In the third book of the Ray Tate & Djuna Brown series, the two free-spirited detectives are waiting to be charged with fraud after financing a Paris vacation with a stolen police credit card. Sidelined into an obscure investigative unit – the Green Squad – they spend their days seizing money from low-level currency couriers. When a seizure at the border leads them into the Markowitz drug trafficking network, Tate and Brown see a way to avoid going to prison and maybe a way back to Paris.

Marko Markowitz, a broken hearted drug trafficker, and his cheerfully demented henchman, Jerry Kelly, are being pressured by a Colombian drug trafficker who wants his money out of the U.S. – and he wants it fast. Squeezed by the Green Squad on one side and the Colombians on the other, Markowitz and Kelly force legendary smuggler Bobby “Presto” Preston to come out of retirement and activate his cross-border networks to get the cash out. Himself tormented by a failed and fatal attempt to bring migrants into the U.S. from Canada, Presto struggles to find a way through the border – using one of his famed Variations – while fending off Jerry Kelly’s homicidal tendencies.

By the time they track Markowitz and Kelly through the drug underworld, Tate and Brown out find just how fragile their relationship and dreams are.

Published by Dundurn Press

Short-listed for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel.

"What would Christmas be without a truly bloodthirsty crime novel to cut all the treacle? Here, right on time, we have the third of Lee Lamothe’s hard-boiled series set in a fictional spot on the U.S.-Canada border where Detective Ray Tate and Djuna Brown solve cases no one wants solved in a city where law may just be the last man (or woman) with a gun. Salty, smart and sexy Ray and Djuna are back from a Paris case and trying to pretend they’re still there. But cocaine enters and mayhem follows as the pair face, again, the hard reality of law enforcement in their city. Great grit."  Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail

Once again, Lamothe is all about the characters, and they're all about the three Ls: love, loyalty and loss. But, this time, the thematic riff -- real or perceived, for cops and "mutts" alike -- is betrayal … This is scrappy, in-your-face stuff … It's gut-wrenching, no-frills, raw and passionate writing. Jangly and uneven, there's a touch of Kerouac and Burroughs here, like a beat-generation revival piece. And the extended, grisly, empty-the-clip ending alone is worth the price of admission.” – Winnipeg Free Press

This is a dark and moody mystery thriller. Organized crime is endlessly fascinating. These guys don't really fall into any stereotypes like old school mafia types. But, none of them really seem to have much of a conscience. They flit from one emotion to another in a heartbeat. You never know who will come out this thing alive." – Goodreads



In this sequel to Free Form Jazz, city detective Ray Tate and State Police sergeant Djuna Brown are reunited in the hunt for a brutal killer. As the city is gripped in a paroxysm of murderous racial violence, riots, arson and paranoia, Tate and Brown work their way through the white power underworld and the machinations of a police intelligence squad gone rogue. And along the way they find they’re not immune to the brutality destroying the city.

“Toronto bad-boy Lee Lamothe is back with a second gonzo-noir cop drama that riffs heavily off last year's illusion-shattering G20 riots … Picasso is a must-read for every cop north of the Rio Grande -- and for anyone wanting the real down-low and up-high on our troubled guardians … At heart, tough-guy Lamothe is a bleary-eyed romantic, and Picasso is really all about Ray and Djuna, a pairing besieged by dire circumstance and incompatible callings …” Winnipeg Free Press

"Picasso Blues is a potent piece of writing … On one level, it’s an action-packed, hard-boiled police procedural. On the other, it’s an under-your-skin story that keeps resonating in your thoughts long after you’ve put it down … The ending in this must-read mystery is an example of why author Lee Lamothe is at the top of his game …" The Hamilton Spectator

“Lamothe can go from a detached eyeball to music described as ‘Jarretty’ in one swift move, and it’s what gives his novels their rhythm … Lamothe isn’t for everyone. His stories are violent and raw, and his characters ignoble. He doesn’t always follow the rules, either. But Picasso Blues has its own beat and, if you can follow it, it’s good …" The Globe and Mail

