The Kept Girl (Esotouric Ink)
From the author of the bestselling 33 1/3 series volume on Neutral Milk Hotel and creator of Esotouric's acclaimed crime bus tours comes a much-anticipated historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler.
Beer will be provided by event sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company.
In 2005, when Kim Cooper rented a coach class bus to take readers of her 1947project blog on what was intended as a one-off true crime scene tour, she didn't anticipate the fascinating left turn her life was about to take. The tour was a sold-out smash, and fans demanded more. The result was Esotouric, a different sort of L.A. tour company, offering a wide range of historic crime tours, and excursions through Charles Bukowski's, Raymond Chandler's, James M. Cain's and John Fante's L.A.
Coming directly out of Kim's true crime research, "The Kept Girl" is inspired by a sensational real-life cult murder spree which exploded into the public consciousness when fraud charges were filed against the cult's leaders in 1929. The victim was the nephew of oil company president Joseph Dabney, Raymond Chandler's boss. In the novel, Chandler, still several years away from publishing his first short story, is one of three amateur detectives who uncover the ghastly truth about the Great Eleven cult over one frenetic week.
Informed by the author's extensive research into the literary, spiritual, criminal and architectural history of Southern California, The Kept Girl is a terrifying noir love story, set against the backdrop of a glittering pre-crash metropolis.
Praise for The Kept Girl
"Holy cats, this woman can write! Kim Cooper's The Kept Girl evokes 1920s Los Angeles in general and especially Raymond Chandler magnificently, without ever stooping to mere ventriloquism. It abounds in grace notes, snappy character sketches and, yes, similes that keep their dignity even in the presence of the master.... Still, Cooper is the real thing. Like Marlowe working outside the law, she chooses to work beyond traditional publishing channels. But, also like Chandler, she writes rings around most of what New York is turning out."--David Kipen, editor of The WPA Guide to Los Angeles
"Nervy, bold, and shot through with a deep sense of Los Angeles history--the kind that feels practically tactile, as all the best noir narratives do—Kim Cooper's The Kept Girl is a delightful addition to this city's literature. The effortlessness with which it borrows against the Chandler tradition while at the same time retaining its unique intelligence and slyly contemporary flavor is just plain stunning. I can't commend it highly enough."--Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine
"Kim Cooper is the perfect Virgil to 1929 Los Angeles, a city that was both a paradise and an inferno. Her knowledge of the city that was is unparalleled, her imagination unnerving. The real-life characters and crimes that would give birth to the pulp fiction of the 1930s and the film noir of the 1940s can all be found here. Aficionados of noir Los Angeles will read The Kept Girl with fascination and with growing horror as the terrible crime at its core is revealed."--John Buntin, author of L.A. Noir
"Before Raymond Chandler became LA's crime laureate, he was an LA oil company executive. Inspired by this historic nugget, Kim Cooper, social historian and co-founder of Esotouric, spins Chandler's early LA years, a sinister 1920s angel-worshipping cult, an LAPD cop and a heroine who is much more than a 'kept girl' into a deeply researched and compulsively readable crime novel."--Denise Hamilton, author of Damage Control and editor of the Edgar Award-winning anthology Los Angeles Noir
"Before Raymond Chandler became LA's crime laureate, he was an LA oil company executive. Inspired by this historic nugget, Kim Cooper, social historian and co-founder of Esotouric, spins Chandler's early LA years, a sinister 1920s angel-worshipping cult, an LAPD cop and a heroine who is much more than a 'kept girl' into a deeply researched and compulsively readable crime novel."
Kim Cooper is the author of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over Sea" (Bloomsbury/Continuum) and her grandmother Barbara "Cutie" Cooper's memoir Fall in Love For Life (Chronicle), and co-editor of Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth (Feral House) and Lost in the Grooves (Routledge). The Kept Girl is her first novel.
Photo by Richard Schave