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About Tod Goldberg
Tod Goldberg is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books of fiction, including The Low Desert: Gangster Stories, Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize, Gangster Nation, The House of Secrets, which he co-authored with Brad Meltzer, and Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His essays, nonfiction, and criticism appear widely, including in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal, as well as Best American Essays, and have earned five Nevada Press Association Awards. He is also the cohost, along with Rider Strong and Julia Pistell, of the popular podcast Literary Disco. Goldberg is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, where founded and directs the Low Residency MFA program in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @todgoldberg and on Facebook at facebook.com/todgoldberg or visit todgoldberg.com.
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Sal Cupertine is a legendary hit man for the Chicago Mafia, known for his ability to get in and out of a crime without a trace. Until now, that is. His first–ever mistake forces Sal to botch an assassination, killing three undercover FBI agents in the process. This puts too much heat on Sal, and he knows this botched job will be his death sentence to the Mafia. So he agrees to their radical idea to save his own skin.
A few surgeries and some intensive training later, and Sal Cupertine is gone, disappeared into the identity of Rabbi David Cohen. Leading his growing congregation in Las Vegas, overseeing the population and the temple and the new cemetery, Rabbi Cohen feels his wicked past slipping away from him, surprising even himself as he spouts quotes from the Torah or the Old Testament. Yet, as it turns out, the Mafia isn't quite done with him yet. Soon the new cemetery is being used as both a money and body–laundering scheme for the Chicago family. And that rogue FBI agent on his trail, seeking vengeance for the murder of his three fellow agents, isn't going to let Sal fade so easily into the desert.
Gangsterland is the wickedly dark and funny new novel by a writer at the height of his power—a morality tale set in a desert landscape as ruthless and barren as those who inhabit it.
It's been two years since the events of Gangsterland, when legendary Chicago hitman Sal Cupertine disappeared into the guise of Vegas Rabbi David Cohen. It's September of 2001 and for David, everything is coming up gold: Temple membership is on the rise, the new private school is raking it in, and the mortuary and cemetery--where Cohen has been laundering bodies for the mob--is minting cash. But Sal wants out. He's got money stashed in safe-deposit boxes all over the city. He's looking at places to escape to, Mexico or maybe Argentina. He only needs to make it through the High Holidays, and he'll have enough money to slip away, grab his wife and kid, and start fresh.
Across the country, former FBI agent Matthew Drew is now running security for an Indian Casino outside of Milwaukee, spending his off-time stalking members of The Family, looking for vengeance for the murder of his former partner. So when Sal's cousin stumbles into the casino one night, Matthew takes the law into his own hands--again--touching off a series of events that will have Rabbi Cohen running for his life, trapped in Las Vegas, with the law, society, and the post-9/11 world closing in around him.
Gangster Nation is a thrilling follow-up to Gangsterland, an unexpected, page-turning examination of the seedy foundations of American life. With the wit and gritty glamor that defines his writing, Goldberg traces how the things we most value in our lives--home, health, even our spiritual lives--have been built on the enterprises of criminals.
"When Hazel Nash was six years old, her father taught her: mysteries need to be solved. He should know. Hazel's father is Jack Nash, the host of America's favorite conspiracy TV show, The House of Secrets.
Even as a child, she loved hearing her dad's tall tales, especially the one about a leather book belonging to Benedict Arnold that was hidden in a corpse.
Now, years later, Hazel wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing, not even her own name. She's told she's been in a car accident that killed her father and injured her brother. But she can't remember any of it, because of her own traumatic brain injury. Then a man from the FBI shows up, asking questions about her dad -- and about his connection to the corpse of a man found with an object stuffed into his chest: a priceless book that belonged to Benedict Arnold.
Back at her house, Hazel finds guns that she doesn't remember owning. On her forehead, she sees scars from fights she can't recall. Most important, the more Hazel digs, the less she likes the person she seems to have been.
Trying to put together the puzzle pieces of her past and present, Hazel Nash needs to figure out who killed this man -- and how the book wound up in his chest. The answer will tell her the truth about her father, what he was really doing for the government -- and who Hazel really is. Mysteries need to be solved. Especially the ones about yourself."
With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.
Witty, brutal, and fast-paced, these stories expand upon the saga of Chicago hitman-turned-Vegas-rabbi Sal Cupertine--first introduced in Gangsterland and continued in Gangster Nation--while revealing how the line between good and bad is often a mirage.
Palm Springs now joins Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley in California’s Noir Series arena.
"Contrary to popular belief, noir doesn’t require a bleak city street for its setting. Nor water, for that matter. Noir thrives on secrets, lies and lust, all flowing plentifully through the jewel in the Coachella Valley’s fragile crown...For all the playfulness of the genre and the location, the wisecracks and the kidney-shaped pools, there is an unmanageable darkness waiting to seep in, like so much blood in the pool water."
