Excerpt, Interview, & $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway for The Lizard’s Tale by Kurt Kamm

The Lizard’s Tale

by Kurt Kamm
GENRE: Mystery/Crime Thriller

Kurt Kamm has written a novel that’s a literary crime novel, with a strong thread of non-fiction running through it. The Lizard’s Tale is a tale of crime—with an a wide-ranging cast of characters.

When the DEA goes up against the Sinaloa Cartel, an orphan and an endangered lizard are caught in the conflict. The action moves from Guatemala to Mexico to Catalina Island off the coast of California.

Alejandro, a middle class Guatemalan, wants his share, and makes a deal with the cartel. Now he’s risking his life to deliver the goods.

El Dedo, a brilliant financier, is the Sinaloa Cartel’s banker. He worries about what to do with the billions of dollars collecting dust in his underground vault.

Ryan, a DEA Special Agent, needs to make a high profile case to get a promotion. Is the big yacht headed for California carrying a Mexican drug shipment?

Kate, a wildlife officer on Catalina Island, smells smoke. When she heads out in the middle of the night to investigate a fire, she makes an astonishing discovery.

Jorge, an orphan from the streets of Mexico, is abandoned in the United States. Will he find his way back home and track down his mother’s killer?

Dedo was one of the few outsiders at the top of the cartel hierarchy. He came from a different background than most of the drug lords, who had grown up in poor towns in the Sierra Madres where people suffered a hard existence living in hovels made of cinderblocks. Dedo had no poverty to escape. He grew up in Mexico City and lived a blessed childhood. His father owned a small Mexican chemical business that grew large when it began to supply the Cartels with the ingredients used to make methamphetamine. His mother was Swiss, and had worked for a chemical company in Basle when she met his father. Dedo inherited his intellect and business sense from his father. His grey eyes came from his mother.

When his father brought him to the State of Sinaloa for the first time, Dedo stood in the dust and blasting heat and felt the moisture evaporating from his skin. “Those mountain highlands,” his father had told him, pointing off into the distance, “are ideal for growing poppies. All they need is sunlight and moisture.” Then he turned and pointed in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, and continued, “And out in those valleys between the mountains and the coast, the climate is perfect for growing marijuana.” Finally, his father looked at Dedo and told him, “Fortunately for us, sunshine and water don’t produce methamphetamine. For that, they need chemicals—a lot of chemicals—and that’s why we’re here.”

About The Author:

Malibu, California resident Kurt Kamm has written a series of firefighter mystery novels, which have won several literary awards. His newest novel, The Lizard’s Tale, provides a unique look inside the activities of the Mexican drug cartels and the men dedicated to stopping them.

Kurt has used his contact with CalFire, Los Angeles County and Ventura County Fire Departments, as well as the ATF and DEA to write fact-based (“faction”) novels. He has attended classes at El Camino Fire Academy and trained in wildland firefighting, arson investigation and hazardous materials response. He has also attended the ATF and DEA Citizen’s Academies. After graduating from the DEA Citizen’s Academy in 2014, he began work on The Lizard’s Tale.

Kurt has built an avid fan base among first responders and other readers. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt was previously a financial executive and semi-professional bicycle racer. He was also Chairman of the UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation for several years.


What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
As a kid, growing up in Denver, I loved vanilla from the Dairy Queen. Now that I am an adult, and know all the horrendous ingredients in that stuff, I think I am lucky to still be alive. Today, an occasional Rocky Road cone keeps me happy.
Which mythological creature are you most like?
Hah, I am a mythological character.
First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
I had an older sister who had a complete collection of the Wizard of Oz books. I was an advanced reader, and one summer I read every one—I think there were about 20 books in all. The different characters and adventures made a deep impression on my young imagination. Later, in the ’60’s I read each James Bond book as it came out. More characters and adventures! When I got to Brown, I began reading literary fiction and never looked back.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I start out with only a vague plot idea—such as a cartel boss who wants to collect an endangered lizard. Then I imagine my first character—maybe not even my protagonist, and I start writing. Once I get into it, the story develops itself, and the characters emerge and tell me what they want to do and how they want to live their lives. Yes, I have to do some revision, and a lot of cutting and pasting, but I am incapable of developing a detailed plot before starting to write. I have heard that some novelists outline every chapter and scene in advance. I could never do that.
Describe your writing space.
I am currently sitting at my kitchen table, looking out the window. Our home is on a hill in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which today is very calm and showing a dozen shades of blue and gray. I can see the outline of Catalina Island (yes, it is in The Lizard’s Tale) in the distance. Pacific Coast Highway is jammed, because it is a sunny Sunday, and everyone is headed to the beach. Overhead, a couple of red-tailed hawks are gliding on the hot air currents and my double-yellow Amazon parrot is inside on top of her cage, freaking out at these birds of prey. That’s my writing space.

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