Jake Lomax

Created by Michael Allegretto

The Shamus-winning Death on the Rocks (1987) introduced former Denver cop JACOB “JAKE” LOMAX who becomes a private eye after his wife is brutally murdered. Looking for a cynical, wise-cracking hero to follow?

Look no further…

This is yet another overlooked gem of a series from the late eighties and early nineties–an era rich with series that coulda been contenders. Perhaps not as groundbreaking as some of the other series out there, but the Lomax books were consistently solid, above-average P.I. fare, and Allegretto drew plenty of praise from numerous reviewers for his gritty style, mordant wit (Publisher’s Weekly) and his “tight-lipped prose that, handled well, can raise emotional bruises (The New York Times Book Review).


The author was raised in Colorado and grew up listening to the stories of his Denver police officer father. He’s best known for the four novelsd he wrote featuring Lomax, but in the early 1990s, he began writing standalone novels such as Night of Reunion (1990) and The Watchmen (1991).


  • “Lomax walks the mean streets like he’s supposed to, and does the things a man’s gotta do when and where he’s gotta do ’em.”
    Barry Gardner (Mystery*File)




Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

2 thoughts on “Jake Lomax

  1. I have just started reading Death on the Rocks thanks to this article. The first chapter is a paean to the beginning of the Godwulf Manuscript. This disappointed me momentarily until I rationalized that what the world needs are more novels in the Spenserian style. Also I am loving Allegretto so far and hope to find more of similar ilk. Did you ever do an article à la writers who are in the same style as Bob Parker? If so I need to find it, and if not I feel it is overdue.
    T’other Kevin.

    1. Not yet, but like Chandler, it would be a long, long list. I would argue (and have argued) that Parker was arguably the most influential detective writer of the last fifty years, given that he opened up the gates to a greater diversity of race, gender, geography and even thematic concerns. He wasn’t the first to do or explore any of those things, but his commercial success and did it all at once proved once and for all that the genre could be shaken and stirred and still exist. At the time, characters like Susan and Hawk and a setting like Boston were rare and almost revolutionary. We have a far more diversified genre than existed pre-Parker.

Leave a Reply