Player Profile: Alafair Burke, author of All Day And A Night

author photo centerAlafair Burke, author of All Day And A Night

Tell us about your latest creation:


A murder case with ties to a convicted serial killer leads a young defense lawyer and an NYPD homicide detective into parallel investigations with explosive and deadly results in this superb mystery from “one of the finest young crime writers working today” (Dennis Lehane).

        The latest story dominating New York tabloids—the murder of Park Slope psychotherapist Helen Brunswick—couldn’t be further from Carrie Blank’s world handling federal appeals at one of Manhattan’s most elite law firms. But then a hardcharging celebrity trial lawyer calls Carrie with a case she can’t refuse. Anthony Amaro, a serial killer convicted twenty years earlier, has received an anonymous letter containing a chilling detail about Brunswick’s murder: the victim’s bones were broken after she was killed, the same signature used in the murders attributed to Amaro. Now Amaro is asking to be released from prison.

        Carrie has a reason to be interested. Her older sister, Donna, was one of Amaro’s victims. Determined to force the government to catch Donna’s real killer, Carrie joins Amaro’s wrongful conviction team with her own agenda. On the other side of Amaro’s case is NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, who, along with her partner, J.J. Rogan, is tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction. The case is personal for them, too: Ellie wonders whether they got the assignment because of her relationship with the lead prosecutor, and Rogan has his own reasons to distrust Amaro’s defense team.

        As the NYPD and Amaro’s lawyers search for certainty among conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown, where secrets buried long ago lead to a brutal attack—one that makes it terrifyingly clear that someone has gotten too close to the truth.

resized_9780571302314_224_297_FitSquareWhere are you from / where do you call home?:

New York City

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

Some days I wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to be an actress, pop star, hairdresser, and an eavesdropping switchboard operator (I watched a lot of old movies).  Turns out, I became a lawyer, working as a prosecutor for several years.  It was through my work as a prosecutor that I got an idea for a book.  That idea became my first novel, JUDGMENT CALLS (2003).

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I really like my new book, ALL DAY AND A NIGHT.  It bends genres, combining a police procedural, legal drama, and a psychological thriller into one novel.  It also allows two very strong female characters to share the canvas.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I can write just about anywhere.  I have a studio apartment that I use as a full-time office.  I get it nice and tidy once a year right after I finish a book and find some downtown.  Then it becomes increasingly cluttered until the next overhaul, but I always know where everything is.

My secondary office is a Mario Batali wine bar down the street called Otto. I find a quiet corner and write in the middle of the day.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I read a ton of crime fiction.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

It’s hard to pick only one but I’ll say THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konisburg.  Before Harry Potter ever heard of Hogwarts, Claudia and Jamie lived secretly in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  To this day, I can’t go to that amazing museum (where coincidentally my husband works) without nursing fantasies of sneaking in overnight.  I was also a big Encyclopedia Brown fan.  Oh, and Amelia Bedelia.  Mysteries and bad puns were the ultimate entertainment –
not much has changed for me thirty-five years later.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Nancy Drew.  I love to solve a mystery.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 I’m crazy about my dogs and golf.  If only my dogs could play golf, that would be the perfect day.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

A good margarita with fresh lime juice, on the rocks with salt, is hard to beat.  I eat anything, but have a special compartment in my stomach for raw clams and oysters.

Who is your hero? Why?:

My husband.  He’s a good person in every way.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

Making sure that people have access to a diverse selection of reading materials

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