Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Alafair Burke

Alafair Burke's novels include “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid.

Burke's latest novel If You Were Here features former prosecutor turned journalist McKenna Jordan.

From the author's Q & A with Richard Godwin:

As a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, and Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, how has your knowledge of law helped inform your fictions?

I know the flow of a criminal investigation and prosecution at a fairly organic level, and that flow tends to shape the arc of my novels. It helps that I can depict procedures in a believable way without having to do research, of course. But most important, I learned a lot about the culture of law enforcement when I was still in practice. There’s a language and a vibe to a precinct, and when it’s not depicted with authenticity, readers know it.

Revenge is a popular theme in much crime fiction. To what extent do you think revenge is lawless justice and does its appeal lie in the feeling that the law fails many victims of crime?

I’m not a huge fan of raw revenge stories. Maybe I’m old fashioned and still believe that our imperfect justice system is the best system out there. For me, revenge stories only work if the audience truly believes there’s a reason for the hero to work outside of the system. Then you can let those stories rip.

Do you think the best detectives have strong criminal shadows?

I think the best detectives have...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Alafair Burke's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: If You Were Here.

--Marshal Zeringue