At a Glance
James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his Dave Robicheaux crime mystery series.
The author was born in Houston in 1936. He graduated from the Southwestern Louisiana Institute, after which he also attended and graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA and MA in English.
While being an author is what we know him for best, he also had some interesting and odd jobs over the years, including being a land surveyor, pipeliner, reporter for a newspaper, college professor in English, a clerk, and social worker, to name just a few.
His books have received several awards, among others twice the Edgar award for best crime novel of the year. Heaven’s Prisoners and Two For Texas have been turned into movies.
For those authors who get discouraged by their books being rejected by publishers, here’s an interesting tidbit. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected for a total of 111 times before it was finally published by Louisiana State University Press. The book was nominated for a Pulitzer. Lesson to take away: never give up.
The author’s daughter, Alafair Burke is also an established crime mystery writer with two main series (Ellie Hatcher and Samantha Kinkaid). Also, a well worth author to check out.
The journey to read the James Lee Burke books in order will take you through over 25 books he has written over many decades, including 3 main series, with the most popular one being Dave Robicheaux.
I have to admit, I’ve only ever read this particular series, and I’m yet to get to the rest of his books, but sadly the saying ‘too many books to read in one lifetime’ is very true.
Needless to say, however, the Dave Robicheaux series, which currently consists of 24 published books with the latest one, Robicheaux: You Know My Name, published early 2018, is highly recommended if you like Southern mysteries with heavy baggage recovering alcoholic sheriffs solving murders in their own personal way.
If you’re new to the series, you might also want to check out the two movies made based on the books, one with Alec Baldwin (called Heaven’s Prisoners) and the other one with Tommy Lee Jones (Electric Mist).
Here are the James Lee Burke books listed in publication order with the publication date next to the series number.
Dave Robicheaux Series In Order
- The Neon Rain (Dave Robicheaux #1), 1987
- Heaven’s Prisoners (Dave Robicheaux #2), 1988
- Black Cherry Blues (Dave Robicheaux #3), 1989
- A Morning For Flamingos (Dave Robicheaux #4), 1990
- A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux #5), 1992
- In Electric Mist With Confederate Dead (Dave Robicheaux #6), 1993
- Dixie City Jam (Dave Robicheaux #7), 1994
- Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux #8), 1995
- Cadillac Jukebox (Dave Robicheaux #9), 1996
- Sunset Limited (Dave Robicheaux #10), 1998
- Purple Cane Road (Dave Robicheaux #11), 2000
- Jolie Blon’s Bounce (Dave Robicheaux #12), 2002
- Last Car To Elysian Fields (Dave Robicheaux #13), 2003
- Crusader’s Cross (Dave Robicheaux #14), 2005
- Pegasus Descending (Dave Robicheaux #15), 2006
- The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave Robicheaux #16), 2007
- Swan Peak (Dave Robicheaux #17), 2008
- The Glass Rainbow (Dave Robicheaux #18), 2010
- Creole Belle (Dave Robicheaux #19), 2012
- Light of the World (Dave Robicheaux #20), 2013
- Robicheaux: You Know My Name (Dave Robicheaux #21), 2018
- The New Iberia Blues (Dave Robicheaux #22), 2019
Billy Bob Holland Series In Order
- Cimarron Rose (Billy Bob Holland #1), 1997
- Heartwood (Billy Bob Holland #2), 1999
- Bitterroot (Billy Bob Holland #3), 2001
- In The Moon Of Red Ponies (Billy Bob Holland #4), 2004
Hackberry Holland Series In Order
- Lay Down My Sword And Shield (Hackberry Holland #1), 1971
- Rain Gods (Hackberry Holland #2), 2009
- Feast Day of Fools (Hackberry Holland #3), 2011
- House of the Rising Sun (Hackberry Holland #4), 2015
Holland Family Saga Series In Order
Other Books By James Lee Burke
- Half of Paradise, 1965
- To The Bright and Shining Sun, 1970
- Two for Texas, 1982
- The Convict, 1985 (short stories)
- The Lost Get-Back Boogie, 1986
- White Doves at Morning, 2002
- Jesus Out To Sea, 2007 (short stories)