James Lee Burke is the greatest living American Crime Fiction author. I could easily pull the 'Crime Fiction' qualifier from that statement and not be wrong. He is that good. Inexplicably, I stopped buying Mr. Burke's books. Primarily because they tend(ed) to show up on overstock tables, so I felt fairly confident I could grab a copy cheap if I was patient for the next nine months. Of course from THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN forward I had a run of bad luck finding a clean unmaked copy.
I could see the damage of my own shortsightedness. The missing are PEGASUS DESCENDING, THE GLASS RAINBOW, FEAST DAY OF FOOLS, and CREOLE BELLE. I sat there and made the decision to find them. Not too difficult a prospect as I need only walk into the right store to find CREOLE BELLE which was Mr. Burke's 2012 release. And given the relative recent publication of the the rest trusted internet providers should fill the gaps.
Scanning down the shelf at the my Burke's revealed other gaps. I shelled out what amounted to a lot of money about 10-12 years ago to get NEON RAIN, but missing were HEAVEN'S PRISONERS and A MORNING FOR FLAMINGOS. Truth be told I wanted to replace BLACK CHEERY BLUES as well. That remainder marked book was my first Ebay purchase about 16 years ago. These books would be more difficult. HEAVEN'S PRISONER would be the easiest although the most expensive. A walk through a book fair usually turned up one or two. FLAMINGOS and BLACK CHERRY would be tougher. As they are books 3 and 4 in the Robicheaux series they just do not turn up often at shows. Even my the dealer room experiences at Bouchercon turned up precious little.
Sure the internet would be my ally here, but the difference between finding a book at a show or in a store and clicking 'add to cart' is big for me. Nothing replaces the excitement of hunting a book down. Seven books was a reasonable goal, and one that I was certain would be a great deal of fun. I had a plan. I also had an expensive problem.