Lee Lamothe is the author of several non-fiction books, including the bestsellers The Sixth Family and Bloodlines. His previous Ray Tate and Djuna Brown mysteries are Picasso Blues and Free Form Jazz. He lives in Toronto.
Free Form Jazz
Disgraced city cop Ray Tate and outcast state trooper Djuna Brown track down a wealthy sexual sadist and a depressed career criminal flooding a Midwestern U.S. city with killer ecstasy pills. Mismatched and mutually suspicious of each other, Tate and Brown hunt the mythic Captain Cook and his henchman, the homicidal Phil Harvey. But as Captain Cook sinks deeper into a spiral of sexual depravity, Phil Harvey begins to question his role as a lifelong gangster.
Tate and Brown discover, as they sift through the rubble left by their targets, that no one is what they appear to be not even themselves. Travelling through the Chinese underworld, clandestine drug laboratories, and biker-ridden badlands, the troubled duo encounter murder, political corruption, police paranoia, and psychosis, but can they find redemption?
An investigative journalist who has written extensively on the subject of organized crime, Lamothe has an undeniable facility when it comes to describing the unsavoury world of career criminals. He also has a sharp eye for the kind of politics racial, sexual, and jurisdictional that infect a citys police force.
Lamothe takes the time to turn Tate and Brown into characters with depth, not just habits, and then lets them follow the evidence and build the case. Lamothes novel The Fingers Twist, which eerily predicted events last weekend in Toronto, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award. This one is even better.
Lamothe emerges, delivering a superbly crafted morality play where the scurrilous become wrenchingly sympathetic and the plot is just along for the free-form ride. Lamothe now has a genre-stretching hat-trick. Pray for more.
Toronto journalist-turned-mystery-writer Lee Lamothe is back with his brand of crime writing so punchy you feel it in your teeth.
It's a fascinating story that has considerable ring of reality to it, polished by the developing friendship between Tate and Brown. The scene where they both visit a beauty salon is worth the price of admission.