the time now. I remembered a quote in a Newsweek story about Dixie Lee that seemed to define him better than anything else I had ever seen written about him. The reporter had asked him if any of his band members could read music. He replied, "Yeah, some of them can, but it don't hurt their playing any."

So I asked him what he was doing now, because I had to say something.

"Leaseman," he said. "Like Hank Snow used to say, 'From old Montana down to Alabam.' I cover it all. Anyplace there's oil and coal. The money's right, too, podna."

The waitress put his bourbon and water down in front of him. He drank from it and winked at her over his glass.

"I'm glad you're doing okay, Dixie," I said.

"Yeah, it's a good life. A Caddy convertible, a new address every week, it beats collard greens and grits." He hit me on the arm. "Heck, it's all rock 'n' roll, anyway, man."

I nodded good-naturedly and looked through the service window at the Negro woman who was scraping my hash browns and chicken-fried steak onto a plate. I was about to tell the waitress that I had meant the order to go.

"Well, I got some people waiting on me," Dixie Lee said. "Like, some of the sweet young things still come around, you know what I mean? Take it easy, buddy. You look good."

I shook hands with him, ate my steak, bought a second cup of coffee for the road, and walked out into the rain.

The wind buffeted my truck all the way across the Atchafalaya basin. When the sun came up the light was gray and wet, and ducks and herons were flying low over the dead cypress in the marsh. The water in the bays was the color of lead and capping in the wind. A gas flare burned on a drilling rig set back in a flooded stand of willow trees. Each morning I began the day with a prayer, thanking my Higher Power for my sobriety of yesterday and asking Him to help me keep it today. This morning I included Dixie Lee in my prayer.

I drove back to New Iberia through St. Martinville. The sun was above the oaks on Bayou Teche now, but in the deep, early morning shadows the mist still hung like clouds of smoke among the cattails and damp tree trunks. It was only March, but spring was roaring into southern Louisiana, as it always does after the long gray rains of February. Along East Main in New Iberia the yards were filled with blooming azalea, roses, and yellow and red hibiscus, and the trellises and gazebos were covered with trumpet vine and clumps of purple wisteria. I rumbled over the drawbridge and followed the dirt road along the bayou south of town, where I operated a fish dock and lived with a six-year-old El Salvadoran refugee girl named Alafair in the old home my father had built out of cypress and oak during the Depression.

The wood had never been painted, was dark and hard as iron, and the beams had been notched and joined with pegs. The pecan trees in my front yard were thick with leaf and still dripping with rainwater, which tinked on the tin roof of the gallery. The yard always stayed in shadow and was covered with layers of blackened leaves. The elderly mulatto woman who baby-sat Alafair for me was in the side yard, pulling the vinyl storm covers off my rabbit hutches. She was the color of a copper penny and had turquoise eyes, like many South Louisiana Negroes who are part French. Her body looked put together out of sticks, and her skin was covered with serpentine lines. She dipped snuff and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes constantly, and bossed me around in my own home, but she could work harder than anyone I had ever known, and she had been fiercely loyal to my family since I was a child.

My boat dock was in full sunlight now, and I could see Batist, the other black person who worked for me, loading an ice chest for two white men in their outboard. He was shirtless and bald, and the weight of the ice chest made his wide back and shoulders ridge with muscle. He broke up kindling for my barbecue pit with his bare hands, and once I saw him jerk a six-foot alligator out of the water by its tail and throw it up on a sandbar.

I stepped around the puddles in the yard to the gallery.

"What you gonna do this coon?" Clarise, the mulatto woman, said.

She had put my three-legged raccoon, Tripod, on his chain, which was attached to a wire clothesline so he could run up and down in the side yard. She pulled him up in the air by the chain. His body danced and curled as though he were being garroted.

"Clarise, don't do that."

"Ax him what he done, him," she said. "Go look my wash basket. Go look your shirts. They blue yesterday. They brown now. Go smell, you."

"I'll take him down to the dock."

"Tell Batist not to bring him back, no." She dropped Tripod, half strangled, to the ground. "He come in my house again, you gonna see him cooking with the sweet potato."

