Wildcat Play (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Acclaimed novelist Helen Knode will discuss her new thriller Wildcat Play with her ex-husband and crime fiction writer extraordinaire James Ellroy.
Praise for Wildcat Play:
"I fell in love with the people, the place and most of all the words." —Michael Connelly
"Drawing on her family's history in oil exploration, Helen Knode has created a riveting mystery that blends elements of Upton Sinclair and There Will Be Blood with a hard-edged heroine who isn't afraid to get grease under her fingernails. Best of all, Wildcat Play explores the literary terra incognita of East-Central California, a land of transplanted Okie roughnecks, blue-collar millionaires, wildcat rigs and the scheming, double-crossing and murder that seethes beneath the placid surface." —Denise Hamilton, author of Damage Control and the Eve Diamond mystery series
Helen Knode put her experiences as a staff writer and film critic for the L.A. Weekly into her first novel, The Ticket Out. She was born in Calgary, Alberta, heart of the Canadian oil business, and Knodes have worked in oil since the nineteenth century, a history that inspired Wildcat Play. She lives in Austin, Texas.
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international bestsellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine's Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.
Photo of James Ellroy by Franny Freeman.
a hipster movie critic, Ann Whitehead pushed a Hollywood murder case to
a bloody climax and almost died herself. Changed forever--less stupid
and more fun--she has moved on to a place she knows well--the San
Joaquin Valley, where her grandfather's closest friend, Joe Balch, owns
the oil company that keeps one town alive.
gets Ann a job with the Oklahoma company drilling his wildcat well.
It's hard work, but Ann loves both it and her crusty old boss, Emmet.
Then a guy on her crew is killed by a falling hammer. Sheriffs rule it
an accident but Ann's LAPD squeeze, Detective Doug Lockwood, says it's
murder. Ann can't resist the challenge of chasing a killer -- and then
the killer starts chasing her back...
From a writer whose first novel was praised as "highly literate, exceptionally action-packed and occasionally harrowing" (Chicago Tribune),
this is a wild ride -- full of bad behavior and laughs, oilfield
characters and small-town atmosphere -- starring a heroine who never
does anything halfway.