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Kurt Kamm's "The Lizard's Tale" - an exciting contemporary thriller with a credible public safety authenticity

Date: 2016-11-02
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Novelist Kurt Kamm, known for orienting his thriller tales around authentic public safety situations, characters, and protocols.  Described as “faction” – fact-based fiction – Kamm’s books have been based on his own personal investigations and experiences with various components of public safety, from the fire service and law enforcement. Early books involved characters involved with firefighting, arson and hazmat investigation, EMS and medical research, while his previous book, 2014’s Tunnel Vision, followed the activities of a Fire Captain and an ATF Special Agent, mobilized by Homeland Security to face a terrorist threat.

With his sixth book, The Lizard’s Tale (released earlier this year), Kamm introduces DEA Special Agent Ryan Daniel and Gina Winters, director of Wildlife Management for the Catalina Island Conservatory, whose separate investigatory paths eventually bring them together facing the Sinaloa Cartel. An array of supporting antagonists people the story, as does the creature that gives the book its name, an endangered Guatemalan beaded lizard, whose focus on surviving extinction is threatened when his rarity puts him in the sights of a poacher who’s been paid to collect such as species of reptile.

The colorful and flowing narrative of Kamm’s previous books is especially compelling in this new book, set, as with all of his books, in the familiar Southern California environment well known to the author. The story takes on a cinematic momentum as Kamm adroitly constructs his words and punctuation and flow of language to quickly captivate the reader, absorbing us in the forward energy of his storytelling. At the same time, the book is not short on descriptive detail – about Ryan’s professional duties and the drive that compels him to face the violent drug runners, about Gina’s compassion for preserving wildlife as well as her instinctive nose for investigating things that appear suspicious, the motivations and challenges of the drug runners; even that desert lizard’s behavior as it journeys across an unforgiving environment is described with both perceptive realism and empathy.

With its intriguing story of criminal investigation, conservatism, the challenge of firefighting on the remote wildlands of Catalina Island, and the violent lifestyle among the drug cartels, The Lizard’s Tale is an exciting crime thriller, with the added bonus for those of us in public safety to recognize the authentic verisimilitude of the characters, the challenges of their work, and the heroism with which they carry out their duty.

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(See our interview with Kamm about his writing here and search for “Kurt Kamm” in our Books section for reviews of his previous books)


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