I unsnapped his chain from the clothesline and walked him down to the bait shop and café on the dock. I was always amazed at the illusion of white supremacy in southern society, since more often than not our homes were dominated and run by people of color.

Batist and I bailed the rainwater from the previous night's storm out of my rental boats, filled the cigarette and candy machines, seined dead shiners out of the live-bait tanks, drained the water out of the ice bins and put fresh ice on top of the soda pop and beer, and started the barbecue fire for the lunch that we prepared for midday fishermen. Then I opened up the beach umbrellas that were set in the holes of the huge wooden telephone spools that I used as tables, and went back up to the house.

It had turned out to be a beautiful morning. The sky was blue, the grass in the fields a deeper green from the rain; the wind was cool on the gallery, the backyard still deep in shadow under the mimosa tree, and my redwood flower boxes were streaked with water and thick with petunias and Indian paintbrush. Alafair was at the kitchen table in her pajama bottoms, coloring in the Mickey Mouse book I had bought her the day before. Her black hair was cut in bangs; her eyes were big and brown, her face as round as a pie plate, and her skin had already started to grow darker with tan. If there was any physical imperfection in her, it was her wide-set front teeth, which only made her smile look larger than it actually was. It was hard to believe that less than a year ago I had pulled her from a downed plane out at Southwest Pass just off the Gulf, a drowning little girl whose bones had felt hollow as a bird's, whose gasping mouth had looked like a guppy's in my wife's lap.

I brushed her fine black hair under my palm.

"How you doing, little guy?" I said.

"Where you went, Dave?"

"I got caught in the storm and had to stay in Baton Rouge."


Her hand went back to coloring. Then she stopped and grinned at me, full of glee.

"Tripod went ca-ca in Clarise basket," she said.

"I heard about it. Look, don't say 'ca-ca.' Say 'He went to the bathroom.'"

"No ca-ca?"

"That's right. 'He went to the bathroom.'"

She repeated it after me, both of our heads nodding up and down.

She was in the first grade at the Catholic school in New Iberia, but she seemed to learn more English from Clarise and Batist and his wife than she did from me and the nuns. (A few lines you might hear from those three on any particular day: "What time it is?" "For how come you burn them leafs under my window, you?" "While I was driving your truck, me, somebody pass a nail under the wheel and give it a big flat.")

I hugged Alafair, kissed her on top of the head, and went into the bedroom to undress and take a shower. The breeze through the window smelled of wet earth and trees and the gentle hint of four-o'clocks that were still open in the shade. I should have been bursting with the spring morning, but I felt listless and spent, traveling on the outer edge of my envelope, and it wasn't simply because of bad dreams and insomnia the previous night. These moments would descend upon me at peculiar times, as though my heart's blood were fouled, and suddenly my mind would light with images and ring with sounds I wasn't ready to deal with.

It could happen anywhere. But right now it was happening in my bedroom. I had replaced several boards in the wall, or filled the twelve-gauge buckshot and deer-slug holes with liquid wood, and sanded them smooth. The gouged and splintered headboard, stained brown with my wife's blood as though it had been flung there by a paintbrush, lay in a corner of the old collapsed barn at the foot of my property. But when I closed my eyes I saw the streaks of shotgun fire in the darkness, heard the explosions that were as loud as the lightning outside, heard her screams as she cowered under a sheet and tried to shield herself with her hands while I ran frantically toward the house in the rain, my own screams lost in the thunder rolling across the land.

As always when these moments of dark reverie occurred in my waking day, there was no way I could think my way out of them. Instead, I put on my gym trunks and running shoes and pumped iron in the backyard. I did dead lifts, curls, and military presses with a ninety-pound bar in sets of ten and repeated the sets six times. Then I ran four miles along the dirt road by the bayou, the sunlight spinning like smoke through the canopy of oak and cypress trees overhead. Bream were still feeding on insects among the cattails and lily pads, and sometimes in a shady cut between two cypress trees I would see the back of a largemouth bass roll just under the surface.

I turned around at the drawbridge, waved to the bridgetender, and hit it hard all the way home. My wind was good, the blood sang in my chest, my stomach felt flat and hard, yet I wondered how long I would keep mortality and memory at bay.

