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James Lee Burke Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dave Robicheaux Books

The Neon Rain (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heaven's Prisoners (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Cherry Blues (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Morning for Flamingos (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Stained White Radiance (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dixie City Jam (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Burning Angel (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cadillac Jukebox (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sunset Limited (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Purple Cane Road (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jolie Blon's Bounce (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Car to Elysian Fields (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crusader's Cross (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pegasus Descending (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tin Roof Blowdown (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swan Peak (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Glass Rainbow (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Creole Belle (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Light of the World (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robicheaux (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Iberia Blues (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Private Cathedral (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clete (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Holland Family Universe Books

Lay Down My Sword and Shield (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Two for Texas (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cimarron Rose (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heartwood (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bitterroot (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Moon of Red Ponies (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rain Gods (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Feast Day of Fools (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wayfaring Stranger (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
House of the Rising Sun (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Jealous Kind (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Another Kind of Eden (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Every Cloak Rolled in Blood (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Hackberry Holland Books

Lay Down My Sword and Shield (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rain Gods (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Feast Day of Fools (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
House of the Rising Sun (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Another Kind of Eden (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Every Cloak Rolled in Blood (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Billy Bob Holland Books

Cimarron Rose (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heartwood (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bitterroot (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Moon of Red Ponies (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Weldon Holland Books

Wayfaring Stranger (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Jealous Kind (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Half of Paradise (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
To the Bright and Shining Sun (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Two for Texas (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Get-Back Boogie (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
White Doves at Morning (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flags on the Bayou (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Texas City, 1947 (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Convict and the Other Stories (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jesus Out to Sea (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Harbor Lights (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Louisiana Stories(1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2006(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2008(2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Delta Blues(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2009(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Books to Die For(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2014(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2018(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

An American writer of a vast and extensive backlog of mystery titles, the novelist James Lee Burke has been writing for some time now. Known for crime stories, some of which have also been adapted for the screen, he’s a well known and well established presence on the literary scene. Winning awards and recognition for his contributions to the genre, he’s a leading figure within the industry and will continue to be so for many years to come.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1936 on the 5th of December, James Lee Burke grew up in Houston, Texas, where he was born and raised. Growing up in the United States, he spent a large portion of his childhood on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast, where he would spend most of his childhood. During this time he would harness his passion for both reading and writing, whilst also taking in a wealth of inspiration as well.

Attending the University of Missouri as well as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he gained a BA along with an MA in English literature. This allowed him to get the tools he’d require in becoming a more competent and articulate writer, refining and honing his voice to be. Throughout his education he’d also constantly be writing as well, continually working on his career as an author and a novelist.

Previously working as a truck driver he would undertake many attempts to get published, many of which were unsuccessful at first. Working for the U.S. Forest Service, though, he persevered in his efforts to get himself published and get his work out there. Taking up a number of other positions as well, he would also gain a wealth of experience, such as a social-worker and a newspaper reporter.

Still writing to this very day, he still has books planned for the future, as he continues to maintain a strong presence on the literary scene. A prolific author and writer he lives with his wife Pearl in their home in Lolo in Montana, having had four children, one of whom, Alfair, is also a well known crime writer. With his writing career and legacy growing from strength-to-strength, this is something that will continue on into the foreseeable future for some time to come.

Writing Career

Bringing out his first novel in 1965 he made his debut onto the scene with ‘Half of Paradise’, a book which was set within Louisiana. Creating a style and a tone that was entirely unique to him, it harked the arrival of a new and exciting literary talent. With its stylistic ambiance and clever use of atmosphere, it also had a strong ear for dialogue and character, as he really brought the world to life.

Running a number of series as well throughout his career, he’s well known for focusing on characters and people too. Telling stories of real human interest he has been able to focus his craft on getting into the minds of his inhabitants, something which his audience has been able to relate to. With franchises such as the ‘Dave Robicheaux’ and the ‘Holland Family’ series, he’s a highly prolific and versatile author.

