Gangster Nation

Tod Goldberg (Author)


"Sal Cupertine is back--and better than ever. I love this guy." --Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

"Gangster Nation is a razor. It will slice you open and reveal your insides. And like the best of Tod Goldberg's work, it'll show you everything you are at your core." --Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author of The President's Shadow

The sequel to the wickedly dark Hammett Prize-finalist Gangsterland, an unexpected, page-turning examination of the seedy foundations of American life

It's been two years since the events of Gangsterland, when legendary Chicago hitman Sal Cupertine disappeared into the guise of Vegas Rabbi David Cohen. In September of 2001, Rabbi Cohen's temple is thriving. The mortuary and cemetery--where Cohen has been laundering bodies for the mob--is minting cash. But Sal wants out. He's got money stashed in safe-deposit boxes all over the city. He only needs to make it through the High Holidays, and he'll have enough to escape Vegas, grab his wife and kid in Chicago, and start fresh.

Across the country, former FBI agent Matthew Drew is running security for an Indian-owned Casino outside of Milwaukee, looking for vengeance for the murder of his partner. So when Sal's cousin stumbles into the casino one night, Matthew takes the law into his own hands--again--not knowing that the Native American mob, led by an enigmatic assassin named Peaches, plans to take over the Chicago Family. Into his crosshairs fall Sal's wife and son, unprotected as the structure of the Chicago mob falls away.

When the horrible events of 9/11 occur, and the authorities move all of their resources to battle this new enemy, all the gangsters in the nation know they have free reign to run wild. This powder keg threatens to expose Rabbi Cohen, with the post-9/11 world closing in around him.

Gangster Nation is a gritty, darkly funny story of the greed and ambition that have fueled the rise of a nation, proclaiming Tod Goldberg as one of the most provocative crime writers of his generation.

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
September 11, 2018
5.7 X 1.1 X 8.7 inches | 1.05 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

TOD GOLDBERG is the author of more than a dozen books, including Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize; The House of Secrets, which he coauthored with Brad Meltzer; and the crime-tinged novels Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Fake Liar Cheat, plus five novels in the popular Burn Notice series. He is also the author of the story collection Simplify, a 2006 finalist for the SCIBA Award for Fiction and winner of the Other Voices Short Story Collection Prize, and Other Resort Cities. His essays, journalism, and criticism have appeared in many publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Las Vegas Weekly, and Best American Essays, among many others, and have won five Nevada Press Association Awards. He lives in Indio, California, where he directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside.


Praise for Gangster Nation

1 of 6 Crime Must-Reads This September (LitHub)
A Desert Sun Holiday Gift Guide Pick

"One can't help but think of such greats as Mario Puzo, Jimmy Breslin, Elmore Leonard, and Donald E. Westlake while reading this witty, brutal, vital book. Goldberg is a master, expertly building upon the grim goings-on of Gangsterland, merrily pursuing plot points set up there to their logical, wicked ends. And, as if the impressive buildup of tension weren't sufficient, he ends the current installment on a cliff hanger of truly epic proportions, setting up what appears to be the forthcoming and final installment of the Gangster trilogy. This reviewer is already getting itchy, waiting for that welcome denouement." --Mystery Scene Magazine

"Not only religion but family (what is the mafia if not a family?) and community are dissected in Goldberg's sharp satires, which also happen to be excellent crime novels." --LitHub, 1 of 6 Crime Must-Reads This September

"[A] fast-paced, addicting novel." --San Diego City Beat

"Fans of Elmore Leonard will quickly devour Tod Goldberg's latest novel, Gangster Nation . . . This worthy follow-up sees Goldberg fine-tune his signature mix of dark humor, violent crime, Talmudic wisdom and suburban satire." --Orange Coast Magazine

"Written with humor and the same type of dark, up-close-and-personal style of dialogue that Don Winslow is known for, Goldberg also mixes in some eyebrow-raising historical facts about how criminals (of all types, but especially gangsters) have shaped and changed America throughout the country's history. A touch better than its predecessor (Gangsterland), Goldberg's latest novel is a bold and daring adventure that hits hard early on and never lets up. The story twists and turns its way to a surprising ending, setting things up nicely for the planned third and final book in the Sal Cupertine trilogy, The Death of a Gangster." --The Real Book Spy

"While Gangster Nation contains a great deal of humor, at least when talking about the members of the synagogue, the novel takes a more serious turn after the events of 9/11 . . . The novel's cliff-hanger ending . . . will leave readers eager to discover what happens next." --The Reporter Group

"Goldberg's new novel is every bit as entertaining and at least as quirky as its predecessor--not an out-and-out comedy but certainly lighter than most books featuring organized crime figures and crazed law enforcers (although there are moments of memorable darkness). The book can be read as an installment in a series or as a stand-alone; Goldberg provides enough background to allow newbies to pick up the important plot threads." --Booklist

"The sequel conducts extended discussions on how America is defined by crime, boldly linking gangland violence to the 9/11 attacks . . . Sal/David's mixing of Talmudic citations with Bruce Springsteen lyrics is still very funny. The sacred gets the stuffing kicked out of it by the profane in this wild and sometimes-shocking novel." --Kirkus Reviews

"Sal Cupertine is back--and better than ever. I love this guy." --Lee Child

"Gangster Nation is a razor. It will slice you open and reveal your insides. And like the best of Tod Goldberg's work, it'll show you everything you are at your core." --Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author of The President's Shadow

"Tod Goldberg's brilliant Gangster Nation is hilarious, complex, and a total page-turner. It's also a little insane, in the best possible way." --Lisa Lutz, New York Times bestselling author of The Passenger

Gangsterland was compelling in every way, and in Gangster Nation, its sequel, Tod Goldberg has written an enthralling portrait of consequences--emotional, physical, moral, you name it. Amid all the expertly choreographed violence and intrigue is a moving, thought-provoking story about the fluid nature of identity, spirituality, and love. I enjoyed every page." --Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish

"Gangster Nation punches even harder than the excellent Gangsterland did: against the backdrop of 9/11, everybody's roughed up and bleeding, and nobody's hiding it well. Tod Goldberg's weird world is getting The Sopranos-good, and The Sopranos-funny: he can hit you high, low, or straight in the gut. Meshugener wiseguys. It'll make you a better killer--and a better rabbi." --Bill Beverly, author of Dodgers

Praise for Gangsterland

"In his plotting, dialogue, and empathy for the bad guys, Goldberg aspires to the heights of Elmore Leonard. For those who miss the master, Gangsterland is a high-grade substitute." --New York Times

"For many of us, The Godfather, book or movie, ushered us into a second boyhood, teaching that the incorrigible vitality of a first-rate gangster story could temporarily inoculate us against adult sanity. For readers of a like mind, Tod Goldberg's Gangsterland will arrive as a gloriously original Mafia novel: 100 percent unhinged about the professionally unhinged...torridly funny...the novel swells with a spiritual but jazzy tone."--New York Times Book Review

"Gangsterland explores the question: What would happen if a hitman were forced to fake being religious?...That led to the nuances of Gangsterland--to not only become a page turner, but also to expand beyond that...into an environment of faith and spirituality." --San Francisco Chronicle

"One of the most compelling, and repulsive, crime-fiction protagonists in a long time." --The Forward"The setup is blackly comic, the plotting a tad rococo, the payoff grim but sly... Goldberg's new book is clever bordering on wise, like Get Shorty on antacid." --David Kipen, Los Angeles Magazine

"Unlike many of his literary forebears and contemporaries, Goldberg, it seems, has not been seized by self-evisceration or self-doubt. There's no scolding messaging about universalism here, just respect for a group that looks after its own...As Rabbi Cohen observes, who wants to hear the same old stories? For those who don't, there is Gangsterland." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"Not into gangster capers? The skillfully spun Gangsterland could convert you...a cleverly spun novel that forced me to abandon my wiseguy moratorium. Goldberg has an amusing flair for contemporary hard-boil, and he knows his crime and crime-fighting procedures." --Las Vegas Weekly

..".The transformation of Cupertino into Cohen is the true joy of Gangsterland...a breathtaking cat-and-mouse game that forces readers to wonder which side they're on...At its heart, it's a deeply funny crime novel about the competing desires for justice and survival -- and the battle between doing what's right and doing what's necessary." --Jewish Journal

"In Gangsterland, author Tod Goldberg has, within the well-elbowed constraints of the conventional crime narrative envelope, written an exceedingly sage and witty thriller that reveals no chinks in the armor, no narrative lines to nowhere, and with a 'look Ma, no hands' ease of invention that would have Elmore Leonard turning over in his grave to see who has taken his place as one of the best writers around." --The Rap Sheet

