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Kept by [Arnold, Jim]
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Length: 181 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

Jim Arnold Biography Jim is the author of the award-winning novels Benediction (2009) and The Forest Dark (2013), as well as the new novel Kept, which launches March, 2016. Additionally, Jim is the author of the feature screenplays Me and Mamie O’Rourke (finalist and Honorable Mention winner, One in Ten Screenplay Contest, 2007), Lovelines (second round finalist, Austin Film Festival 2005), The Lourdes Kelly Story, and Kept (finalist and Honorable Mention Winner, One in Ten Screenplay Contest, 2008). For television, he has written the original hour-drama series and pilot Troll Palace (finalist, pilot category, Exposurama Contest, 2009). Jim also directed the critically-acclaimed documentary short Our Brothers, Our Sons, about generational differences around HIV/AIDS in gay men, (nominated for Best Documentary at the 2002 Turin International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival). Jim has worked extensively as a free-lance journalist and has published in Frontiers, Variety, Prime Health & Fitness, Age Appropriate and other periodicals, online and in fiction anthologies. He began his career in musical theatre and holds a BA in journalism and film from Marquette University, and has studied film production/writing in the MFA program for Cinema/TV at the University of Southern California, the Writers Program at UCLA, and at Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco. He blogs at www.jimarnoldcommunications.com. Jim Arnold Communications (www.jimarnoldcommunications.com) provides business to business (B2B) writing services. Jim is a veteran entertainment and non-profits PR executive, having held communications management positions at Paramount Pictures, Dolby Laboratories and the American Lung Association in California.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 737 KB
  • Print Length: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Eureka Street Press; 1 edition (20 Mar. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BA8IYNU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #598,953 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e245538) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9f2c44) out of 5 stars A Great Read!!! 17 Mar. 2016
By John B Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to receive a free advanced copy of “Kept”. It laid on my nightstand for a couple of weeks before I cracked the binding. Then I couldn’t put it down, angry when sleep won out at a critical point in the novel. Its characters are fleshed out and vivid. Palm Springs becomes one of the characters, not just the location. Arnold captures all the nuances of the City. The plot takes you places you didn’t see coming. Betrayals, upon betrayal fill the pages. I personally hate the designation of “LBGT Literature”. Just because characters are gay does not make a book “LBGT”, anymore than “Gone With The Wind” is “Straight Literature”. Soapbox pushed to the side now, these characters all have something of us in them, regardless of our sexual orientation: ambition, love, loathing, greed, loyalty and just a small hint of larceny. Everyone is seeking to improve their lives; they just go about it in rather unconventional ways. I could easily see The Coen Brothers (think “Fargo” in Palm Springs) or Tarantino direct this for the big screen. Thanks to Mr. Arnold for the great read and his fertile imagination.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9f2c98) out of 5 stars No One Survives the Desert Noir 20 Mar. 2016
By Sandra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Strap your seat belts on, we're in for a bumpy ride — scheming, sex, murder, and above all, money, push the riveting and tantalizing narrative of Kept, the new novel by James Arnold. I was lucky enough to receive a free advance copy.
Connor and George, two young gay men, are entwined in a scam and must fight for their lives. Their story is told adroitly through multiple plot lines, where each character proves to be more ruthless than the next. All merge toward one thing: the rustle of dollar bills. Underhanded realtors, chiseled construction workers, boy toys, cut-throat casino heads, tribal Indians and drug dealers — they only differ in their method of attaining, really the attempt to attain, wealth. And it comes with every single cost.
The novel is a cautionary tale and a head-shaker. How can these people validate their actions, their thoughts, their beliefs? And of course, the reader is intrigued, reluctant to break from the book for even a moment.
The catalyst for the escalating suspense is a delusional, career-climbing reporter, who questions why a string of people lost their homes in shady real estate deals. Deception leads to double-crossing; soon people are bumped off — easy in the desolate terrain surrounding Palm Springs.
Of all the tough characters, the author smartly puts the desert, shall we say, dead center. As the strongest, most unforgiving character in the book, the desert always wins; it’s where an abandoned person dies, or a dead body is lost, in minutes. Consider the excruciating heat — with its requisite sun, dirt and wind (“carrying palm fronds for miles”) — which acts oppressively on all those smarmy people, making them squirm as they desperately scratch for the pot of gold, and in that very act push their own stories to an end.
Kept is at once sensual and forbidding, thrilling and frightening. As the author of the award-wining Benediction and The Forest Dark, Mr. Arnold has hit his stride.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e9f30d0) out of 5 stars Noirish tale of the desert 20 Mar. 2016
By SF Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reading Kept is like taking a ride on the bullet train: It’s sleek, fast, and dangerous. Jim Arnold’s story grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up until the desert was littered with bodies, human and otherwise. The twists and turns of the intricate plot lead to a satisfying conclusion, even though it turns out that crime does, after all, pay. And pretty well, too.

