by Jake Lamar
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Pub Date 20 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 17 Apr 2023
Oldcastle Books, No Exit Press
'Moody, poetic and immersing' - Deborah Levy
'A pure, true Jazz Noir Classic' - David Peace
At the centre of Viper's Dream is a turbulent love story. And the climax bears an element of Greek tragedy. For the better part of 20 years, Viper Morton has been in love with Yolanda 'Yo-Yo' DeVray, a singer of immense talent but a woman consumed by demons. By turns ambitious and self-destructive, conniving and naive, Yo-Yo is a classic femme fatale. She is a bright star in a constellation of compelling characters including the chauffeur-turned-gangster Peewee Robinson, the Jewish kingpin Abraham 'Mr. O' Orlinsky, the heroin dealer West Indian Charlie, the corrupt cop Red Carney, the wife-beating singer Pretty Paul Baxter, the pimp Buttercup Jones and the brutal enforcer Randall Country Johnson.
Viper's Dream is a hard-boiled crime novel set in the jazz world of Harlem between 1936 and 1961. The protagonist is Clyde 'The Viper' Morton, one of the most respected and feared Black gangsters in America. The story combines elements of the epic Godfather films and the Harlem detective novels of Chester Himes.
But Viper's Dream has a fast-paced vibe all its own, a story charged with suspense, intrigue and plot twists and spiced with violence and humour. It is also steeped in music. The Viper's story is intertwined with the history of jazz over a quarter century.
'Today, we dream of vipers. Trust me, you won't be disappointed by this trip. Viper's Dream gets our highest recommendation' - Antoine de Caunes, host of Popopop, Radio France
'Prepare yourself for a total immersion into Harlem, from the 1930s to the 1960s, into a universe of music and drug trafficking, of murder and betrayal, interspliced with a most dangerous love story. All the codes of the crime novel come together in a most enjoyable way' - ELLE
'What a juicy novel. Jake Lamar has written a sweet and melancholy jazz symphony. We're completely involved with his characters. This is everything you could wish for in a novel' - Sunday Journal
'Jake Lamar keeps the reader guessing until the final pages, when an excellent double twist that we don't see coming at all, reveals a drama worthy of the greatest Greek tragedies' - 20 Minutes
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
Set in the headanist days of jazz in New York it tells the story of a lone man trying to make it big and survive in a city fused with dark vibes.
Excellent story I loved the characters, pace and atmosphere the feeling of placement in this novel was well planned and imagined.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Rick Riordan; Mark Oshiro
Children's Fiction, LGBTQIA, Teens & YA