Have you ever noticed that most book covers don’t actually have the word “By” in front of the author’s name? I figured this out years ago, much to my chagrin.
Chagrin, by the way, has an interesting etymology. It comes from the Icelandic words chah (meaning “well, no duh”) and grinne (meaning “it’s too cold here to grin, so we grinne instead”).
I discovered the lack of “By” after I read and really enjoyed “James Lee Burke,” a Louisiana-based mystery novel about a detective named Dave Robicheaux.
Reading it, I got the impression that Robicheaux was a recurring character and “James Lee Burke” wasn’t the first novel featuring him.
So I looked for more novels by the author, who had the very peculiar name In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead.
But no luck.
Oddly enough though, I found several other books titled “James Lee Burke,” including ones written by Dixie City Jam, Last Car to Elysian Fields, Pegasus Descending and The Tin Roof Blowdown.
It was strange. Especially after I thought back and realized that In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead’s “James Lee Burke” didn’t have a character in it named James Lee Burke.
That’s when a light bulb went on above my head.
And I asked Mrs. Cool Kid if she could do whatever she was about to do sometime later because I don’t concentrate so good with a bright light in my face.
I searched some more. And believe it or not, I found yet another book called “James Lee Burke.” This one was written by Light of the World (a name I once went by, coincidently enough).
Looking at Light of the World’s version of “James Lee Burke,” I noticed there was no “By” on the cover.
And I thought, “Maybe James Lee Burke is the writer, not the title.”
Turns out, I was correct.
To contact writer Randy Waters, call 744-4240.