--Los Angeles Times
"Conjure up images of Palm Springs and you’ll probably think of pastel-colored pool floaties, midcentury chic architecture, a gigantic Marilyn Monroe that watches over the city like its guardian angel. But you don’t need to scratch deep to find darkness in the desert--and even Palm Springs, with its endless well of pools, violently colored cocktails, and impossibly green lawns, is no exception."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"An appealing anthology of 14 stories about life and crime in the Mojave Desert's playground to the stars."
"Palm Springs Noir features a collection of short stories set in a cross-section of desert cities and written primarily by authors with Coachella Valley ties."
--Palm Springs Life
"This compilation is a roller coaster ride that's filled with loads of suspense, mystery, and steamy sexiness. Brilliantly conceived, DeMarco-Barrett and the other contributing authors effortlessly transport the reader to the edgy, moody, and sleazier side of one of Southern California's most renowned and iconic locales. A sure thing bestseller and a must-have summer read, Palm Springs Noir unquestionably brings the heat."
--New York Journal of Books
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book.
Palm Springs Noir features brand-new stories by: T. Jefferson Parker, Janet Fitch, Eric Beetner, Kelly Shire, Tod Goldberg, Michael Craft, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Rob Roberge, J.D. Horn, Eduardo Santiago, Rob Bowman, Chris J. Bahnsen, Ken Layne, and Alex Espinoza.
From the introduction: The best noir writers make us feel the heat of the sun, the touch of a lover. Setting can be gritty but can also be sublime, no longer relegated to urban locales and seedy hotel rooms but also mansions and swimming pools. Hence, Palm Springs, which may seem like an odd setting for a collection of dark short stories--it’s so sunny and bright here. The quality of light is unlike anywhere else, and with an average of three hundred sunny days a year, what could go wrong?...
The stories in this collection come on like the wicked dust storms common to the area. More than half are by writers who live here full-time; all have homes in Southern California. They know this place in ways visitors and outsiders never will. These are not stories you'll read in the glossy coffee-table books that feature Palm Springs's good life. There is indeed a lush life to be found here, but for the characters in these stories, it’s often just out of reach.
Paul Luden has been haunted by a memory he can’t recall. Whatever happened to his marriage, to his two-year-old daughter, is too traumatic to remember, so his subconscious has chosen to block out key details. But when he receives a phone call from the small lake town where they’d once lived, telling him that no one had seen or heard from his wife in ten days, he knows what he has to do.
He and his nineteen-year-old girlfriend drive from LA to Washington State, where he’s forced to confront his past. And as he pieces together his buried memories, Paul unravels mentally, falls into self-destructive trances—and ultimately discovers the truth about his wife.
From the New York Times–bestselling coauthor of The House of Secrets, this is “both a page-turner and a complex study of human relationships . . . Fans of psychological thrillers will find a lot to like here” (Booklist).
To find the kidnappers, Michael will have to infiltrate high society and enter a deadly game against deadlier opponents in a world where money isn't the only thing worth killing for...
Tod Goldberg is a gifted writer, a surveyor of the soul, and Other Resort Cities is powerful fiction. He catches his characters at moments of great stress, then reveals their depths to us with compelling insight and great empathy. He sure as hell knows the details that convince. These are inventive and fresh stories that might have been merely clever in lesser hands, but Goldberg’s talent and compassion extends dignity even to the most fucked-up and misbegotten lives.” Daniel Woodrell
This is an excellent, compulsively readable collection. Goldberg knows and loves the cities of which he writes, and he brings their unsung citizens to life in a brilliant and affecting way.” Mary Yukari Waters
Darkly funny and ferociously readable, Other Resort Cities is a book you'll want to spend your entire holiday reading. Because of the subtle crime plots that give each story momentum, Goldberg's book doubles as an ideal choice for mystery-lovers.”Tucson Weekly
In ten seductive new stories, the author of Simplify and Living Dead Girl encounters the ruthless, vulnerable people who inhabit resort cities, along with their misdemeanors and felonies. A mobster hides out in Las Vegas posing as a rabbi; a casino cocktail waitress adopts a Russian teen in an attempt to outrun her loneliness; a disturbed husband sets up a Starbucks in his living room; a retired sheriff looks for his first wife's remains in the Salton Sea. Vibrant, moving, and often profound, Other Resort Cities is Goldberg at his best.
Tod Goldberg is the author of seven books, including the novels Living Dead Girl (Soho Press), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Fake Liar Cheat (Pocket Books/MTV) and the popular Burn Notice series (Penguin). His short story collection Simplify (OV Books) was a 2006 finalist for the SCIBA Award for Fiction and winner of the Other Voices Short Story Collection Prize. He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside's Palm Desert campus.