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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost!

Book Review

The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost
Publisher: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Format: Paperback - 340 pages
               Kindle - 997 KB
               Nook - 291 KB
ISBN: 978-1643962535
BNID: 2940161031155
Genre: Crime / Mystery

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

“She wasn’t pretty but she was ours…”

Sandwiched between seedy businesses in the scorching east LA suburb of Glendale, The Damned Lovely dive bar is as scarred as its regulars: ex-cops, misfits and loners. And for Sam Goss, it’s a refuge from the promising life he’s walked away from, a place to write and a hole to hide in.

But when a beautiful and mysterious new patron to the bar turns up murdered, Sam can’t stop himself from getting involved. Despite their fleeting interaction, or perhaps because of it, something about her ghost won’t let go…

Armed with the playbook from the burned-out ex-cops, Sam challenges the police’s theory on the killing, butting heads with hardened detectives and asking questions nobody wants to answer. As his obsession takes hold so does his sense of purpose—as if uncovering the truth about the killer might heal some part of his own broken life. But the chase sets him on a collision course with a crooked charity, violent fundamentalists, corrupt cops, brazen embezzlers and someone dangerously close to home—all who want to make sure the truth never comes out.

Praise for The Damned Lovely:

“The Damned Lovely is the LA crime story born anew, an addictive mystery and a love letter to the careworn and forgotten places of Los Angeles—Los Angeles as it is right now. Adam Frost is a crime writer with a sharp new voice, telling a tale about the one thing everyone in Los Angeles has: desire. Desire for truth, for justice, for love, or maybe just a place to call home. Highly recommended.”

Jordan Harper, Edgar Award-winning author of She Rides Shotgun

“Frost’s crackling debut novel belongs on the shelf right next to Joseph Wambaugh and Michael Connelly. Crisp prose. An intricate plot worthy of Raymond Chandler, packed with scruffy, lovable, and lived-in characters that leap off the page. Frost brings a fresh voice and much-needed new blood to LA crime fiction.”

Will Beall, author of L.A. Rex and creator of CBS’s Training Day

“An unputdownable and suspenseful whodunnit: anchored in the quandary of manifesting destiny in grief and lost opportunity.”

Blake Howard, producer and host of the One Heat Minute podcast and Film Critic

“Every bourbon-soaked sentence in this endlessly entertaining first novel proves Joseph Wambaugh dipped Adam Frost by his ankle into the L.A. river. Roll over Michael Connelly, tell Raymond Chandler the news.”

Adam Novak, author of Rat Park and Take Fountain

Book Excerpt:

I took a sip and checked my phone. Waiting for the screen to siiiing. Praying. Hoping.

She held her ground and I lost the fight.

The empty telephone. Reminding me, I had no excuses. To be in a better place. To be successful.

I was an American.

I was white.

I grew up safe and surrounded by love.

There was money for birthday parties and proper schools.

I had a college degree in communications.

I’d traveled to Southeast Asia. Seen Europe. Touched down in South Africa. I had a sweet girl who liked to cook and wanted a ring. We had an apartment in West Hollywood with good light.

I’d found a marketing gig early and wrote ad copy for seven years. Logos. Corporate promos. Internet ribbons. Microcopy drawl. Quippy garbage that paid the rent and then some.

I was on the right track.

Until I broke. Crashed the cart and pulled the plug on my world of California lies.

Staring into those smiling faces across a Doheny dinner table one night.

The masquerade of happiness.

The Instagram sham.

There was no substance. No truth. No intent for anything more than gain.

I had sealed the truth for years. Locked and bottled that depression south, convinced I could kick it. Convinced the gnaw would pass.

Things are great, I kept saying. Things are great.

But something about those faces on that very Doheny night popped the cork and shattered the glass. I called it out. I let it rip ugly. These weren’t my friends. They were assets. Nothing more.

This wasn’t love. This was compliance on rails.

I needed something pure. Something with purpose and mine all mine. That I truly adored.

So I quit the girl who liked to cook. Lost the apartment with the light and moved to Glendale. Where it was cheaper. Where there was no good light.

And worst of all. I was compelled by a force inside my bones to write something real. Something long and from the heart. Something maybe even wise.

This, more and more it seemed, may have been a grave mistake.

It was in no way working out.

Still, I refused to believe in misery. An honest rut is all. It’ll turn around soon. It has to. Because when you’re going through hell in Glendale, keep going. Right?

So. Soldier on. Live with intent and drown those voices out.

Drown. Them. Out. Soldier!

Swish. Swish.

