I'm going to start a new "series" here, listing authors that I like and why. Reading is on the decline in the United States, and while I'm assuming that most people who read this blog love books, there's always the chance that I might snag someone who was here for the recipe(s).
My favorite mystery author is James Lee Burke. There is a lyricism, a poetry, about his writing that is unusual in crime fiction. On the negative side, his women tend to be one-dimensional (except for the prostitutes and lowlifes), and he also has one plot: one man (with a little help from his friends) fighting internal and external demons. But I never let that stop me. Burke has a tremendous amount to say about institutionalized racism in the south, corruption so widespread it's almost genetic, the raping of the environment. His latest book, "The Tin Roof Blow Down," another in the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux series, deals with the corruption and destruction in the wake of Katrina; it is a stunning read, a love letter to Louisiana and its citizens.
My favorite book of his has kind of a woo-woo factor. I don't know how well it sold, but I imagine it's probably not one of his best sellers because of the ghost aspect to it. His publishers probably pulled him aside and said, "Jim, cut the supernatural shit." I recommend it highly: "In the Electric Mist of the Confederate Dead." If you're an American reading this, it says so much about the Civil War, the people who fought it, the guilt of the survivors (us), the honorable men who fought an dishonorable war, the stupidity, and the slaughter.
Writer envy meter: five stars