Tom Lutz handpicks four books a year and conducts an exclusive book club with LARB members. Books are shipped to your door in advance. The book club meeting is held on Facebook; the author joins the meeting for a day to chat with members; and all are sent an exclusive interview between Tom and the author, either by video or audio stream, and sometimes even for a live event.

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Our Current Book Club

The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir

Edited by Gary Phillips

“It’s a commonplace these days to say that real life has become so unpredictable that it outstrips anything anyone could dream up in fiction. I think I’m guilty of having made that banal observation a few times. But that was before I read The Obama Inheritance, a collection of 15 stories so sly, fresh and Bizarro World witty, they reaffirm the resiliency of the artistic imagination.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air

“Pulp fiction for the post-Obama era … Readers who enjoy political satire in its many varied forms will certainly enjoy this collection.” —ALA Booklist

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We hope that you enjoyed THE OBAMA INHERITANCE! Thanks to everyone for participating in the event and in the fantastic conversation.

The Facebook LIVE video is posted on the discussion page, along with some photos taken by one of our favorite book club members, Gerald Sato. Thanks, Gerald!

Please feel free to continue the discussion as there is still much to cover.

All Tom’s Book Club Members are welcome to join the conversation on the Facebook Page and if you have any questions about this book club or any of our other book clubs, send us an email at


In The Obama Inheritance, noir meets diverse voices, transforming the genre into an over-the-top, transcendental psychedelic thriller ride of pulpy goodness. In the tradition of satirical works of Swift and Twain, with nods to the likes of William S. Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, and Philip K. Dick, these tales contain vigilante First Ladies, Supreme Court judges who can clone themselves, races of ancient lizard people, and gear-popping robots of doom … and these are just the tame ones mashed up in the blender of fake news bots, climate change hoaxes, human-dinosaur cohabitation, and more.

The collection features work by famed crime-detective author and essayist Walter Mosley, critically-acclaimed crime novelist Gary Phillips, professor and former Department of Justice attorney Christopher Chambers, noir raconteur Andrew Nette, actor and novelist Danny Gardner, former Maine assistant attorney general Kate Flora, award-winning playwright and novelist Désirée Zamorano, the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master Robert Silverberg, and others.

In an era where the outlandish has permeated our media 24/7, where mind-bending conspiracy theories shape our views, The Obama Inheritance writers riff on the numerous fictions spun about the 44th president of the U.S. Although Obama himself does not appear in most of these stories, contributors spin deliberately outlandish and fantastic twists on many of the screwball conspiracy theories floated about the president during his years in office.


Editor GARY PHILLIPS is a critically acclaimed author of mystery and graphic novels (PeeplandViolent Spring, and Warlord of Willow Ridge). Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Phillips draws on his experiences from anti-police abuse community organizing and anti-apartheid activism. He was the chair of the Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color committee, and is president of the Private Eye Writers of America.

Participating Authors

DÉSIRÉE ZAMORANO delights in the exploration of contemporary issues of injustice and inequity in her writing. A Pushcart prize nominee and award-winning short story writer, her novel Human Cargo, featuring private investigator Inez Leon, was Latinidad’s mystery pick of the year. She is also the author of the acclaimed literary novel The Amado Women.

TRAVIS RICHARDSON has been a finalist for the Macavity, Anthony, and Derringer short story awards. His novella Lost in Clover was listed in Spinetingler Magazine’s Best Crime Fiction of 2012. His second novella, Keeping the Record, came out in 2014. He has published stories in Jewish NoirThuglitShotgun HoneyFlash Fiction Offensive, and All Due Respect. He grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

DANNY GARDNER enjoys careers as a comedian (HBO’s Def Comedy Jam) actor, director, and screenwriter. His debut novel, A Negro and an Ofay, is published by Down & Out Books. He is a proud member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers and is a regular blogger at 7 Criminal Minds. He lives in Los Angeles by way of Chicago.
We look forward to another stimulating, insightful, eye-opening Book Club.

Additional participating contributors include:

KATE FLORA, crime and mystery author
ADAM LANCE GARCIA, author and producer
ERIC BEETNER, crime fiction author
L. SCOTT JOSE, writer and publisher of crime, noir, and pulp
NISI SHAWL, science fiction and fantasy writer, editor, and journalist
LISE MCCLENDON, crime fiction, thriller, and women’s fiction author
ANDREW NETTE, writer, reviewer, and scholar of pulp, culture, and crime
CHRISTOPHER CHAMBERS, professor and former Department of Justice attorney
ANTHONY NEIL SMITH, crime novelist, professor, and chair of English at SMSU