Alafair Burke is the bestselling author of nine novels, including If You Were Here, Long Gone, and Never Tell. Seven of her books belong to “two powerhouse series” (Sun-Sentinel)—one featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and the other featuring Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid—that have earned Burke a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters.
She was born in Ft. Lauderdale, the fourth of four children for her writer-father (James Lee) and her librarian-mother (Pearl). She attributes her early fascination with crime to her family’s move in the late 1970s to Wichita, Kansas. Their new home fell squarely within the stalking territory of a serial killer who called himself BTK. Like other children in Wichita in that era, Burke learned to check the phone lines to be sure they weren’t cut, to keep the basement door locked at all times, and to barricade herself in the bathroom with the phone if she had to call 911. In a world where the killer could be anyone, and where an arrest appeared hopeless, she found comfort in crime fiction. Her mother took her to the library every weekend for a new stack of books. She moved from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and eventually to Sue Grafton. In fiction, as opposed to Wichita, smart sleuthing always paid off, and order was always restored.
After graduating from Reed College and Stanford Law School, Burke served as a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon. As a prosecutor, she worked as a trial lawyer prosecuting domestic violence offenses and as a liaison to the police department, where she worked directly out of the police precinct, trained officers in search and seizure, and wore a Kevlar vest for night-shift ride-alongs. She attributes her ability to write realistic crime fiction to her experiences working in the courtroom and precinct.
Burke is also an active teacher and scholar in the areas of criminal law and procedure. She is a Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, has published numerous academic articles relating to police and prosecutorial discretion, and is frequently invited to provide training to prosecutors across the country.
She lives in New York City with her husband and a very spoiled but sweet French Bulldog named Double.
If You Were Here (2013)
Never Tell (2012)
Angel’s Tip (2008)
Dead Connection (2008)