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Powell's Q&A

Alafair Burke

Describe your latest project.
Angel's Tip is my second novel featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher. It was inspired by two New York City murders in 2006, one of a graduate student who stayed at a Soho bar for a final drink alone after her friend wanted to go home, the other of a high school student who wandered the West Side Highway alone after her car was towed while she was clubbing in Chelsea. The two murders had me remembering late night arguments with girlfriends so many years ago: someone wants to go home, someone else stays behind alone.

Angel's Tip follows the homicide investigation of Chelsea Hart, a fresh-faced Indiana college student who is found murdered after spending the final hours of her spring break in the VIP room of an elite Manhattan nightclub. The case pulls Ellie Hatcher into a late-night world of exclusive clubs, conspicuous wealth, and hedonistic consumption. It also pits her against her fellow cops and places her under the watchful eye of a psychopath.

  1. Angel

    Angel's Tip

    Alafair Burke
    "Burke's brisk and ultimately suspenseful narrative offers wily and intricate plotting and sharply etched major and minor characters." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "[G]ripping....Burke leaves her principle characters little time to sleep; readers will relate." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  2. Dead Connection
    $12.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    Dead Connection

    Alafair Burke
    "[I]ntricately-plotted, fast-paced....Holds the reader's attention from first word to last, and begs for a sequel." Kirkus Reviews
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Jack Reacher. Short sentences. Big muscles. Gone in the morning.

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
The most interesting job I'll ever have was as a Deputy District Attorney in Portland. I still use what I learned about cops, lawyers, judges, and life every day, whether I'm writing or teaching law.

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false?
A writer's desire to elaborate can get in the way of a good lie. The best lies are simple.

What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
They're flip flops made out of pink shearling. Need I say more?

What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Cheese. Any kind and in any form.

Name the best television series of all time.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Simultaneously funny, dark, and sweet, this series gave viewers seven seasons, each with an identifiable arc as carefully crafted and well layered as you'd find in any novel. Only Joss Whedon could create a character who credibly transitions from bouncy cheerleader to sacrificial savior to death-savoring self-abuser, all while turning in the requisite snark during the "slayage."

Make a question of your own, then answer it.
Q: What's the deal with your name?

A: I was named after my father's maternal grandmother. I spent my childhood hating my name and trying to get a nickname to stick (including "Farrah" in the early '70s). Then a drag queen to whom I sold clothes at this cheesy Kansas boutique called Cricket Alley used my name and won the Miss Gay Wichita pageant. I figured that if she could make it work in designer knockoffs, I could suffer through.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Five Great Books I Purchased for My Husband, Who Doesn't Read Fiction

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Cod by Mark Kurlansky

Heat by Bill Buford

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

÷ ÷ ÷

A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra Law School and lives in New York City. She is the author of the Samantha Kincaid series, which includes the novels Judgment Calls, Missing Justice, and Close Case; and Dead Connection, her first thriller featuring Ellie Hatcher.


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