This Wicked World: A Novel
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This Wicked World: A Novel

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Elmore Leonard meets Denis Johnson in this explosive first novel set on the seedy side of Southern California.



Ex-marine Jimmy Boone-former bodyguard to Los Angeles's rich and famous-is fresh out of Corcoran, on parole, and trying to keep his nose clean until he figures out his next move. He has a job tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard, serving drinks to tourists, and is de...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2009)
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James Thane
Jimmy Boone is an ex-Marine and an ex-con who made a mistake and paid the price, although it takes a while for the reader to learn exactly what the mistake was. Now he's out on parole, checking in with his P.O. and trying to stay out of trouble. To support himself, he's managing a small apartment complex and tending bar on Hollywood Boulevard.

One night Robo, the bouncer at the bar, asks Jimmy to help him with a small problem. Robo does favors for people and is meeting with the grandfather of an...more
Tony
Lange, Richard. THIS WICKED WORLD. (2009). ****. This is the author’s first novel, after a previously published book of short stories, “Dead Boys.” His first book was highly acclaimed and won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prepublication buzz on this book has also been heavy, with lots of rave reviews. The novel tells the story of Jimmy Boone, a former bodyguard now on parole from a four year stint in prison for beating up on a man he should...more
Patrick O'Neil
It's hard to write a mystery novel these days. The idea of a private detective in 2009 looking for a client's lost loved one being so obscure and unbelievable that I'd immediately dismiss it as the writer being out of touch with reality. It's just not 1940 and tough guys like Philip Marlowe aren't running around drinking hard and chasing dames and getting in the way of flat foot cops. At best private security firms do Internet background checks, surveillance, corporate espionage, and occasionall...more
Adam
Richard Lange’s debut novel is character driven literary crime novel influenced by Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos. Like those two masters’ originality and complexity of plot isn’t the name of the game, its characters. Stretching out to handle a novel Lange looses some of the focus of his short stories but retains his grasp on L.A. and its surreal surroundings and his subtle sense of humor. Some descriptions and in some character’s background his imagination really unfurls. The pit bull bree...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim
I was mildly surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. I had picked it up for no particular reason. It was a pretty solid thriller. Protagonist Jimmy Boone, former con, former Marine, and current bartender was a very likable character. Boone saves a dog from a dying kid in which Dog was badly mistreated. Boone sets out to find out what happened to Dog's former owner Oscar for himself and also Oscar's Grandfather. Boone finds himself in an almost relationship with one of his neighbors, n...more
Chris
A story of redemption with many pauses and detours. Fast paced, riveting read. Author skillfully takes disparate and ordinary individuals and brings them together in a violent but satisfying finale. Boone, the protagonist, is a noble and selfless character who even when he does the right thing seems to suffer adverse consequences- but still he soldiers on and you, the reader, just want good things to happen for him.
Susan
Wow. I read most of this in one sitting. While Jimmy Boone is probably not everyones idea of hero - he does all the wrong things for the right reasons - I thought he was great. His moral compass puts him in very unethical situations, but he definately follows his instincts. I'm hoping this is not the last we see of him.
Marina
I told Miguel that I wanted to read more mysteries, to break up the non-fiction I usually read and to make my commute go by faster. I am about 2/3 of the way through this one now and I can't say it's great, or even good, but since it's a mystery I want to see what happens so I'll keep reading. I wouldn't recommend it though.
Sheri
I debated hard on this between a 2 and a 3 star rating. It is fairly well written (at least not in need of an editor and flowed well) and was a compelling enough story. That said, there really aren't any literary merits and there are a few conveniences and just sloppy plot points.