Picasso Blues is much more than a police mystery. Tate and Brown dream of a life in Paris, where Tate can paint full-time and Brown will be his muse … Those dreams become an ever more important contrast to the tragedies of the murdered women and the people killed in the Chinatown fire, all of them victims of racism and hatred. There is, at least in dreams and perhaps in reality, a better way to live …” The Star-Phoenix

Published by Dundurn Press




“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. Lamothe’s (previous) novel, The Finger’s Twist, which eerily predicted (anarchist) events last weekend in Toronto, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award. This one is even better ...” --The Globe and Mail

"... the contrary 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." -- Winnipeg Free Press

“Lamothe keeps the dialogue colourful and to the point, keeps the action on a fast pace to a very satisfactory conclusion and leaves just one unanswered question: will this be a series? … If your taste runs to fast paced crime fiction, then you’ll devour Free Form Jazz. And it will whet your appetite for more …” – Mystery Mavens Canada

“Free Form Jazz comes perfectly timed not just for fans of The Finger’s Twist, which was short-listed for the Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction, but also given the security fiasco of the recent G20 Summit in Toronto … Lee Lamothe is back with his brand of crime writing so punchy you feel it in your teeth …” --Telegraph-Journal

“It's a fascinating story that has considerable ring of reality to it, polished by the developing friendship between Ray Tate and Djuna Brown …”-- Star-Phoenix

Published by Dundurn Press




“Lamothe really taps into something unique and wonderful here -- a politically charged, hard-boiled detective novel that stretches the genre while also paying tribute to it … It offers a stark portrait of a once-smug society slowly, inevitably coming off the rails, featuring one of the best odd-couple private-eye teams in years. The Finger’s Twist is a piercing, stark look at the high price of order, tempered with kick-ass action and some surprising moments of genuine tenderness, with a hard-living Nick-and-Nora duo who know that, no matter how much they booze, there’s no way out.” -- January Magazine, Best of 2010

“(N)ot not only the best Canadian mystery/suspense release of the year, but a yarn light-years beyond anything the American stars have produced … Tight, muscular and evocative prose … Genre-busting in the extreme … bang-up storytelling … No higher praise possible, except maybe this: Once finished, you may be tempted to read it again … Lamothe is a flash-nova …” -- Winnipeg Free Press

“Lee Lamothe has constructed a wonderful noir thriller … in cool precise language, The Finger's Twist should be a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award this year …" -- The Globe and Mail

"The Finger's Twist … was an unexpected delight, a dark journey through the roiling streets of a simmering Toronto. Look for this one and when you find it, buy two: one as a gift and the other to keep for yourself." -- The Calgary Herald

"Lee Lamothe is a writer who knows evil … In this, his second novel, Lamothe introduces us to his rag-and-bone private investigator Charlie Tate and a noir Toronto boiling over with anarchist rebels ... In Lamothe’s, world good and bad don't exist. Justice is a fairytale. Evil isn't a wild terrorist or corrupt cop. This is where Lamothe's perspective is most interesting. Evil is "invisible and pervasive ... puts a gun in your paranoid hand and sends you creeping, naked ... Evil is indifferent." -- Telegraph-Journal

Published by Turnstone Press




"Lee Lamothe's novel about the Russian underworld, is many things: violent, misogynistic, repellent, and amoral. It's also fascinating … (T)hrough it all, the reader is propelled forward, the pages turning ever faster-wanting to stop, unable to stop, now wincing, now cringing, now (surprise!) laughing uneasily at some stray bit of darkly humorous banter among the criminals who populate the novel … The Last Thief is an amoral book, not just because it takes as its subject an amoral milieu and cast of characters. The same charge of amorality could be-and indeed has been-levied against Bret Easton Ellis for American Psycho or Michel Houellebec for The Elementary Particles …” -- Books in Canada

Published by ECW Press


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