An inventive, page-turning crime thriller set in an alternate United States during the height of the Red Scare—with shocking parallels to America in the 2020s.

USA, 1958. President Joseph McCarthy sits in the White House, elected on a wave of populist xenophobia and barely‑concealed anti‑Semitism. The country is in the firm grip of McCarthy's Hueys, a secret police force evolved from the House Un-American Activities Committee. Hollywood's sparkling vision of the American dream has been suppressed; its remaining talents forced to turn out endless anti‑communist propaganda.

LAPD detective Morris Baker—a Holocaust survivor who drowns his fractured memories of the unspeakable in schnapps and work—is called to the scene of a horrific double‑homicide. The victims are John Huston, a once‑promising but now forgotten film director, and an up‑and‑coming young journalist named Walter Cronkite. Clutched in the hand of one of the dead men is a cryptic note containing the phrase “beat the devils” followed by a single name: Baker. Did the two men die in an attack fueled by better-dead-than-red sentiment, as the Hueys are quick to conclude, or were they murdered in a cover-up designed to protect—or even set in motion—a secret plot connected to Baker's past?

In a country where terror grows stronger by the day, and paranoia rises unchecked, Baker is determined to find justice for two men who raised their voices in a time when free speech comes at the ultimate cost. In the course of his investigation, Baker stumbles into a conspiracy that reaches deep into the halls of power and uncovers a secret that could destroy the City of Angels—and the American ideal itself.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Beat The Devils by Josh Weiss blew me away. A brilliant alternate history, a riveting fifties-era noir crime caper, and an edge of your seat thriller—all wrapped into one! This is a stunning novel that takes readers for a mind-bending ride with elements that seem shockingly relevant in our current day and age."—Mark Greaney #1 NYT Bestselling Author of The Gray Man
"A thought-provoking dive into an alternative USA even weirder and wilder than our own. Weiss and his world-weary protagonist LAPD detective Morris Baker put the reader eerily at home in a twisted world of prejudice, privilege and murder, but amid the dark deeds there's hope and humour and heart. A fun, intelligent and satisfying read."—Ian R MacLeod, author of Wake Up and Dream
“Josh Weiss has announced himself as a bold new voice in the world of pulp noir fiction. One part Raymond Chandler, one part Philip Roth, a dash of Ben Hecht — and you’re about halfway there.”—J.D. Lifshitz, co-founder of BoulderLight Pictures and producer of The Vigil
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