Ami Silber

Ami Silber



Louis will sell you your dreams—he’ll ply you with promises while he charms you out of your money, but promises are all you’ll get. Those dreams will never come true.

From the black jazz clubs on Central Avenue in Watts, to the tidy homes of the war widows he cons, Louis Greenberg lives life on the outside. No matter how charming and passionate he is, an outsider he will always be. He is white, a Jew, and that never goes away.

It is 1948. An impulsive, irrevocable decision has led to Louis’ permanent exile from his family back in New York. Six years later, his father’s disappointment still haunts him. Living a fractured, confusing life in Los Angeles, Louis moves between worlds. By day he is a c-man, artfully conning the relatives of men killed in action in World War II out of their cash, preying upon their memories and pain. By night he enters the only world where he is truly alive. In the all-black underground clubs of L.A. he nurtures his passion for bebop, listening to and playing cutting-edge jazz. Here he is still an outsider, but he has won acceptance—to a point. Here, he meets the woman he loves, but can never truly have, in the segregated world of the forties.

As Louis navigates the treacherous waters of jazz and women, passion and cynicism, he will try for one big con to put his troubled life to rights—but the many dissonant threads of past and present will come together, ensnaring him in a web of his own making. Ami Silber’s poignant and memorable debut novel has an unforgettable protagonist—Louis will pull you into his world and his voice will stay with you long after his story ends.



"...Silber delivers a captivating downhill ride through the alleys and clubs of LA’s 1948 bebop scene, crafting a fascinating antihero..."
--Publishers Weekly

"Jazz aficionados and historical fiction fans alike will relish Silber's exciting slice of Americana.... Readers who enjoy gritty, naturalistic fiction will also be pleased by the book, which pulls no punches in its examination of racism, patriotism, and capitalism in America...Silber's debut definitely stands out from the pack."
-- Library Journal

"A striking debut full of vividness and verve. What a treat for the reader to experience the multilayered world of 1940s Los Angeles through Ami Silber’s sharp eyes and ears."
--Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, author of
Madeleine is Sleeping

"I’m in absolute awe of Ami Silber’s ability to evoke a world so fully and completely, a world that lives viscerally on these pages in all its grit and lust and pain. An utterly compelling read: sexy, wrenching, complex, and hair-raisingly real."
--Thisbe Nissen, award-winning author of
Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night