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Pick five: Deanne Stillman, Gigi Levangie Grazer and other L.A. author events this week

July 9, 2012 | 12:07 pm

Desert-reckoningCities aren’t  the only places where murder and menace live. Among Deanne Stillman's many works (“Mustang,” “Joshua Tree”), she has spent much of her writing career zeroing in on those desert places that have secrets just as disturbing as those found in more urbanized parts of Southern California.

First came Stillman’s “Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines and the Mojave”; now, in “Desert Reckoning,” she gives us a crime in the Antelope Valley and an unexpected criminal, who tries to evade arrest by heading out into the Mojave.

Skylight Books in L.A. features Stillman this week, while, for lighter fare, you might head over to Vroman’s in Pasadena for an event featuring Gigi Levangie Grazer, whose new novel, “The After Wife,” follows the mishaps and comedy of a 40-ish widow trying to restart her life in the sometimes surreal landscape of L.A.

As always, check with bookstores for event/venue changes or cancellations.


7/9, 7 p.m.: Sapphire (“The Kid”) discusses her work in conversation with Brighde Mullins, director of USC’s masters in professional writing program, Aloud Series at L.A.’s Central Library.

7/11, 7 p.m.: Carissa Phelps reads and discusses her new book, “Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time,” Book Soup.

7/12, 7 p.m.: Gigi Levangie Grazer discusses and signs her satirical novel about a widow starting over in L.A., “The After Wife,” Vroman’s.

7/14, 1 p.m.:  Stephanie Barbé Hammer reads and signs her new book, “Sex With Buildings,” Chevalier’s Bookstore.

7/14, 5 p.m.:  Deanne Stillman discusses and signs “Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History,” Skylight Books.

-- Nick Owchar