Jan Burke Books In Order

Publication Order of Irene Kelly Books

Goodnight, Irene (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweet Dreams, Irene (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dear Irene, (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Remember Me, Irene (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hocus (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Liar (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bones (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Flight (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bloodlines (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kidnapped (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Disturbance (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Nine (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Messenger (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Eighteen (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Caught Red-Handed (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

To pay tribute to her childhood, which she still enjoys, as she admits, Jan Burke and her husband possess a collection of children’s books, like Freddy the Pig. During her childhood in Houston, Texas, where she was born, her parents sowed the seeds of affinity for books by stimulating her to read and visit the local library. It was her mother who started a school library without a budget, but truly believed it should exist. Scientific materials were also treated in the family as an appropriate source of information to shape the academic and literary taste of the young girl, nine years of age by that time, and already settled in Southern California. The family with four children lived in Long Beach for some six months, and soon after they moved to Orange County for the most of Jan’s school age.

Now the grown-up Jan admits that reading mystery was not her priority; rather classics. It was in high school when she embarked on adult fiction, starting with Agatha Christie. Later on, in college, the passion for the genre developed, falling on stories written by Raymond Chandler. Writing crime fiction and a thriller, The Messenger, would characterize the main creative activity of the Edgar Award winner years after, as well as her short storytelling, all having different foreign language translations as international editions.

The interest in science drove her to California State University, where she obtained a degree in history. Burke was also a manager of a manufacturing business for some years and worked for a corporation that had obtained her father’s company. It was during that period of work experience, when she dedicated time after work to write and give birth to Goodnight, Irene. She also held the position of a Long Beach Press Sunday columnist, as well as an editor of a guide how to get published. A vaguely known fact is that Jan also wrote music and performed it. Some of her fans state that she is one of the few writers that can serve as a member of a few boards of directors, write a book and travel all over the world at one and the same time.

Coastal cities, situated south of Los Angeles, fall straight in Burke’s settings for mysteries. She treats locations as important in her fiction, and prefers places of a rich variety of heritage. The fictional town of Las Piernas of newspaper reporter Irene Kelly series symbolizes a palette of their spirit and environment, as well as enjoys extra features, which the author incorporates in descriptions of places or people that do not exist in reality, but spread from her imagination and creativity. In Remember Me, Irene, the Angelus Hotel is a typical example in that respect. The inspiration for Irene Kelly hardly stems from a particular personality, but rather exists as a self-made character, emerging in the first lines of Goodnight, Irene.

The “daydreaming”, as Burke describes her process of inventing the plots and characters, brings to light one crucial point for the author – what the book is about. As in Hocus, for example, the storylines lead to reflections on trauma and how it is addressed and overcome, the villains in life and the interest of the reader in their behavior, trust as a general concept, and, as Jan advises, the idea of the victim, protagonist and antagonist in a specific interdependence or relation.

Irene Kelly – dedicated, independent, generous and courageous – brings the aura of realism in the different plots – her hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses enter into harmony with the reader’s understanding and emotions. A specific aspect of Burke’s style is the integration of the relationship idea in the story, that of Irene and her husband, Frank Harriman, a homicide detective, into the atmosphere of the books. Conflict between them is built skillfully, as well as respect for one another and passion that drives their life together. The author is resourceful in shaping the characters in their complexity.

Research is an integral part of Burke’s book writing – historians are investigating different subjects, and so is she. Her first steps of research start at the library, including the virtual environment. Data is further added to the pile of information she gathers by experts of forensic science at colleges. Unexpectedly, the research may lead the author to a hike of a Virginia cliff to watch a dog training, or to observe shelters of homeless people. The process leads to a good storytelling, Burke likes to state it. She respects her readers for being sophisticated, and never tries to cheat them as she admits as, otherwise, they may be willing to throw the book against the wall.

This may be the reason for her to enjoy also reveal a character in brief touches as the short stories, she is equally famous for, allow the endeavor to materialize. The idea of a few pages of developing a plot or character fascinates her creative mind, too. She insists on the assumption that writers should write what they are inspired to write.

Burke believes that she is a part of the genre continuum, and, on an equal footing, she breaks new grounds to bring fresh elements. She loves, however, the tradition of crime fiction. Her creed involves the belief that a writer and a book possess the strongest bond ever. Jan enjoys the tense and well-written stories that are based on believable protagonists who inspire trust. She doesn’t believe in a plot that may be pulling a rabbit out of hat to name it a mystery. Or in villains of the “last minute”, shaped in the last few pages.

Despite options, Jan’s books have not made it to the screen yet. Only traveled as a long film on the screen of her own imagination.

A surprising moment for Burke has been to see a book of hers on national TV, in the hands of the President of the U.S. after taking office. Beside that, she admires simple pleasures, like gardening, talking to people she loves, listening to the silence of the large park near her house…

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jan Burke