Her most recent psychological thriller, THE WIFE, has been praised as “sneaky” (Lisa Scottoline), “schemey” (Seattle Times), “twisty” (Megan Miranda), and “tantalizing” (Booklist). THE WIFE was selected as a best-of-the-month pick by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, O (Oprah Magazine), and others. It is being adapted as a feature film by Amazon Studios, with Alafair hired to write the screenplay.
Her previous novel, THE EX, was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel.
In addition to the standalone novels that have earned her a reputation as “a genius for plot” (Oprah Magazine) and “a virtuoso” of domestic suspense (Minneapolis Star Tribune), she authors “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel) featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair is also the co-author of the “Under Suspicion” series with Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark.
Alafair was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but grew up primarily in Wichita, Kansas. She traces her lifelong fascination with crime to the fact that a serial killer was active in her hometown in her formative years. In a world where the killer could be anyone, and where an arrest appeared hopeless, Alafair found comfort in crime fiction. Her mother, a school librarian, helped her navigate her way from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and eventually to Sue Grafton. In the books, as opposed to Wichita, smart sleuthing always paid off, and order was always restored.
Her interest in crime led her to a career in America’s police precincts and criminal courtrooms. After graduating from Reed College and Stanford Law School and clerking for a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Alafair served as a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, where she specialized in domestic violence offenses and also served as a liaison to the police department. Alafair decided to write a novel when she realized that her own job was fertile ground for crime fiction. Her first novel, JUDGMENT CALLS, was set in the very office where she worked for several years, and was loosely based on elements drawn from multiple cases she encountered as a prosecutor.
Although Alafair no longer practices law, she remains a tenured member of the faculty at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. Her legal scholarship focuses on the discretionary decisions of prosecutors and police, and she frequently serves as a legal commentator for various media outlets.
Alafair is often asked about the origin of her name, especially by readers who are familiar with the fictional character, Alafair Robicheaux, created by her father (author James Lee Burke). Alafair was named for her father’s maternal grandmother. It was a more common name in the United States, particularly the south, at the turn of the twentieth century. Now it is a name that belongs to her, two of her cousins, and, from what she can find on Google, ten cats, two dogs, an alpaca, boat, and at least one very cute little girl.
She lives in New York City and East Hampton with her husband and two dogs, Double and Frannie.
Praise for Alafair Burke:
“Burke’s female characters are always very involving, with big, strong voices.”
— Gillian Flynn
“I’ve been a fan of Alafair Burke from the very beginning and, ten books in, she just keeps surprising me.”
— Michael Connelly
“Smart, savvy, expert — and highly recommended.”
— Lee Child
“Alafair Burke has been on the front lines in the courtroom and on the streets, and brings her world alive . . .”
— Linda Fairstein
“Alafair Burke is one of the finest young crime writers working today.”
— Dennis Lehane
“A major talent.”
— Harlan Coben
“Alafair Burke always delivers.”
— William Landay
“[Alafair Burke] is a terrific web spinner. She knows when and how to drop clues to keep readers at her mercy.”
— Entertainment Weekly
- Sign up for Alafair’s mailing list
- Read an interview with Alafair about Dead Connection
- Read a Q&A with Alafair about Dead Connection
- Read an interview with Alafair about Missing Justice
- Alafair and James Lee Burke interviewed on NPR
- Listen to an audio interview on writtenvoices.com