In these ten seductive stories, readers encounter the ruthless, vulnerable people who inhabit resort cities, along with their misdemeanors and felonies. A mobster hides out in Las Vegas posing as a rabbi; a casino cocktail waitress adopts a Russian teen in an attempt to outrun her loneliness; a disturbed husband sets up a Starbucks in his living room; a retired sheriff looks for his first wife’s remains in the Salton Sea. Vibrant, moving, and often profound, Other Resort Cities is Goldberg at his best.
“This collection gleefully introduces uninitiated readers into Goldberg’s richly comic voice and his continued preoccupation with our potential for violence and self-deception…What Goldberg taps into most beautifully is the impulse to retreat from the chaotic complexity of the world, the ubiquitous temptation to inhabit the pristine model-home lives of our dreams.” Los Angeles Times
“Tod Goldberg is a gifted writer, a surveyor of the soul, and Other Resort Cities is powerful fiction. He catches his characters at moments of great stress, then reveals their depths to us with compelling insight and great empathy. He sure as hell knows the details that convince. These are inventive and fresh stories that might have been merely clever in lesser hands, but Goldberg’s talent and compassion extends dignity even to the most fucked-up and misbegotten lives.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of The Death of Sweet Mister and Winter’s Bone.
“In his second collection of short fiction, Tod Goldberg delivers ten seductive stories that target the traumatic reality of failed dreams and the struggle to make amends with the past. Each kinetic story pulses and pops with authenticity.” —NewPages
“Darkly funny and ferociously readable, Other Resort Cities is a book you’ll want to spend your entire holiday reading. Because of the subtle crime plots that give each story momentum, Goldberg’s book doubles as an ideal choice for mystery-lovers.” —Tucson Weekly
“There’s something about a resort vacation that makes you appreciate home. For the characters living in the getaway destinations of Tod Goldberg’s latest collection, Other Resort Cities, leaving home is a desperate imperative. A Chicago hit man hides in Las Vegas, where 15 years later he’s a respected rabbi of a money-laundering temple. Trouble is, he wants out of all of it–the mafia, faux Judaism and especially Vegas. “Mitzvah” indeed. A cuckolded father abducts his children and ends up squatting in model homes, and another deserted husband converts his gated-community home into a Starbucks. Bad decisions come as naturally to Goldberg’s characters as his incisive wit is a natural part of his storytelling.” —Time Out Chicago
“Menace and mayhem brew beneath the finely crafted surface of these magnetic short stories of American mania and despair. Goldberg draws on his crime-fiction chops (Living Dead Girl, 2002) to portray refugees from failed attempts at middle-class normalcy seeking freedom and revenge in the overdeveloped deserts of the American West. Goldberg’s disgruntled characters get up to no good in Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and various gated communities just begging for defilement. A lonely, no-longer-young cocktail waitress struggles to understand her missing Russian adopted daughter. A former sheriff and cancer survivor returns to the strange, toxic, devouring Salton Sea, where he lost his first wife. A man converts his fancy home into a Starbucks after the disappearance of his second wife, and one wonders just how insane he truly is. Goldberg pulls out all the stops in “Mitzvah,” a tale about an ersatz rabbi and a temple-centered money- and body-laundering scheme. A divorced father kidnaps his kids; a family is found slain on a mountain. These are eerie, obliquely compassionate, darkly humorous, and ensnaring stories of misery and catharsis.” —Booklist
“Tod Goldberg’s stories are not like faceted jewels. They are like glinting barbed wire, actually, roped across the field where you are reading, racing, wondering what’s next, and then pierced with longing, regret, or revelation. His new collection kept me reading like that – racing to find out what would happen next to these people only Tod Goldberg could create.” —Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moonand A Million Nightingales