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JAKE LAMAR was born in 1961 and grew up in the Bronx, New York. After graduating from Harvard University, he spent six years writing for Time magazine. He has lived in Paris since 1993 and teaches creative writing at one of France's top universities, Sciences Po.

He is the author of a memoir, seven novels, numerous essays, reviews and short stories, and a play. His most recent work, Viper's Dream, is both a crime novel and an audio drama, set in the jazz world of Harlem between 1936 and 1961.

He is a recipient of the Lyndhurst Prize (for his first book, Bourgeois Blues), a prestigious Centre National du Livre grant (for his novel Postérité), France’s Grand Prize for best foreign thriller (for his novel The Last Integrationist), a Beaumarchais fellowship for his play Brothers in Exile and the CWA Historical Dagger Award 2024 for his novel Viper's Dream.

He is currently working on a memoir about his life in Paris.

Jake Lamar reads Richard Wright for the Centennial Celebrations of the American Library in Paris, May 2020.


9 - 11 August 2024

A Dance to the Music of Crime

St. Hilda's College, Oxford University

Lecture by Jake Lamar:

"Once Upon a Time in Harlem"

26 June 2024, 7:30pm

American Library in Paris

(Hybrid) Improvisations: Adam Schatz and Jake Lamar on Jazz


17 October 2023

Ted Joans Exposition

at Outsider Paris

Jake Lamar reads poems by the artist

30 Septembre 2023

Festival des Livres d'en haut

Book signing, Lille

23 September 2023

Angers Literary Festival

Conversation with Jake Lamar

8 June 2023, 7pm

British Council Paris

Talk : A Career in Creative Writing

3 June 2023, 4pm

Bill and Rosa's Book Room

Book presentation, Boulogne

31 May 2023, 7pm

Columbia Global Centers Paris

Discussion with Robert G. O'Meally

16 May 2023, 6:30pm

Waterstones Islington

Book Launch UK

12 - 14 May 2023

CrimeFest Bristol

Crime Fiction Convention, UK

3 May 2023, 7:30pm

American Library in Paris

Conversation with Marcus Bruce

24 April 2023, 7pm

The Red Wheelbarrow

Book Launch Paris

22 - 25 September 2022

Festival America

Vincennes, Paris

4 - 6 June 2022

Étonnants Voyageurs

International Book Festival

Saint-Malo, France

1 - 3 April 2022

Quais du Polar

International  Book Festival in Lyon

24 - 27 February 2022


Book Festival in Nantes

6 February 2022 at 8 pm

Brothers in Exile, Frères d'exil

Rebroadcast on France Culture

1 February 2022

American Library in Paris

Conversation with Pap Ndiaye

UK version published by

No Exit Press

Reviews of Viper's Dream

"[A] moody noir . . . Lamar’s primary strength is his sense of place."

      Sarah Weinman, New York Times

"This sympathetic portrait of a violent antihero is hard not to wolf down in a single sitting."

      Publishers Weekly

"Pick up Viper’s Dream by Jake Lamar so that you can be part of the conversation moving forward. You will not be sorry."

      Kristopher, The BOLO Books Review

"Laced with a stiff shot of politics, romance and jazz, Viper's Dream is moody, poetic and immersing."

      Deborah Levy

"A pure, true Jazz Noir Classic."

      David Peace

“Fun, fast-moving and full of unforgettable characters."

     Mateo Askaripour, New York TImes bestselling author of Black Buck

"Dark poetics, magical prose and meticulous storytelling - Viper's Dream is way more than a crime novel. It is an intriguing seduction.

A revelation."

     Stephen Mack Jones, author of the August Snow series

Read More Reviews

US version published by

Crooked Lane Books

Jake Lamar's interview on the Bestseller Experiment podcast:

Viper's Dream wins the CWA Historical Dagger Award 2024

Photo by Dr. Michael Cheers