A Bright and Guilty Place by Richard Rayner
Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age

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Los Angeles was the fastest growing city in the world, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, and celebrity scandals. It was also rife with organized crime, with a mayor in the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A Bright and Guilty Place, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of two men, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who were caught up in the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a few transformative years, as the boom times shaded into the Depression, the adventures of Clark and White would inspire pulp fiction and replace L.A.’s reckless optimism with a new cynicism. Together, theirs is the tale of how the city of sunshine went noir.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Richard Rayner

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Born in England, Richard Rayner now lives in Los Angeles. His previous books include the memoir The Blue Suit and the novels The Cloud Sketcher, L.A. Without a Map, and Murder Book. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and many other publications.
 
Published June 14, 2009 by Anchor. 338 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Bright and Guilty Place

Kirkus Reviews

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Rayner (The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California, 2007, etc.) traces the roots of the seamy allure of Los Angeles in this vivid social history, focusing on the murder trial of Dave Clark, a dashing, charismatic L.A.

Jun 23 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

The New York Times

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For example, when a suspect is found not guilty after two trials, Rayner writes: “An odd swoon of the zeitgeist ensured his acquittal.” Or when he huffs and puffs thoughtfully about Los Angeles, “a city of big dreams and cruelly inevitable disappointments,” where noir is “a disillusion that shado...

Jul 10 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

Publishers Weekly

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White saw firsthand how deep the city's corruption ran, from organized crime boss Charlie Crawford's “System,” whose tentacles reached the highest echelons of politics and law enforcement, to the press, always ravenous for another sensational story, a “circulation-boosting crusade.” Crawford's br...

Apr 13 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

The Washington Post

If you love the idea of all that, you'll really love "A Bright and Guilty Place."

Jun 25 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

UT San Diego

Americans shortened it to "Los Angeles" – Spanish for "The Angels."

Jun 22 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

Campus Circle

Rayner’s reporter-like thoroughness tends to weigh the material down at times, and his enlightening personal note on how his love affair with Los Angeles began during the Rodney King riots proves to be far more interesting material.

Nov 16 2009 | Read Full Review of A Bright and Guilty Place: Mu...

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