Best Writer

James Lee Burke

Readers' Pick

Lolo resident James Lee Burke is no stranger to high praise. He’s been called “America’s best novelist” and “the heavyweight champ” of crime fiction, and he’s a regular on the bestseller lists. He’s also a regular winner of this category. With such lavish accolades, it’s easy sometimes to overlook the littler things in his writing. Take his description of a secondary character in his latest thriller, Creole Belle: “Miss Alice was a former nun whose height and body mass and gurgling sounds made Clete think of a broken refrigerator he once owned.” Only Burke would compare a once-holy woman to an old kitchen appliance. It’s perfect passages like this one, as well as all his big accomplishments, that keep Burke atop this category.

Finalists, Best Writer

2. Mark Gibbons

3. Rick Bass

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