Why does the turgid airport thriller incite my wrath?
It’s because there is such a thing as a well-written crime novel, and one writer who manages to churn out the thrills without neglecting the finer points of characterisation and subtlety is James Lee Burke. Many of his novels feature Detective Dave Robicheaux, resident of New Iberia, Louisiana. Burke knows how to inject local colour that isn’t irritating, and create unusual characters that can remain believable. He’s very good at bad guys too, often creepy old white men in positions of power. Burke’s novels vary from outstanding to merely competent, but he doesn’t do crap. He’s my go-to man for mysteries. Personal favourite: Jolie Blon’s Bounce.