Sensitive Skin Books is proud to present THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIE, a noir/mystery/crime novel/comedy/satire of late-stage capitalism, as seen through the eyes of a real estate agent in Marin County, who accidentally becomes a hard-boiled detective.
The novel takes place in Marin County, CA, 2008, just before the bubble burst. Once the home to the Grateful Dead, Gary Snyder and Sam Shepard, the newer demographic tends toward hedge fund managers, dotcom millionaires and trophy wives, where people, without any sense of irony, paste “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper stickers on their gigantic SUVs. Despite widespread affluence, conspicuous consumption and a massive sense of entitlement, there is an undercurrent of fear among the residents—of a downturn causing them to lose it all, their kids drinking or taking drugs (or murdering an Italian policeman while on vacation in Europe), of falling behind their neighbors, of getting found out—behind every great fortune is a great crime. Marin Gothic.
The protagonist (and unreliable first-person narrator) is Rick Davies, a dissipated, ethically challenged (yet somehow charming) “hard-boiled” real estate agent who, while preparing an estate sale, stumbles across an old crime scene. A longtime fan of mystery novels, he decides to take on “the case.” Or does he? Is there even a case, or is it just his imagination? Along the way, while unconsciously imitating classic noir characters, he tools around in his Basic Marin Wheels (yes, that’s what they call BMWs), getting into one jam after another, all the while spinning yarns and making derisive social commentary. Every tall tale he tells—essentially everything that occurs in the book, aside from the main plot—actually happened.
“Meisler’s unconventional mystery is brisk and generally funny….An enjoyably off-kilter whodunit with an ethically compromised amateur detective.”
“Do you hate mysteries with an original voice, a sense of humor, scintillating prose and memorable characters? Then by all means, avoid THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIE by Bernard Meisler. And don’t feel bad that everyone else is enjoying the hell out of it.”
—Peter Blauner, New York Times bestselling author of PROVING GROUND and SLOW MOTION RIOT
“Imagine Norm from Cheers, everyone’s best buddy, playing a poker game with Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson and Chester Himes. Finally, after 20 years, Norm shows his hand. THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIE by Bernard Meisler is a full house! Don’t lose out!”
—Andrew Huebner, author of AMERICAN BY BLOOD and WE PIERCE
“Loads of fun. The voice is spot on, Meisler clearly knows the world he’s writing about, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny on practically every page.”
—Kenneth Wishnia, award-winning author of 23 SHADES OF BLACK and THE FIFTH SERVANT, editor of JEWISH NOIR
“THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIE is dark, twisted, and often hilarious. A fantastic mystery with comedic elements, this novel is perfect on every level. A must read.”
—Tony DuShane, author of CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE JESUS JERK and host of the long-running Drinks With Tony podcast.
“In the tradition of T.C. Boyle, Denis Johnson, and Don Winslow, Bernard Meisler dares to build his quirky, genre-stretching murder mystery around a somewhat flawed (okay, deeply flawed) protagonist — in other words, an actual human being. Rick is a Marin County real estate agent, which is bad enough, but Rick also steals from clients, uses morphine, drinks way too much, and may or may not have accidentally killed his pal with a batch of poisoned cocaine. Whoops! Fasten your seatbelt for a savage satire of America’s richest and weirdest locale in the era of late-stage capitalism.”
—Dan Lyons, author of LAB RATS and DISRUPTED
“Meisleresque, let me be the first to coin the phrase for riveting, subversive, hilarious, suspenseful, trenchant. My only complaint about THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO DIE is it ends too soon. When I finished it, without thinking I began it again.”
—Arthur Nersesian, author of THE FUCK-UP and GLADYSS OF THE HUNT.
“Hollywood execs roll wheelbarrows stacked with bars of gold bullion into the offices of people like Bernard just to listen in on their writer’s rooms–why this actually hasn’t happened to Mr. Meisler is one of the great tragedies of American Comedy. In the 30-odd years I’ve known him, he has continually amazed me with his unparalleled comic inventiveness. Open these pages, read his words and you will clearly see the laughter needed in American life.”
—Darius H. James, author of NEGROPHOBIA
“The best satire about Mill Valley since McFadden’s, The Serial. Many have tried and many have failed, but Meisler hits Marin County’s quirky nails smack in the head with his hard-boiled real estate agent’s noir-cynicism. Filled with homages and insider snarks, I laughed on damn near every page. Meisler will either get Mill Valley’s acclaim or he’ll get run out of town.”
—J. Macon King, publisher of MillValleyLit.com
white paper | 6" x 9" | pgs. | ISBN: 978-0-9961570-9-4 | $15.95 | release date: October 15, 2019