Tod Goldberg is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including a pair of short story collections, and ten novels, including The House of Secrets [co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer], and Gangsterland a finalist for the Hammett Prize. Kirkus Reviews on Gangster Nation, “Boasting less outlandish humor than Gangsterland but far more ambition, the sequel conducts extended discussions on how America is defined by crime, boldly linking gangland violence to the 9/11 attacks…but the second time around, Sal/David’s mixing of Talmudic citations with Bruce Springsteen lyrics is still very funny. The sacred gets the stuffing kicked out of it by the profane in this wild and sometimes-shocking novel.”
Special Guest Host Jim Ruland is a self-declared "writer, sailor, punk, rat." per his website. Southern CA literary program Vermin on the Mount founder Jim writes about books for San Diego CityBeat and punk rock for non-profit independent music zine Razorcake. He also writes book reviews for the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His most recent work was co-authoring My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, with Keith Morris.
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.
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.
When Hazel Nash was six years old, her father taught her that mysteries need to be solved. Hazel's father is Jack Nash, the host of America's favorite conspiracy TV show, The House of Secrets. Now, years later, Hazel wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing. She's told she's been in a car accident that killed her father and injured her brother. 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. 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.
Keith Morris is a true punk icon. No one else embodies the sound of Southern Californian hardcore the way he does. With his waist-length dreadlocks and snarling vocals, Morris is known the world over for his take-no-prisoners approach on the stage and his integrity off of it. Over the course of his forty-year career with Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, and OFF!, he's battled diabetes, drug and alcohol addiction, and the record industry...and he's still going strong.
My Damage is more than a book about the highs and lows of a punk rock legend. It's a story from the perspective of someone who has shared the stage with just about every major figure in the music industry and has appeared in cult films like The Decline of Western Civilization and Repo Man. A true Hollywood tale from an L.A. native, My Damage reveals the story of Morris's streets, his scene, and his music-as only he can tell it.
Forest of Fortune tells the story of three haunted souls--an alcoholic, an epileptic, and a gambling addict--who try to turn their luck around at a decrepit Indian casino. But something's not right at Thunderclap Casino. As the three of them come to terms with the ways in which they are haunted by the past and struggle with their addictions, they must confront the malevolent force that won't rest until old wrongs have been made right.