First, the whole Virgil, Boone, Taggart connection was just too convenient. LA is a very big area with lots and lots of people. Boone should not (and plot-wise did not need to) run into Virgil prior to meeting him out...more
Michael
This is another book that was written by someone I was unfamiliar with but picked up at the library on the basis of a good review. I found Richard Lange's writing very similar to T. Jefferson Parker's who I think is very good. Both writ a gritty, realistic crime stories with interesting characters. This Wicked World, Like most of Parker's books takes place in southern California and is dead accurate in capturing the atmosphere and locations of the cties and desert areas there.
This Wicked World's...more
Ice
Jan 16, 2013 Ice added it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Interesting first novel by a very talented writer. As with so many mysteries, the scenery tends to creak at times. This was jarringly evident in this book. Main charater Jimmy Boone holds up a bar and beats and humiliates the owner AFTER showing the guy behind the bar his ID. Then he doesn’t give it a second thought, not worrying that one of the guys might remember his name and address and come to find him to even the score. It was only a minor part of the plot to Lange, so he drops it like it d...more
David
I bought this from Alibris, my usual used book seller because I had just read the rave reviews for Mr. Lange's new book Angel Baby and as is my modus operandi (with music as well) I decided to go back in his catalog and see how his style started off and developed.
This Wicked World is a slightly off-forumulaic LA crime novel. Fallen good-guy does the right thing, offends and partially loses the good girl while roaming through the LA barrio, the High Desert and the bars and streets of LA. The wri...more
Ben Brackett
This isn't a terrible book, but extremely disappointing in how none of the style or tone from Lange's short stories is present here. Basically, its a very mediocre and un-noteworthy novel.
Quinn
The story starts out interesting, but fizzles out in the end.
David
This was a pretty good crime novel. Kind of along the lines of an Elmore Leonard. I sought it out after reading Dead Boys and this captured some of the best of his short stories. Guys putting themselves in trouble and working to get out.
Tom
This book was definitely a page-turner and good for the airport/beach but ultimately not a "great" book. The characters were sort of cliche'd and the plot a little predictable, but that might just be me. I also had to force myself to keep reading through certain portions of the book; never a good sign. However, "This Wicked World" is a great start for the author's first full-length novel and I would definitely be interested in reading future novels by Richard Lange.
Jimmie
Jul 31, 2011 Jimmie added it
Shelves: los-angeles
I'm not going to assign this book a star rating because I don't know that I can be fair. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped, but that's mostly my fault. I shouldn't have started reading it right before I was set to start looking at apartments. It took me over a month to finish, what with apartment-hunting, work, packing, moving, unpacking.

I'm going to read his other book, "Dead Boys," soon, and based on how that goes, I might consider re-reading this one.
Ron
Given its good reviews, I was a little disappointed in This Wicked World. Every so often a really talented writer peeks out of World, but most often we are given solid, above-average detective fiction that seeks to stay gritty but can't. One senses that Lange is too eager to please conventional crime-writing sensibilities. I'll definitely give his next novel the once-over on the shelves; there's good writing in Lange.
Casey
This doesn't stand up to Lange's collection, Dead Boys, but it's a solid crime novel. The characters are really well written - both "good" guys and "bad" - but at times the action gets a bit too Hollywood-y for my taste. A fun, entertaining read, nonetheless.

I saw that Lange has new novel forthcoming later this year (or early next) so I'll be sure to read it when it comes out.
Andrea
This is a story about Jimmy Boone - He is an ex con trying to get back on his feet. He was a body guard to the rich and famous making lots of money before he went to prison. Now he works in a bar and manages an apartment complex. He gets involved with a group of really bad characters when a friend asks him to look into a death from infected dog bites....I loved the characters.
Cynthia
I wish I would have read this book first. I would have been more prepared for his writing style, plot and characters when i read his second book. More down and out good guys and bad guys. Drugs, guns and money. I did like this book more and if you are going to try this author-read this book first.
Robyn
The story was compelling but the nearly 20 pages of vivid detailed dog fighting and animal abuse were too much Not to mention the female characters were vapid and no way in hell she 180s like that at the end. Story was good just too many things to detract from getting more stars
Coki
Meh - besides the dog stuff making me cry the rest of this novel felt like it was pieced together from other - superior - materials. A little bit of Lee Child, a dash of Elmore Leonard, a soupcon of Kem Nunn. The sum was not greater than the parts.
Jen Powers
I loved the book! I tend to struggle to finish a book but this one had me drawn in from the beginning! I personally could read this one over again and find it to be just as good and fun to read as the first time.
Kyle
This Wicked World was a good story, a little predictable at times, but still a good book that kept a good pace. The end felt a little rushed or tied up too neatly, but I like Lange's style.
Joseph
Gritty, seedy and a bit unnerving at times. The story is fantastic and I would suggest this book to others. Richard Lange has done a wonderful job and I look forward to more of his work.
Candace
Not as gritty and colorful as Michael Connelly or Raymond Chandler. But it seems like he's trying to achieve those heights. Promising set up but the end seems contrived.
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704352
Author of Sweet Nothing, Angel Baby, This Wicked World, and Dead Boys.
More about Richard Lange...
Angel Baby Dead Boys: Stories Must Come Down Sweet Nothing: Stories Bull: Men's Fiction #4

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