The rambling plot of Lange’s second crime novel will remind many of the work of Elmore Leonard. Desperate to escape her life as the caged mistress of violent Mexican drug lord Rolando, Luz plans carefully and waits for her moment. Preparation and ruthlessness let her vanish with a backpack full of money, leaving the corpses of two of Rolando’s faithful employees in her wake. By the time Luz is missed, she has arranged to be ferried into the U.S. by Malone, a self-destructive drunk. Enraged, Rolando has “El Apache” retrieved from a Mexican prison and orders the reluctant criminal to use his American citizenship to follow Luz to the States and drag her back to Rolando. As an extra incentive, Rolando makes it clear that El Apache’s wife and child will pay the price for failure. More polished than his first novel, This Wicked World, Lange’s follow-up marks him as a crime novelist to watch. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (May)
PRAISE FOR ANGEL BABY:"
The plot explodes.... You know you're in the hands of a real writer."
Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review"
Opens with a trigger-snap of trouble and blasts forward with the propulsive force of a bullet and never stops moving."
Benjamin Percy, Esquire"
Thrilling and cinematic, told as one long chase scene."
Christian DuChateau, CNN"
A fast-paced thrill ride."
Cameron Martin, Daily Beast"
One lean, tough novel. Lange's prose is sharp throughout and his pacing moves with the momentum of rolling thunder."
Derek Hill, Mystery Scene"
A rising star.... Lange embraces classic noir in all its violence, bleakness, and dark humor. He makes readers care about his flawed characters and appreciate the odds that were stacked against them by the circumstances of their upbringing. A film waiting to happen, this book boasts memorable characters, evocative settings, and a suspenseful plot."
A forceful read....Richard Lange's gripping novel is full of compelling characters, including a manipulative Mexican drug lord, a treacherous hit man, and sleazy border opportunists, but at the heart of this fast-moving story is Luz."
-Don Mann, author of Inside SEAL Team Six"
Angel Baby starts off in a sprint and never slows down. Richard Lange is a natural-born storyteller. What an excellent novel, both suspenseful and surprisingly moving."
-Ron Rash, author of The Cove"
This novel should come with a warning....The sentences flash like switchblades, the chapters rattle off like gunfire. Make all the comparisons you like Cormac McCarthy, Dennis Lehane, Martin Scorsese but Richard Lange is a force of his own, the high standard for crime fiction."
-Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon"
Richard Lange has a PhD in badass, and in Angel Baby he leads the reader through every can't-look, can't-look-away corner of treachery and sleaze, violence and danger. Lange stands out as the greatest young crime writer of his generation, precisely because he doesn't write crime-he writes literature."
-Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight"
Angel Baby is a bone-crushing nightmare parable: bad people doing the wrong things for love."
-Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine
A rising star in neonoir, Lange follows up his 2009 novel, This Wicked World, with a sharply calibrated and affecting tale about a young Mexican beauty who will do anything to reclaim the baby daughter she left in Los Angeles. The woman, Luz, survived a hard upbringing in Tijuana only to fall under the control of an abusive Mexican drug lord, Rolando, aka "El Principe." After going to great lengths to convince him she is devoted to him, she sneaks off with a pile of his money, killing two of his household staff with his gun. She hires Malone, an American who makes a living smuggling Mexicans across the border, to drive her to California. They are quickly pursued by Jerónimo, a one-time LA gang member whom Rolando springs from a Tijuana prison to bring back Luz, and Thacker, a corrupt U.S. Border Patrol agent. Jerónimo, a reformed soul whose wife and daughter are being held by Rolando until he returns with Luz, strikes an uneasy alliance with the slovenly, unreformed Thacker: He'll get Luz, and the border cop will get the money. Malone, who is haunted by memories of seeing his own little girl run over by a car, becomes committed to Luz. The twisting plot thickens when Rolando orders Jerónimo to bring back Luz's child as well. Unlike most such stories, this book is driven not by greed or revenge but by parenthood, and Lange doesn't subscribe to the usual moral checks and balances. In all other ways, however, he embraces classic noir in all its violence, bleakness and dark humor. He makes readers care about his flawed characters and appreciate the odds that were stacked against them by the circumstances of their upbringing. A film waiting to happen, this book boasts memorable characters, evocative settings and a suspenseful plot.