Tommy Gun Tango – 5 Stars

Brent Randall and

Bruce Cook

Capital Crime Press, 2009, 288 Pages

ISBN No. 9780979996030


Marshal Lawe has lost his job as Marshal of Potemkin County, Massachusetts and is on the road to Los Angeles.  It is the time of the Great Depression and Potemkin County is suffering.  Several residents have moved on to California, including his friend Gladys Alwyn and he hopes to reconnect with her.


The trip is not easy and he almost runs down a man on the road.  The man is Al Haines, an Irish redhead trying to get away from his most recent problem.  Marshal decides to ask Al to go with him to help drive and Al is up for anything that will get him away from the authorities.


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The two finally make it to Los Angeles and Marshal gets a job with a movie studio.  Al tries his hand at several different things – most of them dishonest.  Honesty is not a big thing in Los Angeles during this time.   Movie stars could get away with almost anything and the studio would cover up for the star.


Marshal has caught up with Gladys and they move in together.  Al has taken up with a girl that does her best to look like Jean Harlow.  Al has no idea how young his new friend really is but when he brings her to meet Marshal and Gladys he soon finds out.  Al’s friend is also from Potemkin County.


When Jean Harlow’s husband is killed, Marshal is called on to help with the cover-up as is Al’s girlfriend who is asked to pose as Jean Harlow for a few days since Harlow has disappeared.  It is at this point that Marshal begins to realize how totally corrupt the town really is and that his conscience won’t allow him to continue in his current occupation.


Tommy Gun Tango is an exciting book that reveals all the prejudice and corruption of the times as well as the plight of so many people during the depression.  Those of you that have read Blood Harvest will recognize some of the characters who have now moved on to California.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid