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Five great books set in LOS ANGELES

1st August 2019

Los Angeles is the latest destination for us to visit in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city‘ – Dorothy Parker

Five great books set in LOS ANGELES

‘When its 100 degrees in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. When its 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it’s still 72. However, there are 6 million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles’ – Neil Simon

‘City of Angels’. ‘La-La Land’. ‘Tinseltown’. At once a city of dreams and of lost hope, LA has long held a fascination for writers of books and movies. Here are five books that capture that simultaneous glamour and despair:

The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons

Can true love ever die?

Julian lives a charmed life in Los Angeles. Surrounded by friends, he is young, handsome, and runs a successful business. Everything changes after he has a fateful encounter with a mysterious young woman named Josephine. Julian’s world is turned upside down by a love affair that takes him – and everyone else in his life – by storm. For the two new lovers, the City of Angels is transformed into a magical playground.

But Josephine is not what she seems and carries secrets that threaten to tear them apart ― seemingly forever.

A broken man, his faith in tatters, Julian meets a mysterious stranger who tells him how to find Josephine again if he is willing to give up everything and take a death-defying trip from which no one has ever returned. So begins Julian and Josephine’s extraordinary adventure of love, loss, and the mystical forces that bind people across time and space. It is a journey that propels Julian toward an impossible choice which will lead him to love fulfille…or to oblivion.

Fever City by Tim Baker

Nick Alston, a Los Angeles private investigator, is hired to find the kidnapped son of America’s richest and most hated man.

Hastings, a mob hitman in search of redemption, is also on the trail. But both men soon become ensnared by a sinister cabal that spreads from the White House all the way to Dealey Plaza.

Decades later in Dallas, Alston’s son stumbles across evidence from JFK conspiracy buffs that just might link his father to the shot heard round the world.

Violent, vivid, visceral: Fever City is a high–octane, nightmare journey through a Mad Men-era America of dark powers, corruption and conspiracy.

LA Confidential by James Ellroy

An involved story, with a beautiful, unique style. Graphic and dark. A police brutality case provides Ed Exley with an opportunity to make a name for himself but by testifying against other police officers he makes enemies as well as some powerful friends….

Adapted into a hugely successful Oscar-winning film in 1997, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2016.

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father’s racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.

What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

‘For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.’

‘Nobody ever knew why. Until now.’

They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.

The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed.

Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Which titles would you add to the list? Remember there are more than 50 to choose from in the LA listings on TripFiction…! Each will transport you to some excellent fiction, travelogues or memoirs set in this sprawling, glitzy, ambiguous city. Or you may have your own favourites you would like to add. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below.

Other posts in our ‘Ten/five great books set in…’ series that might interest you, and look out for more ‘great books‘ posts set in South American countries:

Five great books set in San Francisco

Five great books set in California

Five great books set in Chicago

Ten great books set in New York

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