The Smack by Richard Lange
A Novel

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None of this hokey because Lange is an expert writer, his prose exact, his narrative tightly controlled. Even his occasional excesses — there’s some heavy coincidence with Sam’s story line — are well-managed and easily justified.
-LA Times

Synopsis

"That rare thriller that will jack your pulse even as it breaks your heart."--Adam Sternbergh, author of Shovel Ready

Rowan Petty is a conman down on his luck. He's flat broke, living out of cheap hotels, and wondering how it all went wrong. His car quits on him in Reno, and he takes a job there on the bottom rung of a lousy phone scam. When he's not swindling lonely widows, he tries to turn nickels into dimes at the poker table. One snowy night, he crosses paths with a sweet-talking hooker who's tired of the streets, and sparks fly.

When an old friend of his turns up spreading a rumor about two million dollars in army money smuggled out of Afghanistan and stashed in an apartment in Los Angeles, it seems like a chance at the score of a lifetime. So Petty and the hooker head south, and straight into trouble. A wounded vet, a washed-up actor, and Petty's estranged daughter are all players in the dangerous game they find themselves caught up in. For the winner: a fortune. For the loser: a bullet to the head.

Propulsive, suspenseful, and written with a searing lyricism, The Smack shows once again that "Lange is a writer firing on all cylinders who belongs in the top tier of novelists working today" (Omaha World-Herald).


 

About Richard Lange

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Richard Lange is the author of the story collection Dead Boys, which received an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the novel This Wicked World. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and his fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2004 and 2011. He lives in Los Angeles.
 
Published July 18, 2017 by Mulholland Books. 369 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Smack
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on May 02 2017

Petty's romance with Tinafey, who becomes his reluctant accomplice, can get a bit squishy. Like his protagonist, Lange "ha[s] a soft spot for hookers." But he is such a breezy, stylish writer that even scenes that in other hands would be filler, like those in which Petty indulges Tinafey's shopping and sightseeing desires, have something to reveal.

Read Full Review of The Smack: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Steph Cha on Jul 21 2017

None of this hokey because Lange is an expert writer, his prose exact, his narrative tightly controlled. Even his occasional excesses — there’s some heavy coincidence with Sam’s story line — are well-managed and easily justified.

Read Full Review of The Smack: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times
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