by J.D. O'Brien
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 15 Dec 2022
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A stoned odyssey across the dive bars, neon-lit motels, and lost highways of the American West.
Capri Dall has a foolproof plan to knock over the marijuana dispensary where she works. But when her boyfriend botches the heist, the two of them end up in a stolen car with a trunkful of rare high-end weed—and an unhinged security guard on their trail.
Harry Robatore is a burned-out rhinestone cowboy, barely scraping by as a bail bondsman. Agreeing to help out an old pal, and settle his bar tab, he sets out to track down the lovers on the run. The chase begins in the San Fernando Valley and leads him deep into the heart of the Mojave Desert—building to an explosive showdown at a ghost town tourist trap.
Zig Zag is equal parts Elmore Leonard and Charles Portis—with Larry McMurtry’s cowboy hat along for the ride.
A book that starts with an epigraph from D.C. Berman already has me eating out of its hand but then J.D. O’Brien goes and ups the ante. Zig Zag is a cosmic American crime odyssey that’s reminiscent of Barry Gifford, James Crumley, Charles Portis, Elmore Leonard, and Charles Willeford. Wild, funny, and entertaining as hell. Capri Dall and Harry Robatore are characters I won't soon forget.” -William Boyle, author of Shoot the Moonlight Out, City of Margins, and A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself
"An at times funny, at times hard-boiled, at times sweetly sad crime romp set in some of the scuzzier pockets of Southern California. J.D. O'Brien lovingly limns these divey bars, rundown motels, and ticky-tacky apartments and brings to life the stoned and soused oddballs who stumble through them. It's Elmore Leonard meets Warren Zevon with a wry sensibility all its own, and I enjoyed every page of it."- Richard Lange, author of Rovers, The Smack, and Angel Baby
“Feels like a great 70s movie.”– David Gordon Green, director of Pineapple Express
“A Stoned Odyssey Across The Dive Bars, Neon-Lit Motels, And Lost Highways Of The American West”
– Mike Postalakis, author of L.A. By Mouth: The Essential Guide To Eating In Los Angeles
“A rare debut crime novel with the hardboiled humor of Charles Willeford and Barry Gifford, J.D. O’Brien’s saga of a dope-smoking, Nudie suit-wearing bail bondsman is a freewheeling oater for the ages.”
– Jim Ruland, author of Forest Of Fortune, Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise & Fall Of SST Records
PUBLICITY AND MARKETING
Adult fiction readers, both men and women, ages 25-on
crime fiction readers, readers of noir fiction,
marijuana enthusiasts and those interested in the legalized pot industry
Americana music fans, enthusiasts of country-western music and western kitsch-culture
Fans of serio-comic and noir films (“Raising Arizona”,”Fargo” “Pulp Fiction”) and TV series such as “Breaking Bad”
Publicity efforts will focus on national and regional media outlets. Regional efforts will target the author’s current locale (Massachusetts and New England) as well as the book’s setting (Southern California, Mojave Desert/San Fernando Valley region).
National outlets (print & digital): The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreword Reviews Los Angeles Review of Books, Rolling Stone,
Trade Publications and Reviews: Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot
Mystery Publications: Crime Reads
Pop-Culture Publications: Aquarium Drunkard. No Depression, Volume 1 Brooklyn, , Mojo,
Marijuana and Alternate Lifestyle: Heads Lifestyle, High Times, Pursuit Magazine, Cannabis Now
Regional outlets and Alternative Weeklies (print & digital): Valley Advocate, DigBoston, Worcester Magazine, Portland Phoenix, Coachella Valley Independent, San Fernando Valley Sun, The Van Nuys News Press
Podcasts: Apology Magazine, Otherppl, Writer Types, How Long Gone, Thriller Zone, Bookin’, Selected Prose.
Advertising (print & digital): Publisher’s note: $5,000 Advertising budget for print and online opps.
Bookforum, Aquarium Drunkard, Crime Reads, LitHub, High Times, Heads Lifestyle, No Depression, Pursuit Magazine, Cannabis Now
Author appearances: Efforts will focus on the Massachusetts and New England area, Southern California and other key locations where the author has media connections, and will include among others Powell’s Books (Portland, OR), Odyssey Bookshop (South Hadley, MA), Book Moon (Easthampton, MA), Amherst Books (Amherst, MA), Broadside Bookshop (Northampton, MA), The Mysterious Bookshop (New York, NY), The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, CA), Vroman’s Books (Pasadena, CA), Book Soup (West Hollywood)
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
I’m the first to rate and review this book. A privilege and a pleasure when the book is good. So, let’s do this…
Reading outside of my comfort zone sometimes means (armchair)traveling outside of my comfort zone. The West - wild wild or otherwise – has never been my jam. Not the cowboys, not the dust, not the culture nor the patois. And yet…
This book charmed me completely. Surprisingly so.
Its protagonist, the self-style rhinestone cowboy bail bondsman/bounty hunter, and the various and colorful characters he interacts with and encounters as he tries to locate a small time criminal who jumped bail were singular delights of offbeat randomness and delightful aphorisms. The West was a character too, vivid and cinematic. In fact, the entire book comes to life as you read it – and plays like one of those offbeat crime drama/comedies. My sleepy brain can only come up with Fargo for comparison, which I know isn’t ideal and way off geographically, but there it is.
All in all, this book was oodles of fun. A most impressive debut novel for an author who knows how to zig and zag his narrative to tell a good story. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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