A red Trojan alpha bro was swipin’ right at the bar. Americana run off sipping a sea breezer with a skinny lime. Slice and I shared a healthy glare of disdain when Jewels crossed behind me and nodded to stool 9.

“She’s baaaack,” Jewels cooed.

And there she was. Hiding her green eyes under a black felt fedora and a worn-out paperback of To the Lighthouse. She had dark brown hair pinned low at the back. Wore a simple tight white V-neck tee exposing that soft skin around her collarbones. She sat straight. With her legs crossed in black jeans that pinched in at her waist and exposing a band of flawless smooth lower back. She kept her face down. Never spoke to a soul beyond ordering a drink. And never looked at her phone. Not once. Not once had I seen her look at her phone. Instead, she just buried her eyes in that book. Drowning out the world with a Negroni and Woolf’s words like some kinda mystery from a different era. She’d been in four times now by my count. And it was consistent. Early in the afternoon. Same drink. Same book. Alone. Like an oasis in this godforsaken Glendale desert.


Excerpt from The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost. Copyright 2022 by Adam Frost. Reproduced with permission from Adam Frost. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In The Damned Lovely, author Adam Frost transports the reader to Glendale, California, for an intriguing dark noir crime thriller that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

Welcome to The Damned Lovely, a seedy dark dive bar in Glendale, California, that is the home of ex-cops, misfits, and loners. Sam Goss, is one of the misfits that frequents the bar, for the past nine years he's been a down-n-out struggling author and ride share driver living in Glendale, who gave up his promising life and career in marketing writing ad copies for seven years in West Hollywood. Sam fills his days drinking, and trying to write in a back room of the bar he calls "the box" that he rents from Jules, a retired cop and owner of The Damned Lovely. 

The story centers around Sam's amateur sleuth adventure, as he is drawn into investigating the murder of an intriguing bar patron in a black fedora named Josie Pendleton, a twenty-two year old woman who sits at the bar and reads a novel, not talking to any of the other bar patrons. Josie was abducted in Glendale after spending time at the bar, and was found raped and strangled to death in a stolen car by a jogger. Police investigation thinks there is a connection to Josie's murder with two other recent murders of women in their early twenties, a similar MO that could possibly be the work of a serial killer they dub the Glendale Grabber. Sam's interest in Josie leads him to look into her life, and he falls down the rabbit hole into a dangerous investigation that challenges the police's theory of how she died. Sam's obsession in finding the truth into Josie's murder leads him to finding danger around every corner, even in the dark seedy dive bar that has become his second home. Learning that he can't trust anyone, follow along as Sam puts the pieces of the puzzle together and finds out the truth behind Josie's death.

In his debut novel, author Adam Frost weaves a slow-building and suspenseful dark gritty noir tale written in the first person narrative that follows Sam Goss as he investigates the recent murder of twenty-two year old bar patron Josie Pendleton, and is determined to find the truth and seek justice. 

The reader is easily drawn into this riveting dark noir crime story with its richly descriptive plot. It is filled with enough drama, secrets, motives, possible suspects, and intriguing twists and turns that definitely keeps the reader guessing until the surprising conclusion.

This was a really intriguing story to read! Sam takes the readers along on his investigation with daily journal style chapters within a three month timeline from Monday, July 6th to Tuesday, October 20th. The story provides a fascinating cast of characters, a dive bar deep with history and character, enough clues to engage the reader, suprising twists and turns, and danger around every corner, especially when there are people who don't want the truth to come out. I found myself so caught up on following Sam's investigative pursuit of putting the pieces of the puzzle together and solving Josie's murder, while also learning the pasts of Sam and the other bar patrons, it's like a bar full of broken and down-n-out people that form a tight little bar family. Through Sam's obsessive investigation, he learns valuable life lessons as the truth is uncovered. I was absolutely stunned by the conclusion! 

The Damned Lovely will definitely take the readers on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.


About The Author

Adam Frost was born and raised in Vancouver. He began as an actor, and now works as a television writer and producer, best known for the crime shows Tribal and Castle. He lives on the east side of Los Angeles. He’s also one helluva T-ball coach.

Contest Giveaway

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Adam Frost. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Participants:

08/30 Showcase @ Nesies Place
09/01 Interview @ I Read What You Write
09/05 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
09/07 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
09/08 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
09/12 Guest post @ Novels Alive
09/19 Review @ Melissa As Blog
09/20 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
09/21 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
09/21 Review @ Feliciaisbooked
09/22 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
09/22 Showcase @ Lisa-Queen Of Random
09/23 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
10/17 Podcast interview @ Blog Talk Radio
10/17 Review @ Just Reviews