The Low Desert: Book summary and reviews of The Low Desert by Tod Goldberg

The Low Desert

Gangster Stories

by Tod Goldberg

The Low Desert by Tod Goldberg X
The Low Desert by Tod Goldberg
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Book Summary

Raymond Carver meets Elmore Leonard in this extraordinary collection of contemporary crime writing set in the critically acclaimed Gangsterland universe, a series called "gloriously original" by the New York Times Book Review.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"By turn surreal, tragic, and darkly funny... With a cast of low-rent mobsters, drifters, and hardscrabble working stiffs, Goldberg does a brilliant job of revealing the underbelly of the area, past and present. These spare slices of literary noir are the work of a master storyteller." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"These are stories Elmore Leonard would love—not just because the razor-sharp Goldberg wastes no words in cutting to the heart of his stories, but also because he highlights the humanity and inner lives of even his most bent characters...A thoroughly enjoyable collection by a bona fide original." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Like Mario Puzo, Goldberg understands that the way to write about organized crime is to write about the people who live in that world. Yes, they are criminals, but most of them aren't villains. A sterling collection that showcases the author's gifts as a storyteller." - Booklist

"Tod Goldberg...has written a collection of stories that are keenly observed, wryly funny, and heart-wrenching in equal measure. If wisdom can be gleaned from taking a sharp look at the human impulse toward violence, then Tod Goldberg is one of this nation's sagest storytellers." - Attica Locke, author of Heaven, My Home

"Tod Goldberg's stories are full of humor, pathos, and sharp knife-twists of plot and insight. Featuring best laid plans that have gone horribly awry, and heartbreakingly authentic characters broken by violence, longing, and hope, The Low Desert packs a heady, emotional wallop. More of this, please." - Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep

"I'm a huge fan of Tod Goldberg, and these stories showcase all that I love best about his work—the wicked sense of humor, the razor sharp attention to detail and character, and the riveting momentum of a born storyteller. The Low Desert is a master class in how to write great Noir." - Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

This information about The Low Desert shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg is the author of more than a dozen books, including Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize; Gangster Nation; The House of Secrets, coauthored with Brad Meltzer; and Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Las Vegas Weekly, and The Best American Essays, among other publications. He lives in Indio, California, where he directs the low-residency MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts at the University of California, Riverside.

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