Winning a variety of awards and nominations over the course of his long and extensive career he is not without critical acclaim too. Receiving the Edgar Award twice during the course of his writing career he has become a highly prolific figure within the industry. Appreciated both nationally and internationally he has a huge audience worldwide, with his books being read all across the globe.

With a legacy that’s set to continue for some time yet, there’s still books planned for James Lee Burke on the horizon. Living happily married with his wife in Montana, he continues to be an active spokesperson for both him and his craft. Not showing signs of stopping anytime soon, his writing career will carry on for some time yet, with more and more discovering his work everyday.

Tin Roof Blowdown

Originally published in 2007 on the 17th of July, this was first brought out through the ‘Simon and Schuster’ publishing house. Setting up the sixteenth title in the ongoing ‘Dave Robicheaux’ franchise of novels, it sees him conducting his next investigation. A deputy sheriff, this series takes place in Nevada, as it sees the eponymous lead protagonist solve a series of cases with each title.

Taking place during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this sees the now lawless city of New Orleans being up-for-grabs to looters and thieves. Stepping onto the scene is one Dave Robicheaux, as he attempts to delve into the now wasteland and solve the case of the shooting of two would-be looters. Travelling through a derelict land he comes into contact with a dangerous and ragtag group of individuals, all affected in some way or another by the tragedy. Will he find the shooter? Can law and order ever be restored? What will become of the tin roof blowdown?

The Jealous Kind

Brought out through the ‘Simon and Schuster’ publishing label, this was a more recent entry into the career of James Lee Burke. Marking the second title to come out in the ongoing ‘Holland Family Saga’ franchise of novels, it sees him continuing the series in much the same vein as the first. Not only that, it’s also a great title for anyone hoping to find out more on the later career of Burke as an author, as they can definitely see his development as an author here.

Set in Texas in 1952, this follows one Aaron Holland, as he finds himself coming-of-age to the backdrop of the American war. Taking place in Houston, it sees him plunging headfirst into a world of violence he never knew existed, as he witnesses the beautiful Valerie Epstein being attacked by her boyfriend at a drive-in. Defending her, he soon discovers that her boyfriend, Grady Harrelson, is linked to one of the biggest crime families and the mob. Will he be able to defend himself? Can he keep both him and Valerie safe? What’s in store for him when he comes up against someone who’s the jealous kind?

James Lee Burke Biography:

James Lee Burke is not new to many book lovers.The American citizen is one of most celebrated authors worldwide.He is known for books like Light of the world, Burning Angel and Crusader’s Cross.He is a mystery writer and his books have never disappointed the readers especially when it comes to suspense and the dramatic twist of events seen only in his work.

Early Life:

James Lee Burke was born on December 5th 1936 in Los Angeles Texas.His childhood life was pretty normal as he grew up on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.His passion for writing began when he was in his teenage years where he was an avid reader of “The Hardy Boys.”He was however to realize his dream of becoming a great novelist after he graduated from the University.His success did not come on a silver platter.At one point he almost ended his career by giving up after a series of disappointments.

His Career:

By the time James was thirty four years, he had published three books namely, Half of Paradise (1965), To the Bright and Shining Sun (1970) and Lay Down my Sword and Shield.The books were fairly successful.However, it was after the three books that he faced a great challenge that almost ended his career.His next book The Lost Get Back Boogie got rejected by close to 100 publishers.This was in the course of nine years.His break came later in 1986 when the Louisiana State University Press agreed to publish the book. It was was an instant success to the point that he won a Pulitzer Prize.

Dave Robicheaux Series

James Lee Burke is known for his Dave Robicheaux series books which include novels like The Neon Rain, Heaven’s Prisoners,Cadillac Jukebox,The Glass Rainbow and many more.There are about twenty books in this category.

Robicheaux is an unsung hero who fights for the helpless in society against rich and powerful people.He is a Lieutenant in the New Orleans Police Department trying to bring justice to the unprivileged despite the system being filled with loopholes that the influential minority use to their advantage.

