Dane Bahr. The Houseboat (Catapult, $26.00).
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James Sallis meets Mindhunter in this stylish and atmospheric noir set in small town Iowa in the 1960s, a midcentury heartland gothic with abounding twists and a feverish conclusion.
Local outcast Rigby Sellers lives in squalor on a dilapidated houseboat moored on the Mississippi River. With only stolen mannequins and the river to keep him company, Rigby begins to spiral from the bizarre to the threatening. As a year of drought gives way to a season of squalls, a girl is found trembling on the side of the road, claiming her boyfriend was murdered. The townspeople of nearby Oscar turn their suspicions toward Sellers.
Town sheriff Amos Fielding knows this crime is more than he can handle alone. He calls on the regional marshal up in Minnesota, and detective Edward Ness arrives in Oscar to help him investigate the homicide and defuse the growing unrest. Ness, suffering his own demons, is determined to put his past behind him and solve the case. But soon more bodies are found. As Ness and Fielding uncover disturbing facts about Sellers, and a great storm floods the Mississippi, threatening the town, Oscar is pushed to a breaking point even Ness may not be able to prevent.
Tod Goldberg. The Low Desert: Gangster Stories (Counterpoint, $16.95 unsigned trade paperback).
Raymond Carver meets Elmore Leonard in this extraordinary collection of contemporary crime writing set in the critically acclaimed Gangsterland universe, a series called "gloriously original" by The New York Times Book Review.
With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.
Witty, brutal, and fast-paced, these stories expand upon the saga of Chicago hitman-turned-Vegas-rabbi Sal Cupertine—first introduced in Gangsterland and continued in Gangster Nation—while revealing how the line between good and bad is often a mirage.