Always the racetrack gambler, trying to intuit and control the future with only the morning line to operate on.

Three days later I was using a broomstick to push the rainwater out of the folds of the canvas awning over my dock when the telephone rang inside the bait shop. It was Dixie Lee Pugh.

"I'll take you to lunch," he said.

"Thanks but I'm working."

"I want to talk to you."

"Go ahead."

"I want to talk to you alone."

"Where are you?"


"Drive on over. Go out East Main, then take the bayou road south of town. You'll run right into my place."

"Give me an hour."

"You sound a little gray, podna."

"Yeah, I probably need to get married again or something. Dangle loose."

Every morning Batist and I grilled chickens and links on the barbecue pit that I had made by splitting an oil drum horizontally with an acetylene torch and welding hinges and metal legs on it. I sold paper-plate lunches of barbecue and dirty rice for three-fifty apiece, and I usually cleared thirty dollars or so from the fishermen who were either coming in for the day or about to go out. Then after we had cleaned the cable-spool tables, Batist and I would fix ourselves plates and open bottles of Dr Pepper and eat under one of the umbrellas by the water's edge.

It was a warm, bright afternoon, and the wind was lifting the moss on the dead cypress trees in the marsh. The sky was as blue and perfect as the inside of a teacup.

"That man drive like he don't know the road got holes in it," Batist said. His sun-faded denim shirt was open on his chest. He wore a dime on a string around his neck to keep away the gris-gris, an evil spell, and his black chest looked like it was made of boilerplate.

The pink Cadillac convertible, with its top down, was streaked with mud and rippled and dented along the fenders. I watched the front end dip into a chuckhole and shower yellow water all over the windshield.

"Dixie Lee never did things in moderation," I said.

"You ain't renting him our boat?"

"He's just coming out to talk about something. He used to be a famous country and rock 'n' roll star."

Batist kept chewing and looked at me flatly, obviously unimpressed.

"I'm serious. He used to be big stuff up in Nashville," I said.

His eyes narrowed, as they always did when he heard words that he didn't recognize.

"It's in Tennessee. That's where they make a lot of country records."

No help.

"I'll get us another Dr Pepper. Did you feed Tripod?" I said.

"You t'ink that coon don't know where the food at?"

I didn't understand.

"He ain't lost his nose, no."

"What are you saying, Batist?"

"He eat all your fried pies. Go look your fried pies."

Dixie Lee cut his engine, slammed the car door behind him, and lumbered down the dock into the bait shop, flipping one hand at us in recognition. His face was bloodless, the skin stretched tight on the bone, beaded with perspiration like drops of water on a pumpkin. His charcoal shirt, which was covered with roses, was damp along the buttons and under the armpits.

I followed him inside the bait shop. He dropped a five-dollar bill on the counter, opened a long-necked Jax on the side of the beer box, and upended it into his mouth. He kept swallowing until it was almost empty, then he took a breath of air and opened and closed his eyes.

"Boy, do I got one," he said. "I mean wicked, son, like somebody screwed a brace and bit through both temples."

He tilted the bottle up again, one hand on his hip, and emptied it.

"A mellow start, but it don't keep the snakes in their basket very long, do it?"


"What we're talking about here is the need for more serious fluids. You got any JD or Beam lying around?"

"I'm afraid not, Dixie." I rang up his sale and put his change on the counter.

"These babies will have to do, then." He opened another Jax, took a long pull, and blew out his breath. "A preacher once asked me, 'Son, can you take two drinks and walk away from it?' I said, 'I can't tell you the answer to that, sir, 'cause I never tried.' That ought to be funny, but I guess it's downright pathetic, ain't it?"

"What's up, partner?"

He looked around the empty bait shop.

"How about taking me for a boat ride?" he said.

"I'm kind of tied up right now."

"I'll pay you for your time. It's important, man."

His green eyes looked directly into mine. I walked to the bait-shop door.

"I'll be back in a half hour," I called to Batist, who was still eating his lunch under the umbrella.

"I appreciate it, Dave. You're righteous people." Dixie Lee popped open a paper bag and put four bottles of Jax inside.

