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James L Burke










James Lee Burke

Born in Texas in 1936, Burke is not only a hunk, he's also a gentleman and a scholar. His stories touch my heart and make movies happen in my head. When they start to fade, I go back to the source and refresh them; they're feelings and pictures I don't want to lose. He makes me proud to be a southerner, and that's not always an easy thing to do.

Dave Robicheaux, Streak to his friends, owns his own business, a bait shop outside New Iberia, Louisiana. He's also one of that small town's policemen. He's an alcoholic who's recovering, most of the time and he doesn't look a damned bit like Alec Baldwin. He looks a lot like James Lee Burke. He's partial to the blues sung by the likes of Hogman Patin and cajun music like La Jole Blon.

I met him at, I guess you could say, an unsettling time for him. By day, he pursued a ruthless killer and associated with various low-life types. By night, he visited around campfires in the swamp with John Bell Hood and his boys, all dead these past hundred and thirty years.

These are the movies in my head that are so sharp and clear that reality retreats before them like fog before the sunshine. I loved Dave on sight and have followed him into places I'd never have dreamed could exist. I saw them clear as day...and I saw things Dave wasn't there to see. I saw Sonny Boy Marsallis get hit. I saw it in slow motion and technicolor. (These movies with scenes from the different books, they don't play book by book anymore. They play in chronological order.) Later, I was there when Bootsie took the call from Sonny Boy. The sound of that call still stands the hair on my neck on end.

I could go on and on, and in fact, I have gone on too long already. I'm going to fix myself a nice cool drink now--Dr. Pepper over crushed ice, in a tall glass, with lots of cherries--and visit with Streak and Batist and Bootsie. We're going to sit on the dock and watch Alafair feed Tripod a bunch of grapes. It's warm here, and the drone of the dragon flies is almost hypnotic. If you've never been here, I feel sorry for you.


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