There are not many crime writers about whom one might invoke the name of Zola for comparison, but Burke is very much in that territory. His stamping ground is the Gulf coast, and one of the great strengths of his work has always been the atmospheric background of New Orleans and the bayous. His big, baggy novels are always about much more than the mechanics of the detective plot; his real subject, like the French master, is the human condition, seen in every situation of society.
With its trademark mix of brutality and poetry, Swan Peak is a brilliant piece of work from an American master.
James Lee Burke is the heavyweight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed.
When it comes to literate, pungently characterised American crime writing, James Lee Burke has few peers.
Richly deserves to be described now as one of the finest crime writers America has ever produced.
His lyrical prose, his deep understanding of what makes people behave as they do, and his control of plot and pace are masterly.
A gorgeous prose stylist.
The king of Southern noir.
One of the finest American writers.
The gentle giant of US crime writers, Burke always ensures that his Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux grapples with hot topics as much as with his own inner demons.