Sweet Nothing: Stories (Mulholland Books)
Richard Lange is one of our most highly acclaimed literary mystery writers. He has been hailed as a “natural-born storyteller” and compared to great masters like Raymond Carver and Denis Johnson. His debut, Dead Boys, was called “one of the best short story collections of the past 50 years” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and it put his name on the literary map. Now he returns to the form that started it all with his latest collection, Sweet Nothing.
A gambler tries to hide his addiction on a date at the racetrack. An ex-con must decide between cashing in on a lucrative heist and staying the course as a small-time security guard. And a recovering drug addict yearns to connect with a beautiful woman during his graveyard shift at Subway. With the dark side of Los Angeles as a backdrop, these ten unforgettable stories artfully combine the honest characterization of Junot Díaz with the edge-of-your-seat energy of Dennis Lehane. They capture and crystallize the mistakes and poor judgments that truly make us human, and reveal how a moment’s misstep can irrevocably shape a life.
Praise for Sweet Nothing:
“Skillfully constructed.…Lange portrays the lives of people struggling to survive, with the focus on families, both blood-related and chance-made.”—Booklist
“For all the darkness that runs through the stories…Lange maintains a disarmingly light touch, finding plenty of human comedy in the proceedings without sacrificing empathy.…Lange’s morality tales are not that far removed from the classic stories of O. Henry and Guy de Maupassant. With a distinctive style, Lange makes his downbeat tales of the underclass quirkily entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Utterly believable postcards from the edge; for those who like their realism not so magical but right there at street level.” —Library Journal
“The best stories are rabbit holes. You read the first lines, maybe a page, and you’re down there. Somewhere else. Another life. Richard Lange is one cwazy wabbit.”—James Sallis, author of Drive
“What makes this collection a wonderful read is that it’s only marginally akin to anything else. Swift, gut-wrenching, and sometimes cleverly disarming fiction by a master.”—Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Thicket and Edge of Dark Water
“I’ve been reading Richard Lange’s work since Dead Boys blew my doors off years ago, and goddamn, the man just keeps getting better. The stories in Sweet Nothing traffic in the vagaries of the human heart, those wants and needs that push us down dark paths. His vision is steely-eyed, yet you sense that Lange loves his characters—even the worst of them—and that compassion sharpensyour own emotional investment in this powerful brace of stories.”—Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City
Richard Lange is the author of the story collection Dead Boys and the novels This Wicked World and Angel Baby. 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.