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The Smack: Gritty and gripping LA noir Paperback – 12 July 2018

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

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Review

Lange's stories are knockouts. Gritty, humane, and utterly urban. -- Alice Sebold

Lange is an expert writer, his prose exact, his narrative tightly controlled...Petty may be a world-weary 40-year-old con man, but his character brings a fresh point of view to the world of noir L.A. Whatever he's selling, it's worth buying., LA Times

Lange is a writer of clean and easy prose, and he's strong at structuring a narrative that builds toward an ever tightening climax. The Smack adds up to one of the nicer surprises of the season, Toronto Star

Lange's morality tales are not that far removed from the classic stories of O. Henry and Guy de Maupassant. With a distinctive style, Lange makes his downbeat tales of the underclass quirkily entertaining., Kirkus

Richard Lange's stories are a revelation. He writes of the disaffections and bewilderments of ordinary lives with as keen an anger and searing lyricism as anybody out there today. He is Raymond Carver reborn in a hard cityscape. Read him and be amazed. -- T.C. Boyle

[A] riveting, violent caper, Wall Street Journal

The kind of book you'll want to savour, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

With all the dexterity of Thomas Perry, Lange walks the thin line between caper novel and blood-splattered noir, leading up to a rip-roaring finale. This fine piece of tragicomic crime fiction sets up like a stand-alone, but we'd sure like to see more., Booklist

If Elmore Leonard and Dennis Cooper collaborated on a novel, they might produce something as exciting, harrowing and emotionally powerful as The Smack. Call it a literary thriller or call it thrilling literature - Richard Lange is emerging as the master of a new kind of novel: One that delivers breathless, gripping action while anchored in the authentic troubles of the real world. The Smack arrives like a genuine miracle - that rare thriller that will jack your pulse even as it breaks your heart. -- Adam Sternbergh, author of Shovel Ready

A natural-born storyteller -- Ron Rash

What makes this collection a wonderful read is it's only marginally akin to anything else. Swift, gut wrenching, and sometimes cleverly disarming fiction by a master -- Joe R. Lansdale

In this breezy page-turner, Lange shows off his uncommon ability to combine toughness and tenderness., Kirkus

Like his protagonist, Dashiell Hammett Award winner Lange knows how to reel in his audience with a seductive story and plenty of misdirection. There's nothing criminal, however, about this rollicking, diamond-cut thriller shot through with elegance and heart., Library Journal, starred review

The man just keeps getting better. The stories in Sweet Nothing traffic in the vagaries of the human heart, those wants and needs that push us down dark paths. His vision is steely-eyed, yet you sense that Lange loves his characters - even the worst of them - and that compassion sharpens your own emotional investment. -- Craig Davidson

Lange is a master at writing about characters on the margins of society and humanizing outcasts and misfits, and he manages to capture the surreal culture of Los Angeles in all its contradictory glory., Publishers Weekly

The Smack just might be Mr. Lange's best yet, and that's saying something. His Los Angeles tableau of concrete and graffiti and neon is as sharp as razor wire. The characters are authentic down to the bone, the dialogue pitch-perfect believable, the desperation palpable, the situation urgent, the story riveting. Simply put, The Smack wallops you upside the head with its bad-ass-ness. -- Tom Cooper, author of The Marauders

It's hard to imagine Richard Lange wasn't, in some previous life, a hustler from Reno with a girlfriend named Tinafey he met on a professional date who goes to LA to steal a fortune from a one-legged soldier home from Afghanistan and a host of other terrifying individuals. The characters are real and satisfying, the relationships will warm your heart and break it at the same time. The Smack is convincing, hectic and terrific fun. -- Joe Ide, author of IQ

The Smack is much more than a crime novel. It is a novel about life itself. The secret to great writing isn't just to observe. It's to create a world that readers understand at least as well as they do their own. Richard Lange has accomplished this, and more. His sensitivity and pacing are reminiscent of Raymond Carver, Charles Willeford, and Jim Thompson. -- Gerald Petievich, author of To Live and Die in L.A. and The Sentinel

The Smack is an exercise in finely pitched writing, and the kind of noirish tale you relish even as you dread turning the page to get closer to its conclusion., Crimetime

Review

Praise for Richard Lange - .

There are books - like Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men and Nic Pizzolatto's Galveston - that open with a trigger snap of trouble and blast forward with the propulsive force of a bullet and never stop moving...ANGEL BABY puts Lange in a new category: crime boss - Esquire

When you find yourself rooting for the killer in a grisly crime novel, you know you're in the hands of a real writer - New York Times

Lange's prose is masterful, his sense of pacing unfaltering, and he writes about characters on the cutting edge of life... They'll call it "unputdownable" and "a page-turner," and they'll be spot on. You won't know exactly how right they are until you pick up Angel Baby and it burns you to set it aside for even a minute. - Los Angeles Review of Books

A film waiting to happen, this book boasts memorable characters, evocative settings and a suspenseful plot. - Kirkus

Strong and relentless....Beautifully paced, deftly written, ANGEL BABY is a book about moral compromise, in which we have empathy for everyone (or almost everyone) and no one at once.... As with life, ANGEL BABY offers a story in which motivations are murky and every act is weighted, and the best we can hope for is that the means will be justified by the results - Los Angeles Times

The story is thrilling and cinematic, told as one long chase scene....Lange inhabits his novel's characters. There's no pure black and white to them, only varying and unexpected shades of gray.... Intense, extreme and definitely grimy and readers will find that's a good thing - CNN

Almost every character in Lange's latest crime novel is made desperate by personal demons, and this struggle creates a fast-paced thrill ride.... A Tarantino-like vortex of mayhem and violence - Daily Beast

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Mulholland Books; 1st edition (12 July 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1444790064
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1444790061
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 18.8 x 2.2 x 20.2 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

About the author

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Richard Lange was born in Oakland, CA and grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley. His stories have appeared in The Sun, The Iowa Review, and Best American Mystery Stories, and as part of the Atlantic Monthly’s Fiction for Kindle series. He is the author of the collections Dead Boys and Sweet Nothing and the novels This Wicked World, Angel Baby, which won the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers, The Smack, and Rovers. His story "Apocrypha," from Sweet Nothing, was awarded the Short Story Dagger by Great Britain's Crime Writers' Association. He received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in Los Angeles.

Vist his website at www.richlange.com or follow him on Twitter @richardlange.

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