2014 Edgar Award - Mystery Writers of America — Shortlisted, Best Paperback Original
Medicinal marijuana can be murder.
Charming, wealthy Randle Kennedy has a secret: he’s British Columbia’s most prolific producer of boutique marijuana. He’s developed strains of B.C. Bud to please the most sophisticated palates and produce any desired effect, from a light contemplative buzz to the most mind-warping stone. His medical varieties offer relief for conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Come legalization, he’ll be the first on the market with marijuana’s answer to single-malt Scotch. Until that day, he runs a tight operation with terrorist-cell security.
Tate MacLane is brilliant, miserable, and broke. Since graduating from high school at age 14, he’s failed at university, failed to support his family, failed at everything except making a superb caffe latte.
Randle wants a fresh face to front his transactions. Tate desperately needs a mentor and yearns for respect. And money …
Then there are the bikers, the muscle with the cross-border connections that Randle needs to bring his product to the American market. Soon Tate finds out that it’s harder to get out of the business than to get in.
E.R. Brown is an award-winning advertising writer whose fiction has been heard on CBC Radio 3 and seen in national magazines. Born in Montreal, he lives in Vancouver.
If you took a gritty crime novel and a coming-of-age story and squashed them together, you might get something very close to this excellent book.
Well-researched and convincingly told, ALMOST CRIMINAL is a revealing look at the dark world of the illicit pot business from the perspectives of grow-ops, distributors, users, and the gangs that lie behind them.
This is funny and twisted in the same vein as Breaking Bad (but very Canadian on the crime) with tons of great Lower Mainland vibes. This is Brown’s debut and it’s an auspicious one.
Almost Criminal tells a tale about parallel worlds, the one we live in and that instant society that flies under our radar. It's a tightrope from which one fall is fatal. Author E.R.Brown lays out the territory with tight pacing and insightful dialogue that captures the panic that is but one mistake away.
. . . the novel is instructive for its insights into the finances of the grow op business.
The book is impeccably researched . . .
. . . some surprising revelations and resolutions lead to an enjoyable read.