Words to Die For

Words-to-Die-For

Words to Die For

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“Kostoff’s knockout novel ‘works on several levels,’ as reviewers like to say.It’s a stunning read on any level you like.”
—Booklist, starred review

DESCRIPTION

The year is 1986 and fall is declining into winter in a small Midwest city where ten-year-old Tina Brackett languishes in a coma caused by tainted fast food chicken produced by the Happy Farms Co. Raymond Locke, operative for the high-flying public relations firm that represents Happy Farms, is damage control central. But tragedy begets opportunity, and everyone is angling for a game-changing piece of the action surrounding Tina’s impending death. Among the players in this Darwinian battle for survival are the District Attorney looking at a possible murder charge, a reporter working on the story of his career, a high-minded crusader against corporate greed and malfeasance, and Tina’s enigmatic single parent, Ken Brackett. Pitted against these sordid foes, Raymond Locke is trying to save his job and his marriage, crumbling beneath the weight of caring for an autistic son. A noir journey into the heartland of America and the American psyche, Words to Die For evokes a shadowy, Mad Men-like world where the truth is less important than the spin.

PRAISE

“Kostoff’s knockout novel “works on several levels,” as reviewers like to say. It’s a straight-ahead story of a man attempting to do his job while tending to an autistic son and holding together his marriage to a fine woman who is cracking under the strain. Raymond Locke’s job is with a megabucks public-relations firm, which introduces the second level: in a profession that gleefully warps reality, even its smugly world-wise practitioners get sucked in. Locke’s firm represents a fast food king whose chicken put a little girl in a coma. The PR response goes beyond spin. Make the greedhead a victim of his suppliers. The environmentalist? Threaten to expose her bad-girl past. The incorruptible reporter? Try to buy him off with a book contract. The compounding of lies—or illusions—eventually creates an alternate reality, with actors and scripts, that threatens to fall of its own weight when Locke realizes he’s been outmaneuvered. It’s gunplay time. The author’s command of language and narrative keep this from dwelling on its own profundities. It’s a stunning read on any level you like.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“Lynn Kostoff is noir to the bone: dark, twisty, baroque and thrilling. And, like all the best writers in the genre, he’s never afraid to burst into new corridors of the American underbelly, offering stories that are rich in character, desperate in tone and bold in consequence. His books are not to be missed.”
–Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of The Feverand Dare Me

“Like a big-hearted Nathanael West, Kostoff creates a dark and purely American tale of fixers and fanatics, delusions and debts. Fascinating, intricate, and deeply resonant, Words to Die For captures the duplicitous Reagan era like a literary x-ray.”
–Stona Fitch author of Senseless and Give + Take

“Lynn Kostoff is one of the very best writers out there today. His latest, Words To Die For, deals with spin doctors and damage control artists, what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Its [protagonist] Raymond Locke is called on to alleviate a food poisoning disaster with one of his firm’s biggest clients. There are very few writers out there today with Kostoff’s mastery of craft. I’ve been a fan since his first novel and I haven’t stop reading him since.”
–Charlie Stella, author of Shakedown, Johnny Porno and Rough Riders