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The Kind One [Paperback]

Tom Epperson

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Book Description

April 7 2009
In the kill-or-be-killed criminal underworld of 1930s Los Angeles, "Two Gun Danny" Landon has a distinct disadvantage. According to the fellas, he used to pull all kinds of shoot-ups and shenanigans...but damned if he can't remember a thing from before last year, when he got hit over the head with a lead pipe. Sadistic mobster Bud Seitz -- known to friends and enemies alike as "The Kind One" -- seems to have big plans for him, but truthfully, Danny can't stomach the dirty work. His aim is off, the other wiseguys laugh at him, and he'd gladly trade in the drunken parties and the endless broads for a day at the movies with his colorful and mysterious neighbor Dulwich and eleven-year-old Sophie, whose deadbeat mother delivers an endless stream of emotional and physical abuse. But when Bud's beautiful girlfriend Darla begs Danny to help her escape the Kind One's dark, brutal world, Danny must confront a dangerous test of loyalty that could irrevocably change his future -- and his past -- forever.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (April 7 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416596984
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416596981
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 13.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #840,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Tense, emotional, and unforgiving.... A beautifully written take on the dark Hollywood of the '30s -- a perfect noir novel that is pure and original, with a heavy heart that beats through each page." -- Robert Crais

"On every page, the language is crisp and fresh, the details sharp and keenly observed, the dialogue real, never forced." -- Los Angeles Times

"Epperson manages to throw in an occasional turn of phrase that Raymond Chandler might have penned....An impressive debut." -- Publishers Weekly

"What's memorable about Epperson's take on the '30s is its balance of brutality and optimism. He portrays Los Angeles as the last outpost of the Wild West...but he's even more adept at portraying the eternal hopefulness of a more innocent America." -- San Francisco Chronicle

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars guns and roses Feb. 6 2008
By Ilze Petersons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Tom Epperson's "The Kind One", set in Depression-era Los Angeles of the 1930s, is a well written and fast-paced gangster tale with heart. The main character is Danny, literally and figuratively a "lost soul". Having no memory because of an unspecified accident, Danny finds himself consorting with killers and thugs and molls, and on the payroll of a psychotic crime boss. The brutality of his criminal companions is a stark contrast to Danny's humaneness and decency - he saves an abused and neglected little girl, he's chivalrous to the woman who beguiles him, the beautiful Darla, he's even loyal to his monstrous boss. The action in this book keeps our interest piqued while its non-action - Danny's melancholy dreaminess and search of self - engage our empathy. There is an elegant symmetry to the surprise ending of this story. It's an altogether pleasurable read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling Read. Feb. 6 2008
By Champ Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Tom Epperson's thrilling Hollywood noir echoes the greats--Chandler, Cain, Ellroy--while at the same time introduces a hugely original new voice to the genre. Though as hard-boiled as the best of them, "The Kind One" moves beyond category with the artistry of its character depth and descriptive eloquence. Epperson's 1930s Los Angeles is portrayed with time capsule clarity, every page in the novel filled with fascinating (and well-researched) period detail. This is a book that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE KIND ONE on a DARE April 1 2008
By Sara Mahlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read "The Kind One" on something of a personal dare. A friend thrust a copy of the novel into my arms and insisted, "Read it. You'll like it." I thought "Never!" I hate gangster films. I never see them. And a gangster novel? What could be worse! But since this book was a gift from a good friend, I felt obliged to actually read the damned thing. And so I did it with an I-dare-you-to-make-me-like-it attitude.

I lost the bet -- big time! But in this case, losing meant winning -- I gained a thrilling read. To label this book a gangster novel does not do it justice. It is really a first-rate character novel about an interesting, likable fellow, two-gun Danny, who just happens to be thrust into the world of gangsters. How he got there is precisely the issue -- and one he keeps asking himself since he has lost his memory of his past life. He does not seem to fit into the thuggish world of his truly frightening boss. As he struggles to figure out his past, he meets several other misfits, both in and outside of the gangster world. For me, the most interesting set of characters were those he met in his Hollywood apartment complex, each of which is sharply drawn and wonderfully memorable. Epperson deftly weaves all of their lives together in surprising twists as this psychological thriller unfolds, with their lives converging at the end. By the time I approached that end, I found myself reading more slowly to draw out the pleasure of remaining with the characters. As I closed the book cover, I wondered: is this really a gangster novel if Epperson's artful, psychological portraits made me forget his characters were largely in a gangster world?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Raymond Chandler May 4 2009
By Donald A. Coppock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After all the five star reviews I was excited to get this book, but other than the period I found no comparison to Raymond Chandler. You can get a gist of the plot from all the other reviews but I found the characters separate stories, particularly Dulwich's and the Butler's, to be distracting at best and filler at worst. As for the tale, while marginally holding my interest from beginning to end, it truly surprises me seeing all the five star reviews this little noir novel is getting. I'm a big fan of Chandler, James lee Burke, and Ed Mcbain among others and certainly didn't feel that this stacked up along any of the aforementioned.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The Kind One" a taste of the past March 7 2009
By michael a. draper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Fans of Raymond Chandler will enjoy the debut novel "The Kind One" by Tom Epperson.
It isn't a private eye with a Philip Marlowe to lead an investigation but we do have the Los Angeles and Southern California setting and we have Chandler's wonderful storytelling and dialogue.

It's the 1930's and Danny Landon works for mobster Bud Seitz.

Danny, aka Two Gun Danny has amnesia from being hit on the head with a lead pipe and goes through the story trying to find out who he really is.

Bud asks Danny to act as bodyguard for his mistress, Darla. When the story opens, Bud's chimp, Doc, bites Darla and Danny has to put it down.
This is almost too reminiscent of the recent champanze attack on the woman in Stamford,Ct.

This descriptive novel wastes no time with unnecessary facts. It is plot driven with intensive dialogue and little character development.

After a slow start we see Danny and Darla interacting with each other and Darla showing her discomfort with being Bud's mistress and his autocratic approach to their relationship.

The reader is made to wonder what will happen as Danny and Darla fall in love. Will they meet the fate of Bud's last girlfriend and the employee who made a poor choice and inappropately touched her and paid the ultimate price.

Life is cheap in the 1930's surrounding Bud Seitz who doesn't hesitate to kill anyone who displeases him, be it a stranger or one of his employees.

While this is happening, Danny is trying to help his 11 year old neighbor Sophie who is being abused.

The plot twists and turns are interesting and we find that there is a relationship between Danny and Bud Seitz, more than just employer-employee.

The novel culminates with Danny wanting to take Darla away from Bud and Sophie away from her alcoholic mother who intends to send her to a reform school.

Very nicely done and I look forward to the filmed version that is due to be released in 2010.

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