The novel is peopled with recognizable denizens of the Palm Springs scene, from hot young men to tribal casino employees, seedy meth dealers to scammy real-estate moguls, down-on-their-luck reporters to hunky Marines from nearby Twentynine Palms, and just about everyone in-between. The author brings Palm Springs to life; those who know the town will recognize dozens of locales, those who don’t may want to pay a visit—or perhaps not.

The desert, its monumental and oppressive presence, looms over the story in a way that reminded me of a sentence from the opening paragraph of Raymond Chandler’s “Red Wind” when he writes of the hot, dry Santa Anas: Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.

Arnold is a talented writer, and though many of his characters are--let’s face it--despicable, he manages to keep them recognizably human, and I found myself rooting for more than one of them to escape unscathed. In truth, no one comes out of the maelstrom of events without scars, but some survive and maybe, in their way, even flourish.

Make no mistake, though: These are bad people who bring to mind the phrase “the banality of evil.” Nobody here is a criminal mastermind, and they’re far too bumbling and inept to be Don Corleone or even Jerry Lundegaard.

I am really glad to have gotten an advance copy of Kept for review. It’s terrific!
HASH(0x8e9f349c) out of 5 stars KEPT kept me reading 20 Mar. 2016
By anna on amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
From the very beginning of this taut, stylized novel, author James Arnold sets us up for what we can tell immediately will be quite a tale. As the prologue opens, Connor Hurst has made his getaway and is furious. He realizes he doesn’t have all the money he theoretically should, given the deal that went down back in Palm Springs, and he’d like nothing better than to do a number on the person who took what’s missing. But who was that? Connor knows and can’t believe he got taken. Author Arnold then takes us back to the weeks leading to that fateful day: Connor works for the Grecos, a married couple who run a home remodeling business in the Coachella Valley, which is not entirely legit. Let’s just say, things usually do not go well for the homeowners the Grecos”work” for, while mixed up in the Grecos’ business are all sorts of fascinating and often self-serving individuals we get to know. At some point people—reporters, various other motley characters-- start to notice, which is when Connor decides to capitalize before the operation gets shut down. But Connor’s family isn’t going to make that entirely easy for him either. His mother has plans for all that money Connor is making—plans having to do with Connor’s brothers. Connor isn’t a bad man, really. But he finds himself in a bad way. He’s into men, women, and pretty much anything else he needs to be into to get ahead and to get the job done, even if it means kissing up to dangerous-looking Rottweilers. Then he meets someone who we know is going to mean something more to him. George is into Connor too, or so Connor thinks. But George is also on the make, trying to escape a life he thinks is beneath him, and out for everything he can get. What we don’t know is how everything is going to play out, but most readers will assume—correctly--that there is going to be fireworks and danger along the way. Arnold delivers on all counts and to say much more about the plot would wreck the reader’s experience.

Of late we’ve had lots of books published in the genre known as Nordic Noir. KEPT fits nicely into the Desert Noir genre, if such a thing exists. Arnold captures so well the heat and desolation of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio and the “Other Desert Cities” including Morongo and its casino. To anyone who has spent time in any of these desert oases, Arnold’s descriptions are right on and I found myself feeling oppressed by the heat while reading my advanced readers copy of this book in February.

KEPT's structure, and particularly its style need to be noted as well. Though the story unfolds via multiple points of view, the tone is clear, consistent and unique—perfect for noir. KEPT doesn’t doesn’t disappoint. Arnold keeps the action and questions going until the end.
HASH(0x8e9f3580) out of 5 stars This was a fun read, I must admit 20 Mar. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a fun read, I must admit. A lower-class, more color-conscious Dynasty in the desert with more back-stabbing and murder than I remember even that show having. Almost no one in this book has a conscience, which is a bit unbelievable, but then all the killing is, too. This is an easy read, pulp noir set in modern day Palm Springs, good for the poolside or as amusement in the doctor’s office waiting room. Mr. Arnold paints a vivid picture, takes you through the story easily, and introduces a host of characters that I thought I would have trouble keeping track of but interestingly enough did not. Nothing philosophical, not a deep read. The characters are shallower than most, think only of themselves and money; they are fleshed out, yet I didn’t like one of them. It is, however, well written, as was his book Benediction, which I also bought, read and enjoyed.

This is not a book I’d have chosen to read. An advance copy was given me and I was asked to review it. The cover alone put me off: a handsome, muscled, dark-skinned man shirtless before a colorful dusk desert sky – not something that would grab my fancy. However, once I was a third of the way into it, interest over-took me and I was eager to see how all these shenanigans were going to play out. My only real complaint is that the sex scenes could have been a little more descriptive. But then this isn’t porn, this is modern-day noir.
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