The texture of a book is interspersing it with both a sense of the real but also a heightened sense of awareness. In “Flamingo Lane” [Tim Applegate/Amberjack Publishing/224pgs], which seems to be a sequel of sorts to the author’s earlier “Fever Tree” (which this writer hasn’t read yet)’ the texture of reflective narrative structure where the novelist and certain aspects of his characters are reflected in the page while still moving the story forward is viable but, at times, too coincidental. The story involves Faye, who apparently in the previous book has undergone a survival horror in her life at the hands of some fairly evil guys south of the border. This book is her recovery or, at least, her step back towards the light. The locations are well drawn and keys into two great locations of Quintana Roo and what would be considered the northwest area of Florida. Crooked River sounds similar to Crystal River so that angle might be correct. The noir aspect of the pursuit with a man both in love with his target and a victim of his own greed plays well as does the aspect of a cop with a a heart of gold. The texture works effectively even though the edges of it border on caricature. The author however is quite adept at pace using an almost cinematic structure of cross cutting scenes to build to a crescendo which is done for both flashbacks but also in focus within the final scene. Faye is an effective protagonist showing both pain and suffering but also wit and humor within the face of a dark past and an uncertain future. “Flamingo Lane”, despite its simplicity at times, is an enjoyable read that propels the characters with gusto.
By Tim Wassberg