Booklist review (starred), May 2013
Almost Criminal: Tate MacLane is too smart for his own good, a sort of misguided prodigy. Prematurely graduated from high school, he was tossed out of university (“socialization issues”). Now 17, he’s working at a coffee shop in Wallace, British Columbia, a “hopeless corner of nowhere” and dreaming of finding a way to get back to Vancouver and back to school. Along comes Randle Kennedy, a marijuana grower. Until the drug is legalized, he’s growing medical weed, and the Canadian cops tend to be lenient if they know you’re in the medicinal side of the business. But make no mistake: Randle’s a drug dealer. And young Tate is now working for him. When Tate discovers the truth about the life he’s wandered into, he knows it will take more than his keen intellect to get him out safely. Tate is a fresh narrative voice, and Randle, who could have been a fairly stereotypical drug-dealing villain, has surprising depth; he’s even a weird sort of father figure for young Tate. 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.
Rick Mofina (bestselling author of the Reed and Sydowski series):
E.R.Brown hits it out of the park – great characters and storytelling evocative of Elmore Leonard.
Robin Spano (author of the Clare Vengel Undercover series of novels):
ALMOST CRIMINAL is a wildly fun read. The concept is original, characters are vivid and fleshed-out, and the story surprised me at each turn, with its unlikely teen hero turning conventional morals upside down. E.R. Brown is an exciting addition to the Canadian crime scene.