High Life - one of the most brutal Los Angeles crime novels ever written
Obsessed with celebrity gossip magazines and Entertainment TV, Jack moves to Los Angeles hoping to become a TV presenter. But, like a million others before him, he finds that dreams can die a slow death in the City of Angels. Two years later, working in a donut store and married to Karen, a prostitute who cares little for him, he figures he's destined for life's scrapheap.
But when Karen is found murdered - dumped in a drainage ditch and eviscerated - Jack is forced by this violent crime to reject the mainstream, workaday Californian world, and begin a journey through the underbelly of Hollywood as he pursues his twin goals of becoming a celebrity and finding Karen's killer.
In this neo-noir nightmare, Jack works as a hustler, turning tricks on the street and in the homes of the Hollywood wealthy, all the time trying to stay one step ahead of Ryan, a rogue cop intent on framing him for Karen's murder.
At a party for filmdom's elite, Jack meets Bella, a beautiful woman wealthy enough to make his TV dreams come true. But there's something about Bella and her ex-surgeon father that isn't quite right, something dark and sexual and drenched in blood. Something that might just unlock the secret of Karen's murder.
Matthew Stokoe's High Life takes Los Angeles noir to another level. Fans of mysteries and thrillers, and aficionados who like their crime fiction violent and sexy will find more than they bargained for in this dark masterpiece.
"Stokoe's in-your-face prose and raw, unnerving scenes give way to a skillfully plotted tale that will keep readers glued to the page."
"High Life shows an author of awesome ability..."
“...Chandler on heroin, Hammett on crack, James M. Cain with a blowtorch..."
-Ken Bruen, author of The Guards
"All of the classic ingredients of Californian noir are here, but Stokoe takes things further than most . . . The plot is skilfully worked, the elements of crime writing are not jettisoned in the mounting horrors that he describes. There's also a certain grim humour on display, at times it is impossible not to laugh, even when Stokoe is making us wallow in filth. One can't help but feel that he's enjoying himself immensely . . . This is a compelling and gripping novel."
-Black Star Reviews
"Stokoe proves himself a worthy heir to the great tradition of California noir. Brutal and unflinching in its depiction of violence and sex, his book is like an unholy hybrid of Raymond Chandler's best work and Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho."
-Henry Flesh, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Massage