Saturday, August 11, 2012
Listener: my large feature on James Lee Burke
Now, before some of you get all huffy with me and start throwing around other names of other great crime writers, I'd just like to point out that it was a greater man than me, John Connolly, who called Burke thus at the recent crime writing festival in Harrogate. And as Connolly said, "you can disagree with me, but you'd be wrong".
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Burke, again, this year. He's been one of my all-time favourite crime writers for more than a decade, and he's so interesting to talk to. We spent an hour chatting about everything from Greek tragedy and Elizabethan theatre to the nature of war throughout history to the environmental cost of energy exploration, US politics, the plight of the underclass, reality TV as the modern version of the Roman circus, the nature of art, and much more.
We were, of course, meant to be talking about his latest Dave Robicheaux book, CREOLE BELLE, released this month (it's excellent - get your hands on it).
But Burke is one of those authors who'd rather just chat about interesting things, than just push his latest book. He's an amazingly intelligent, thoughtful, fascinating, and opinionated man. Humble and generous with his time, he's one of those people that you get off the phone from talking with, and you just feel like 'man, how lucky am I to do this for a job'? Of course, he's a hell of a writer too.
I've had some very nice feedback about the feature already, which is humbling - I just hope it does Jim justice. Go grab a copy of the Listener, and let me know what you think. I hope you like it too.