Skip to main content

THE KEPT GIRL by Kim Cooper

L.A. historian Kim Cooper's indie-published debut novel, The Kept Girl, is inspired by a sensational real-life Los Angeles 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.


The first chapter-and-a-half of The Kept Girl is written in first-person from Chandler's viewpoint as he's tasked with tracing $40,000 scammed from Joseph Dabney's nephew, Clifford. With no illusions of being a detective himself, Chandler enlists the help of his secretary and a cop friend, and the story splits into three third-person viewpoints: our three protagonists pursuing different angles of the investigation.

I forgave this narrative hiccup. If Cooper had spent all or most of the novel in Chandler's head, the resulting prose might have seemed an imitation of his eloquence or an attempt to romanticize him into Philip Marlowe. Instead, The Kept Girl's portrait of Chandler is realistic and sad, the action more driven by Chandler's secretary, who infiltrates the cult, and the cop friend, who handles the "hard business".

The Kept Girl is best read as a fun, what-if scenario. What if Chandler and friends had some part in exposing this real cult? Cooper's level of detail took me to the place and time to make that imaginative leap. I hope she continues writing fiction.


Kim's second blog tour stop at Chatterrific is a February 19 guest post about how she oversaw the book's publication.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

ROBERT B. PARKER'S SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins' ninth Spenser continuation novel was originally scheduled to be published November 17, but printing and distribution issues have delayed it to January 12, 2021. Fortunately, Putnam Books ' publicist Nicole Biton sent me an advance ebook to review. Book design by Katy Riegel Mattie Sullivan, introduced as the young client in Atkins' 2012 first Spenser ( Robert B. Parker's Lullaby ), returns as a 22-year-old apprentice, taking the case of 15-year-old Chloe Turner, molested by a much older man at Boston's posh Blackstone gentlemen's club. Mattie's investigation leads to hedge fund billionaire Peter Steiner, his British socialite companion Patricia "Poppy" Palmer, and their perverse, private pleasure island in the Bahamas. Steiner and Palmer are inspired by notorious sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and his companion Ghislane Maxwell. Atkins has Mattie drive the investigation knowing she would better empathize with the couple's victims

Guest Essay by Paul D. Marks

On May 31, Down & Out Books published Shamus Award-winning author Paul D. Marks' latest novel, The Blues Don't Care . I've invited Paul to contribute the following essay: Time Tripping Back to the 1940s by Paul D. Marks I have a fascination for the 1940s. And, even though it’s before my time sometimes I think I must have been reincarnated from that era. There are several reasons. I like swing music. I like old black-and-white movies, especially film noir from the mid and later ’40s. The clothes are so cool, even men’s clothes, at least in the movies, trenchcoats and fedoras. Though here in Los Angeles I’m not sure how many men wore trenchcoats. But they did wear hats. In The Blues Don’t Care , my mystery-thriller set in the 1940s on the Los Angeles home front during World War II, Bobby Saxon is a young man with two major goals in life. One of them is to get a gig playing piano with the house band at the famous Club Alabam on Central Avenue. If he gets the gig, he

Richard Hawke

Sunday, August 26, 2007 Participants Tim Cockey (writing as Richard Hawke) Gerald So Brian Thornton