"Tod Goldberg's wickedly dark and hilarious new book will remind you of everything you love about Walter White (or any Coen brothers antihero, for that matter)." --Purewow "The Mafia plus the Torah makes for a darkly funny and suspenseful morality tale... The man can spin a good yarn." --Edan Lepucki for The Millions

..".Hilarious and fast-paced... This wickedly dark and morbidly funny new novel by Goldberg is a morality tale set in a desert landscape as ruthless and barren as those who inhabit it." --Nevada Magazine

"Longtime mafia hit man Sal Cupertine knows that once somebody 'dictates the terms of your're a dead man.' By that measure it would seem that Sal, the protagonist in Tod Goldberg's wise and witty new novel, Gangsterland, is as dead as they come...In Goldberg's story, wisdom is tempered with humor and irony." --January Magazine

"Complex characters with understandable motivations distinguish this highly unusual crime novel...Goldberg injects Talmudic wisdom and a hint of Springsteen into the workings of organized crime and FBI investigative techniques and makes it all work splendidly." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Sal's transformation--and intermittent edification--into Rabbi Cohen is brilliantly rendered, and Goldberg's careening plot, cast of memorably dubious characters, and mordant portrait of Las Vegas make this one of the year's best hard-boiled crime novels." --Booklist, Starred Review

"Clearly influenced by the great Elmore Leonard, Goldberg puts his own dry comic spin on the material...Clever plotting, a colorful cast of characters, and priceless situations make this comedic crime novel an instant classic." --Kirkus, Starred Review

"As sharp as a straight razor. But a lot more fun. Count me a huge fan." --Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

"Gangsterland is rich with complex and meaty characters, but its greatest strength is that it never pulls a punch, never holds back, and never apologizes for life's absurdities. If this novel were a person, you could ask it for a bookie." --Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The Fifth Assassin

"Tod Goldberg is a one-of-a-kind writer, and this is his best novel to date. Harrowing, funny, wise, and heretical, Gangsterland is everything a thriller should be." --T. Jefferson Parker, author of Full Measure

"Tod Goldberg has long been one of the most interesting writers around, and Gangsterland is his biggest and best book so far." --Thomas Perry

"With his eye for human detail and trademark wit, as dry as a desert breeze, Tod Goldberg charts Sal Cupertine's unlikely transition from stone-cold mob hitman to Las Vegas rabbi. This tale of witness relocation-by-mob--part Elmore Leonard, part Theatre of the Absurd--is a compelling examination of salvation, which comes in various guises and moves in elusive ways. A wholly unique tale from a wholly unique voice." --Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Look Back

"Infinitely readable, infinitely funny, and infinitely better than anything else you'll read this year!" --Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries and the basis for A&E's hit series Longmire

"Just when you thought the mafia novel was dead, Tod Goldberg breathes new life into it. Gangsterland, the best mafia novel in years, is a dark, funny, and smart page-turning crime story. It's also a moving, thoughtful meditation on ethics, religion, family, and a culture that eats itself. I loved this book." --Sara Gran, author of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway

"Gangsterland is Tod Goldberg at the height of his hilarious and incisive and hell-bent powers as a writer of who we are and what we thought we wanted and how we tried to stay alive in America--if we were insanely funny and contemplative hit men. No one does Vegas, the desert, money, and mayhem like Goldberg. I stayed up six nights in a row reading, unable to put this book down because I couldn't wait to see how he'd play each card." --Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here

"Let's get this part out of the way: Gangsterland is a thriller and provides a crackling good read for any fan of the genre. But the truth is, to call this book merely a thriller is inaccurate. It's also a whip-smart comedy, a sublime morality play, and a gleefully blasphemous investigation of what and why we worship. There's something for everyone here. Just make sure you set aside a good chunk of time, because once you start reading you won't want to stop." --Ron Currie, Jr., author of God is Dead

"Brilliant find Tod Goldberg delivers a successful thriller with his Gangsterland. It is a story that reminds us of the better work of the late Elmore Leonard, full of witty dialogue and brilliant plot twists." --de Volkskrant (The Netherlands)

"Phenomenon of the week. An heir to Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler. The most original, exciting and funny crime novel." --de Standaard (Belgium)