Joe Hustle

A Novel


By Richard Lange

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$38.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 25, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

From an award-winning author, a lean and gritty, thoughtful and nuanced” neo-noir. Joe Hustle has never had much luck—but things start looking up when he meets an intriguing new woman and scores a rare windfall. Can he outrun disaster long enough to turn things around? (Michael Koryta, author of An Honest Man)
Joe Hustle is a survivor. An Iraq War vet and ex-con always one stumble away from catastrophe, he manages to scrape together enough money from various jobs to eke out a precarious existence on the darker fringes of Los Angeles. When he meets Emily, the black-sheep daughter of a wealthy family, the two spark an instant connection—she seems like the best thing to happen to him in a while.
But their whirlwind romance is put to the test when what starts out as a simple favor for a friend leaves Joe homeless, unemployed, and on the wrong side of a vengeful drug dealer. An impulsive offer to go on a road trip with Emily promises to take them out of harm’s way—but may only lead to more chaos.
Part hard-boiled love story, part thriller, part portrait of a tormented yet resilient soul, Joe Hustle ratchets up the tension as it rockets from the after-hours clubs and dive bars of the mean streets of L.A. to the mansions of the Hollywood Hills and, finally, to the desolate highways of the Southwest. What emerges is a gritty portrait of a man who may be down but can never be counted out.

  • “For years, Richard Lange has quietly climbed into the upper reaches of contemporary American noir. The leanly written Joe Hustle solidifies his stature. Joe Hustle—he’s been called that for so long he barely remembers his real name—is a middle-aged man about to embark on a desperate adventure with no good ending in sight."
    Sarah Weinman, New York Times Book Review
  • "Joe Hustle may be the best novel yet from the always reliable Lange: a harrowing and occasionally hilarious character study in resilience. This is a home run."
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • "Lange describes a sunset with wind that is 'hot and pushy. Black clouds limned with moonglow roll in.' Later, 'a persistent orange glow keeps the stars at bay.' This eloquence stands in stark contrast to the story detailing the state of the counterculture in Southern California, a sad world of idlers, stoners, and parasites, pessimism and depression. Joe Hustle is in this world but not totally of it . . . The uproar in the last quarter of this hard-knocks, atmospheric tale offers hope, however tentative and half-hidden."
    Don Crinklaw, Booklist
  • "The latest novel by a first-rate storyteller refusing to be pigeonholed . . . Lange is best known for cuttingly funny novels about killers, dealers, and con men . . . Here, though not without an assortment of bad deaths, he returns to the romantic mode of The Smack (2017), with a beautifully toned-down story about a pair of mismatched characters who win our sympathy not in spite of their doing and saying dumb things, but because they just can’t help it. It’s a real pleasure to read."
    Kirkus Reviews (starred)
  • "Lange returns with a memorable gritty neo-noir . . . Lange is so adept at drawing his two main characters that readers won’t mind the relative lack of plot twists; the real suspense comes from seeing Joe Hustle skate by one more time.”
    Michael Pucci, Library Journal
  • “What’s a classic noir without a troubled dame at its heart? Joe Hustle inhabits the shadow world of the Los Angeles fringe. When he meets Emily—beautiful, rich and the black sheep of her family—he falls hard. Joe runs into trouble with a drug dealer, and the young lovers flee on a desperate road trip. Lange, known for his hard-boiled mysteries, has penned a dangerous noir romance.”
    Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times
  • “Joe Hustle is named for a screw-up, a guy who can turn an innocent favor into disaster, a reasonable request into an endless series of crises and a simple road trip into a ride from hell. But he’s charming, somehow and you forgive him and then things go really wrong.”
    Michael Glitz, Parade
  • Joe Hustle is downright brilliant—delightfully dark, deeply poetic, and a little bit heartbreaking. Richard Lange’s novel is a masterclass noir filled with the twisted souls and grisly pleasures of down-and-out Los Angeles. I goddamned loved it.”
    Ivy Pochoda, author of Sing Her Down
  • “Lange is Shakespeare with a shank. His writing comes straight from noir’s obsidian heart, and it cuts to the bone. This novel is a dark love song, a long poem about being so damn low you can walk under a snake. Each line Lange writes is a firecracker, and Joe Hustle is a whole lotta dynamite.”
    Gabino Iglesias, author of The Devil Takes You Home
  • Joe Hustle takes us into a rich, vividly sleazy underworld in the company of a protagonist that we grow to  care about deeply. Richard Lange is one of our very best practitioners of noir, and this book is yet another gem.”
    Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk
  • “Lean and mean. Hard-boiled and hard-hitting. Gritty and noir-y and full of hangdog heart. That’s what this piping hot serving of Angeleno crime fiction is. Richard Lange’s Joe Hustle crawls under your skin and stays there till the last page.”
    Gregg Hurwitz, author of Lone Wolf and the Orphan X novels
  • "Lean and gritty, thoughtful and nuanced, Joe Hustle delivers all the goods, right down to my favorite final page in years. It's a book with the muscle to keep you up all night and the heart to haunt you the next day. I'll read anything Richard Lange writes."
    Michael Koryta, author of An Honest Man
  • "As he spends his life cycling through odd jobs and making questionable life choices, veteran Joe Hustle’s main credo is ‘don’t die.’ A wonderfully bittersweet and darkly humorous tale, Richard Lange’s Joe Hustle is part love story and part recorded memoir of a man whose main goal is to just make it through life alive. Hard to put down and easy to get lost in."
    David Swinson, author of The Second Girl and Sweet Thing
  • Praise for Richard Lange's Rovers:
  • "Want a book that will scare the daylights out of you this weekend? Rovers, by Richard Lange. The best vampire novel I've read since Let the Right One In."
    Stephen King (on Twitter)
  • "Rovers is a lean, mean pulp masterpiece of American horror. I was blown away. Richard Lange is the real deal."
    Joe Hill, author of Locke & Key and Nos4a2
  • “A swift, delicious novel that’s firing on all cylinders . . . The book has a lot going on, with as many settings as characters, propelled by the jet fuel of resentments, assassinations-for-hire, mistakes, and love affairs . . . There are a few amazing fights too . . . Lange balances it all perfectly.”
    Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
  • "Outstanding supernatural noir . . . Evocative prose illuminates the neon-lit world of small-town 1970s America. Lange succeeds brilliantly at combining the vampire and noir traditions."
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Lange has done it again! Another tour de force! Another gripping page-turner! Shifting points-of-view, beautiful language, drama, action, fantasy, pathos—Rovers has it all! And it makes me feel greedy like a vampire (or a rover): I want and need another Richard Lange book right away! Well, I have to be patient and rational: I have his other books to reread and this one, too, which is an utter triumph and delight.”
    Jonathan Ames, author of A Man Named Doll and creator of HBO’s Bored to Death

On Sale
Jun 25, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
Mulholland Books

Richard Lange

About the Author

Richard Lange is the author of the story collections Dead Boys and Sweet Nothing and the novels This Wicked World, Angel Baby, and The Smack. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the International Association of Crime Writers’ Hammett Prize, a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Award, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Los Angeles.

Learn more about this author