Viper's Dream

Jake Lamar


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Bedford Square Publishers
20 April 2023
ISBN: 9780857305497
192 pages

From the publisher

For fans of Colson Whitehead and Chester Himes, Viper's Dream is a gritty, daring look at the vibrant jazz scene of mid-century Harlem, and one man's dreams of making it big and finding love in a world that wants to keep him down.

1936. Clyde 'The Viper' Morton boards a train from Alabama to Harlem to chase his dreams of being a jazz musician. When his talent fails him, he becomes caught up in the dangerous underbelly of Harlem's drug trade. In this heartbreaking novel, one man must decide what he is willing to give up and what he wants to fight for.

'Viper's Dream is one Long High, sweeping us through Harlem from the 1930s to the 1960s on riffs of melancholy poetry cut through with the hardboiled beats of gangsters and their streets, leaving us hooked on a pure, true Jazz Noir Classic' - David Peace

'Laced with a stiff shot of politics, romance and jazz, Viper's Dream is moody, poetic and immersing' - Deborah Levy

'Viper's Dream, with its African-American gangster anti-hero, is reminiscent of Ray Celestin's jazz-oriented thrillers and similarly introduces real jazz greats into a fascinating mélange' - Financial Times

'Wonderful writing. From the first lines, you're there. You can almost see sweat flying off the strings of a slapped upright bass. You've been listening to the music, reading the book, for hours now - and it's still full of surprises' - James Sallis