I get a lot of requests from authors looking to hawk their books, and I usually ignore them. The books in question often seem amateurish or dull, and sometimes are even entirely unsuited for Book Dirt. (A fawning announcement about a new bathtub book for babies or a crafting how-to clues me in that the person in question has never actually laid eyes on my blog.)
A recent announcement made me sit up and pay attention. Kim Cooper’s new book The Kept Girl is not only a new noir on the block, but it’s inspired by a string of real-life cult murders in Los Angeles in 1929. One of the victims was the nephew of oil company president Joseph Dabney, who in 1929 just happened to be the boss of none other than Raymond Chandler. Our Raymond Chandler.
In Cooper’s novel, Chandler is one of three amateur detectives who delve into the secrets of the Great Eleven cult in order to uncover the truth. While the novel is fiction, Cooper did extensive research into pre-crash Los Angeles, so everything—from the creepy crimes down to the architectural details—is steeped in historical truth.
|Isn't this some nice cover art? (Click to order.)|
You can read a sample chapter to see for yourself that Cooper’s got a nice style, laced with lovely language that never seems overdone. Chandler himself would be proud of her ability to make the most of the seemingly mundane:
“Inside the Alexandria, the boy at the coffee counter would slop a little gin in the cup if you left two dimes on top of your paper napkin, and I did on days when the stale darkness of a speak was more than I could bear. Blind Mario mixed up my tobacco behind a tall wooden stand, so I would hear but not see the different leaves blending together on the scale before he packed the pouch. Sometimes I’d close my eyes in his shop, and wonder how it would be to navigate one’s life without so essential a sense. I imagined that the smells of his small shop and those brought in on his customers’ bodies told him everything he needed to know about the world.”
If that sample floats your boat like it does mine, go ahead and nab a copy at Amazon. You can read more about the blog tour at The Kept Girl’s site, or by using the Twitter tag #keptgirlBT. Clicking the banner below will take you the hub for the blog tour.Here’s where it gets even better. You can win a paperback or e-book copy of The Kept Girl for yourself by using the widget below to enter. It’s pretty painless.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Keep an eye on Book Dirt, where I’ll be interviewing Kim Cooper later this month. If there’s anything you’d like to know about the book, about the cult murders, or Cooper’s use of Chandler, let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to ask.