KIRKUS Reviews: Midnight Sleeper Book 1 / Visions of the Jazz Age
“In 1925, whites are lynching African-American men in Mississippi, speakeasies are doing a bang-up business in New York City, and trains with elite Pullman porters bind the cities together in this mystery. Lomax (Stand Your Ground, 2015) begins his tale with the real-life killing of Lindsay Coleman, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Lindsay’s best friend, and the main character of this novel, is Beau LaHood, a highly respected, veteran Pullman porter. The real murderer appears to have escaped on Beau’s train, the Yellow Dog, which is heading north. Also on the train is the ravishing, crafty Shelby Prevette, the daughter of a very rich plantation family. Is she trying to escape the murderer, Marston Cobb, who’s also abused and threatened her, or is she up to something else? Then there’s her equally striking cousin, Zola, a nurse embittered by her World War I service. As character introductions pileup, readers wind up in the Big Apple in the midst of Prohibition, complete with cameo appearances by writers Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker and speak-easy owner Texas Guinan. Meanwhile, the quietly competent Beau holds thestory together. The train setting becomes a wonderful narrative device, featuring scenes reminiscent of those in many a French bedroom farce. Later, tension builds as the Twentieth Century Limited roars west toward Chicago packed with New Year’s Eve revelers. Almost everyone has a secret (or a secret agenda), and readers learn some startling things about Shelby…Lomax has a knack for memorable phrases; one character, for example, has “a face as long as a sermon,” and another “smiled the way a crab crawls.” The author also has a gift for the sort of wiseacre repartee that one imagines people speaking in the Roaring ’20s. Period details, meanwhile, are spot-on. Lomax has clearly done his homework. But it isn’t all wit and sparkle: the Mississippi chapters sickeningly show how black men were forced to be deferential under threat of death. Lomax keeps the plot (and readers) hopping in this quirky novel.”
KIRKUS Reviews: MIDNIGHT SLEEPER 2 / KISS ME DEADLY
“The ’20s are still roaring, the rotgut is still flowing, and the Jazz Age is still going full blast in this sequel—join the party, kiddo. Let’s start with blackmail. A sleazy character shows up at the Prevette plantation in Clarksdale, Mississippi, with a compromising photograph and demands hush money from Shelby Prevette’s father, Addison. But that is just the tip of the old iceberg. Switching to New York City, readers again meet the formidable Shelby—19 years old, whip-smart, inscrutable, and fashionable (“Shelby entered the reception area wearing an authentic Mariano Fortuny velvet, silk, and metallic brocade overcoat that was a blowout of green, yellow, blue, and red landscape imprints that managed to perfectly weave fantasy into glamor by color shaping chaos into daydreams”). Soon audiences are hip deep in the sort of thugs that Prohibition was so good at enabling. Artemus Cummins, who does not blink at homicide, is bent on expanding his rumrunning operation. Al Nachman, Esq., the Prevette family fixer, is on the case (and no one is a match for Nachman). Beau LaHood, Pullman porter and now Nachman’s henchman, is back. A new character is young Gideon Remley, shady at first but eventually one of the good guys. The plot does not just thicken, it congeals; but suffice to say, there is murderous mayhem past the 12-mile limit, Irish Republican Army skulduggery, and assorted other violent diversions. Lomax (Midnight Sleeper, 2016) is clearly enjoying himself. For one thing, his descriptions of the artifacts of the era—cars, fashions—show such a curator’s delight that one suspects that the man feels he was born too late. The scene where Nachman is toying with a hapless, sweating man named John Smith is priceless. And how is this—“Thom Burke reached for” the dispatcher’s book, “but the unfinished business of dying reached him first”—for hard-boiled poetry? Or: Shelby “wore a camel hair men’s double-breasted polo coat, and she took all the man out of it.” Yes, the style dances on the edge of parody. Which is what makes it such fun. This volume is just as engaging as Midnight Sleeper 1, and it’s a good bet that Book 3 will be as well. The author has a great thing going here. This entertaining Prohibition tale is the bee’s knees.”
THE PREQUEL TO THE MIDNIGHT SLEEPER SERIES.
GREED. LUST. POWER HUNGRY PEOPLE. AND A GUN LAW THAT GOES NUTS.
Kirkus Reviews: STAND YOUR GROUND THE NOVEL BRIMS WITH CRIMINALS AND SEEDY TYPES, WHICH LOMAX OFFSETS WITH HIS TWO SYMPATHETIC CONVICT MAIN CHARACTERS…THERE’S A LOT OF STEALING GOING ON, BUT IT’S ALL GLEEFULLY DIVERTING…LOMAX KNOWS TO KEEP THE PLOT MOVING…THE CLIPPED PROSE HUMS ALONG, GENERATING A BLUNT, EDGY MOOD.”
by Michelle Kaye-Malsbury: "Stand Your Ground: legal premise sets the stage for this witty thriller...Obviously Raeder Lomax has a gift for writing."
AMAZON READER More than meets the eye!
By William Pickett on April 23, 2016 VERIFIED PURCHASE
"When I finished reading Stand Your Ground, I immediately went to the first page and started reading it again. As other reviewers have noted, it is easy to read, and the story itself is so interesting and intriguing that it moves quickly, but the apparent simplicity and the remarkable verbal economy of Stand Your Ground is deceptive: there are threads of meaning and terse, yet Proustian, imagery that wind through the book inviting contemplation, and that therefore must be revisited. Nothing about this book is as simple as it seems. Lomax takes us exploring without our realizing it at the time we are doing it. Looking back, I wonder how he manages to convey so much with so little. The playwright, the novelist, the poet, and the photographer will all recognize aspects of their talents in this book. I very much look forward to reading the prequel, due in 2016!"