I took him in an outboard down the bayou, past the four-corners, where the old flaking general store with its wide gallery sat in the shade of an enormous oak tree. Some old men and several Negroes from a road-maintenance crew were drinking soda pop on the gallery.

The wake from the outboard swelled up through the lily pads and cattails and slapped against the cypress roots along the bank. Dixie Lee lay back against the bow, the beer bottle in his hand filled with amber sunlight, his eyes narrowing wistfully in the sun's refraction off the brown water. I cut the engine and let us float on our own wake into an overhang of willow trees. In the sudden quiet we could hear a car radio playing an old Hank Williams song in the shell parking lot of the general store.

"Good God Almighty, is that inside my head or outside it?" he asked.

"It's from the four-corners," I said, and smiled at him. I took out my Puma pocketknife and shaved the bark off a wet willow stick.

"Boy, it takes me back, though. When I started out, they said if you don't play it like Hank or Lefty, it ain't worth diddly-squat on a rock. They were right, too. Hey, you know the biggest moment I ever had in my career? It wasn't them two gold records, and it sure wasn't marrying some movie actress with douche water for brains. It was when I got to cut a live album with the Fat Man down in New Orleans. I was the only white artist he ever recorded with. Man, he was beautiful. He looked like a little fat baby pig up on that piano bench, with a silver shirt on and rhinestone coat and rings all over his fingers. He was grinning and rocking and pounding the keys with those little sausage fingers, sweat flying off his face, and the whole auditorium going apeshit. I mean with white broads trying to climb on the stage and people doing the dirty boogie in front of the cops. I mean it was his show, he owned them, man, but each time he finished a ride he'd point at me so the spotlight would swing over on my guitar and I'd get half of all that yelling out there. That cat had a generous heart, man."

Dixie Lee shook his head and opened another Jax with his pocketknife. I looked at my watch.

"Yeah, I'm sorry," he said. "It's a problem I got, getting wrapped up in yesterday's scrapbook. Look, I got something bad on my mind. In fact, it's crazy. I don't even know how to explain it. Maybe there's nothing to it. Hell, I don't know."

"How about just telling me?"

"Star Drilling sent me and a couple of other leasemen up to Montana. On the eastern slope of the Rockies, what they call the East Front up there. Big gas domes, son. Virgin country. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. Except there's a problem with some wilderness areas and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

"But that don't concern me. I'm just a leaseman, right? Fooling around with the Forest Service or Indians or these crazy bastards spiking trees—"

"Doing what?"

"A bunch of cult people or something don't want anybody cutting down trees, so they hammer nails and railroad spikes way down in the trunk. Then some lumberjack comes along with a McCullough and almost rips his face off. But I don't have any beef with these people. Everybody's got their own scene, right? Let Star Drilling take care of the PR and the politics, and Dixie Lee will get through the day with a little JD and God's good grace.

"But we came back for six weeks of deals and meetings at the Oil Center in Lafayette. So I'm staying at the motel with these two other lease guys. The company picks up all the bills, the bar's always open, and a black guy serves us Bloody Marys and chilled shrimp by the pool every morning. It should have been a nice vacation before I go back to wheeling and dealing among the Indians and the crazies.


  • "Remarkable ... The plot crackles with suspense ... Not to be missed!"—Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • "Stunning ... Takes detective fiction into new imaginative realms ... Burke's fictional terrain is uniquely his own ... He writes from the heart and the gut."—Houston Chronicle
  • "A fine book, tough and vital .. A first-rate piece of storytelling."—Cleaveland Plain Dealer
  • "Full of low-lifes and rich crooks, sadism and corruption ... Burke shows that 'serious' literary craftmanship if compatible with the hard-boiled genre; he even gives the genre a superior story."—Chicago Tribune
  • "Wonderful writing ... Don't miss this book. It's one of the year's best."—Detroit Free Press

On Sale
Dec 15, 2011
Page Count
290 pages
Mulholland Books

James Lee Burke

About the Author

James Lee Burke is the New York Times bestselling, Edgar Award-winning author of twenty-four novels, including eighteen starring the Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux. Burke grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast, where he now lives with his wife Pearl. They also spend several months a year in Montana.

Learn more about this author