In Neon Rain the brutal murder of a young black prostitute angers the main protagonist.Robicheaux vows to solve the case and put those behind the murder behind bars.His investigation however becomes life threatening as he digs deeper into the case.

Robicheaux is a dedicated incorruptible cop;a trait that does not go down well with his superiors.His dedication to his job costs him his first marriage.His second wife gets murdered while his third wife dies from Lumpus.His life might be a tragic story but he is a brilliant cop.However the villains in the books are equally brilliant in their plans to simply dominate and influence the economy as well as politics of the city.

There are characters like Frank Costello; a mafia boss who literally owns the city, William Buchalter and Legion Guidry.Robicheaux describes Louisiana as a piece of South America that was torn loose during a hurricane and floated northward affixing itself to the southern end of the United States.This remark simply defines the nature of corruption and decadence in the city.

Billy Bob Holland Series:

James has a another collection of novels that introduce a new character Billy Bob Holland in books like Cimmaron Rose,Heart Wood,Bitterroot and In the Moon of Red Ponies.Billy is a former Texas Ranger turned lawyer and is haunted by the death of his partner.He helps out the voiceless a deed he sees as a sort redemption of his past mistakes.

In Cimmaron Rose, he defends his son who is accused of rape and murder.He is convinced his son is innocent even though the evidence is contrary.Billy forced to deal with his emotional baggage like his violent nature which is rather difficult when most of the people he meets are the scum of the earth.

Just like Robicheaux, he equally has constant problems with the rich privileged who think they are above the law.In Heartwood for instance a wealthy man known as Earl Dietrich accuses his ex-worker Wilburt Pickett of stealing from him.In the course of defending Wilburt, Billy uncovers deception and secrecy that could harm him, his family, and his client’s family if exposed.

Other Works:

James Lee Burke’s work does not end there.He has added other series books like Hackberry Holland and Miscellaneous.He also has a collection of Short Story Anthologies.This author’s books continue to be sort after up to date.

Private Life:

James is married to his wife Pearl and have four children and four grandchildren.Their daughter Alafair Burke has followed in her father’s footsteps for she is also a fictional writer.James is a very private man especially when his family is concerned.He and his wife have invested in real estate and the two own a number of homes in Louisiana and Montana.


The author has received a number of awards for his work.He received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction in 1988.He also received Louisiana Writer Award in 2002.He is recognized by the Mystery Writers of America as one of the best fictional writers in the state.


Hollywood has acknowledged this author’s great work and most of his books have been turned into movies with celebrities like Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman in In The Electric Mist with Confederate Dead.Two for Texas and Heaven’s prisoners (starring Alec Baldwin) have also been turned into movies.In August 2012 Fox producer announced that he would serialize James Lee Burke’s Detective Dave Robicheaux collection on small screen.Fans can hardly wait for its premiere.

James Lee Burke has inspired many young authors who struggle to have their books published.The key is to be patient and not give up.The fact that he had to wait for nine years before his career flourished shows the kind of passion and determination he had to become what he wanted to become.His books are a thrill to read and they are always filled with the kind of suspense that make reading mystery novels an addiction.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Lee Burke

5 Responses to “James Lee Burke”

  1. Gabriel Peachey: 1 month ago

    I’ve just finished reading Flags on the Bayou. JLB refers to it as his best book yet. Having read ( and enjoyed) many of his other books the power of this one left me hanging on to every word that somehow these strange mix of characters would survive this hell.
    And they did!!
    Congratulations a great read

  2. Maggie George: 2 years ago

    There has never been a more eloquent writer.

  3. Terry Schuck: 2 years ago

    Your writing speaks to my soul.

  4. Arty Trost: 3 years ago

    Some series read best in the order published. Others (such as the Jack Reacher series) can be read in any order. Which is true for the Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee Burke?

    • Karen Osgood: 2 years ago

      Definitely read Dave Robicheaux in order. But whatever order you read them, you should read them.


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