There are only two novelists whose work I always buy just about as soon as it is published in hardcover: James Lee Burke and Elizabeth George. Not so coincidentally, both are still adding to a long series featuring a detective who has seen great change over the years. In the case of Burke, of course, I'm referring to Dave Robicheaux and, in the case of George, to Thomas Lynley. I have way too many years, and reading hours, invested in these characters not to care what happens to them next. It's been a bit painful to be a Thomas Lynley fan during George's last couple of books, but I'm told that he's back in fine form in This Body of Death. James Lee Burke has to be one of the finest novelists writing today, a distinction he has held for many years now, and I always look forward to the next Dave Robicheaux adventure.
I finally got around to buying both This Body of Death and Burke's new one, The Glass Rainbow, this morning. Normally, I would have grabbed each of them within days of their hitting the bookstores, but things have been so frantic around here since March that my bookstore visits have been limited - and, even during my few visits, I always forgot to look for the books.
Today I made a special trip to Barnes & Noble to see if I could afford to take both of them home with me. And it appears that my slow purchase paid off. The Elizabeth George book had a 50% off sticker on it and the James Lee Burke book has hit the bestseller list, meaning that it carries a 30% discount. Add my B&N membership discount to the scenario and I ended up getting 60% off on the George book and 40% off on the Burke one. Cover price on the two books totals $58.98 but I ended up getting both for a grand total of $28.63, plus tax.
So now I feel guilty for stiffing my area indie bookstores. But times are tough, my indie friends, and I simply could not resist this deal because, when I left the house this morning, I feared I was going to have to make the near impossible decision of choosing between the new Burke and the new George. I do promise to keep buying as much from you indie guys as possible, especially when it comes to new authors and backlists. Forgive me?