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Author Tim Applegate promises a 'cat and mouse' story in his novel 'Flamingo Lane'

Villainous drug cartels in Mexico. An expatriate in over his head with a gambling debt. A job to clear his debt gone wrong.

No, it's not the plot of the latest season of Netflix's show "Narcos," it's the setup for a local author's newest novel, "Flamingo Lane."

Tim Applegate, local poet and novelist, published his second novel this week. The crime novel is part of a wider, four book series he's working on, and is the second installation, though it mostly stands alone from the first book, "Fever Tree." Applegate said his new novel is a "cat and mouse" story featuring a reluctant hitman named Chance and the drug lord employing him. Living in Mexico, Chance finds himself gambling one night and gets in over his head in a high stakes poker game. He borrows money against the house, and loses it all.

"He realizes he's in major debt to a guy he doesn't want to be in debt with," Applegate said.

To wipe away his debt, the cartel boss tells him he needs to find a woman, Faye Lindstrom, who escaped the cartel and returned to her home in Indiana. Chance's assignment: find her and kill her because of all she knows about the cartel's business.

But Applegate said things become even more complicated when Chance realizes his target is the woman he once loved but who rejected him. Spanning from the Yucatan Peninsula to rural Indiana, and finally to a small town in the Florida panhandle, "Flamingo Lane" is a standalone in his wider series, though Applegate said all the books will have some overlap. Characters will occasionally reappear, sometimes with new roles. "Flamingo Lane" takes place four years after "Fever Tree," another story of crime, drugs and misunderstandings.

"It's a group of four sort of unconventional crime novels," Applegate said.

Both novels are published by Amberjack Publishing and are released nationally. When the second novel was recently published, Applegate said the Amberjack published a second edition of "Fever Tree."

He said the overall idea for the series involves events that take place before the first book occurs, with a group of expatriates meeting in Mexico after the Vietnam War.

"It's hippies, poets, artists, runaways, Vietnam veterans having a difficult time returning to normal life," Applegate said.

By the time "Fever Tree" starts, this group has disbanded, but their lives remain connected by events that took place in Mexico.

"Some incidents are revealed over the length of the series," he said.

Both novels are available for sale locally at Chapters, but also in book stores in Portland like Powell's, Annie Bloom's, Another Read Through and Broadway Books. They are also available online at Amazon, and in bookstores throughout the country.

To promote "Flamingo Lane," Applegate is going on a nine city tour to do readings. He will be doing a local reading at 7 p.m. March 7 at Annie Bloom's Books in Portland, and at 6 p.m. on March 15 at the Red Roof Wine Bar in Gleneden Beach.

Applegate has also published three books of poetry in addition to his two novels.

CONTRIBUTED - Newberg author Tim Applegate's second novel 'Flamingo Lane'

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