Dear Mr. Burke:
In 1978 I got my BA in English from Mills College, majoring in American Lit - charmed by Gatsby, awed by Faulkner. I think the first book I read of yours was "In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead." loved it so much I immediately bought it for my Mom. Dave Robicheaux is an unforgettable character, but your writing was what took me out of the awareness of reading a book and transported me to see and smell and hear the story. I was hooked and so was my husband. We still love this book and think it is one of your best! Right now there are 4 of your books on the dining table, two on our night stands, 4 in Audible on my iPhone so I can hear Will Patton give his voice to your stories. So many times we each laugh at the audacit of a character and read aloud, "Just listen to this!" we read lots of books, but have to say your are enjoyed the most, triggering a James Lee Burke junket.
I believe you are the best writer of American Literature-- and had my path not changed, I would teach your books in American Lit courses. Faulkner didn't get the respect he deserved while alive. Had I read your work while in my Faulkner seminars, I would have had quite the attitude: "Don't you realize Burke is just as good as Faulkner if not better and he's still alive, prolifically writing incredible books?!"
I am only one person who appreciates a skillful writer and a good story. I appreciate you. Thank you for Dave and Hack and Billy Bob and poor Clete. My daughter like Alafair went to Reed. I too am a grateful friend of Bill W. Wishing you continued good health and stories to share.