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Tod Goldberg books in order

Tod Goldberg is an American New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of mystery and thrillers.

He is known for writing books such as The Low Desert (2021), Gangsterland (2014), The House of Secrets (2016), and many more.

The holder of an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Bennington College, Tod is also a Professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

There, he likewise serves as the founder and director of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.

The co-host of the popular podcast Literary Disco, along with Julia Pistell & Rider Strong, Tod also writes other literary works which have appeared in several publications, including the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, and many more.

A recipient of the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, Tod currently lives in Indio, California with his beloved wife, Wendy Duren.

More about Tod Goldberg

Genre: Mystery

Born: 1971

United States


Non Series

  • Fake Liar Cheat (2000)
  • Living Dead Girl (2002)
  • The House of Secrets (2016)

Burn Notice

  1. The Fix (2008)
  2. The End Game (2009)
  3. The Giveaway (2010)
  4. The Reformed (2011)
  5. The Bad Beat (2011)


  1. Simplify (2005)
  2. Other Resort Cities (2009)
  3. The Low Desert (2021)


  1. Gangsterland (2014)
  2. Gangster Nation (2017)
  3. Gangsters Don't Die (2023)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Fake Liar Cheat

Lonnie Milton has all of life's essential accessory pieces: a 401(K) plan, a nice TV, a coffee table from Pottery Barn. The only thing missing is an actual life. Trapped in a dead-end job, Lonnie meets Claire, the perfect deliverance from his safe, boring, and even worse, ordinary life. Sucked into the swirling L.A. nightlife. Lonnie quickly graduates from Claire's admirer to her accomplice. 

Together they pillage the town's hottest spots, kissing cheeks with Hollywood's power players, show runners and stars at SkyBar and Spago before their mendacity runs out. Alone, Lonnie discovers he has become an underground legend, his actions spawning a cult following of imitators as he careens toward an inescapable, explosive climax.

In Los Angeles, it isn't who you are, it's where you're seated...

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0743400565
Publisher: MTV Books
Living Dead Girl

After his estranged wife disappears, a husband returns to the remote lake house where their young daughter died, and he soon loses his grip on reality.

Paul Luden has been haunted by a memory he can't recall. Whatever happened to his marriage, to his two-year-old daughter, is too traumatic to remember, so his unconscious has chosen to block out key details. But when he receives a phone call from the small lake town where they'd lived, telling him that no one had seen or heard from his wife in ten days, he knows what he has to do.

He and his nineteen-year-old girlfriend drive from L.A. to Washington State where he's forced to confront his past. And as he pieces together his buried memories, Paul unravels mentally, falls into self-destructive trances and ultimately discovers the truth about his wife.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-1616951672
Publisher: Soho Crime
The House of Secrets

A secret worth killing for, a woman with no past, and an act of treason that changed America.

"When Hazel Nash was six years old, her father taught her: mysteries need to be solved. He should know. Hazel's father is Jack Nash, the host of America's favorite conspiracy TV show, The House of Secrets.

Even as a child, she loved hearing her dad's tall tales, especially the one about a leather book belonging to Benedict Arnold that was hidden in a corpse.

Now, years later, Hazel wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing, not even her own name. She's told she's been in a car accident that killed her father and injured her brother. But she can't remember any of it, because of her own traumatic brain injury. Then a man from the FBI shows up, asking questions about her dad -- and about his connection to the corpse of a man found with an object stuffed into his chest: a priceless book that belonged to Benedict Arnold.

Back at her house, Hazel finds guns that she doesn't remember owning. On her forehead, she sees scars from fights she can't recall. Most important, the more Hazel digs, the less she likes the person she seems to have been.

Trying to put together the puzzle pieces of her past and present, Hazel Nash needs to figure out who killed this man -- and how the book wound up in his chest. The answer will tell her the truth about her father, what he was really doing for the government -- and who Hazel really is. Mysteries need to be solved. Especially the ones about yourself.

NB: Co-authored with Brad Meltzer.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2016
Ebook: B016JC0SKY
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Burn Notice

The Fix

Covert spy Michael Westen has found himself in forced seclusion in Miami-and a little paranoid. Watched by the FBI, cut off from intelligence contacts, and with his assets frozen, Weston is on ice with a warning: stay there or get 'disappeared.'

Driven to find out who burned him and why, he's biding his time helping people with nowhere else to turn. People like socialite Cricket O'Connor whose own husband has vanished, along with her fortune...

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2008
ISBN: B001FE4I76
Publisher: Berkley
The End Game

Ex-covert op Michael Westen has a new client: Paolo Fornelli is Helmsman for a yacht in the Hurricane Cup-a winner-take-all race financed by the super-rich and preceded by a week of highstakes gambling, high-risk business, and high-class attitude.

Now Paolo's family has been taken hostage, and if Paolo ever wants to see them again, he must make it to the final race-and lose. To find the kidnappers, Michael will have to infiltrate high society and enter a deadly game against deadlier opponents in a world where money isn't the only thing worth killing for...

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0451226761
Publisher: Obsidian
The Giveaway

Ex-covert op Michael Weston owes favors to Barry, the local money launderer. Now Barry wants to call those favors in.

Barry has a friend, Bruce, who is an ex-legendary gentleman thief. But with an ailing mother to support, Bruce has returned to his illegal vocation. Unfortunately, his most recent job involved stealing from the notorious Ghouls motorcycle gang, and they're looking for some serious payback. Unless Michael can convince them otherwise...

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0451229793
Publisher: SIGNET
The Reformed

Once a hard-case gangbanger, famous philanthropist Father Santiago is being pressured to aid his former gang or have his crimes exposed.

He can't go to the cops, but he can go to his old friend--burned covert operative Michael Westen.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B00475ARLQ
Publisher: Berkley
The Bad Beat

Michael Westen is still in Miami, trying to survive as a spy without a country. Brent Grayson is a nineteen-year-old college kid who claims to own a company that doesn't really exist.

And Michael has to save Brent's father from loan sharks and fend off sinister Russian businessmen who see every takeover as an opportunity to be hostile.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B004R1QPMU
Publisher: Berkley



From the author of the acclaimed novel Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, come twelve haunting stories about people caught somewhere between love and madness.

Simplify mines the often surreal terrain of people on the margins of life: from the man with a photo of Elvis bleeding on his wall in "Comeback Special," to the profoundly troubled boy genius of the title story "Simplify," to the family that must traverse "The Distance Between Us" to finally get to the truth about their son the murderer, each story hums with sharp drama, mystery, wonder, and startling humor. 

Simplify, the first collection of short fiction by Tod Goldberg, portrays a world where redemption, hope, and violence are never too far apart.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0976717713
Publisher: OV Books
Other Resort Cities

In ten seductive new stories, the author of Simplify and Living Dead Girl encounters the ruthless, vulnerable people who inhabit resort cities, along with their misdemeanors and felonies. A mobster hides out in Las Vegas posing as a rabbi; a casino cocktail waitress adopts a Russian teen in an attempt to outrun her loneliness; a disturbed husband sets up a Starbucks in his living room; a retired sheriff looks for his first wife's remains in the Salton Sea. Vibrant, moving, and often profound, Other Resort Cities is Goldberg at his best.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0981589992
Publisher: OV Books
The Low Desert

With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. 

The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1640095267
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC



Sal Cupertine is a legendary hit man for the Chicago Mafia, known for his ability to get in and out of a crime without a trace. Until now, that is. His first-ever mistake forces Sal to botch an assassination, killing three undercover FBI agents in the process. This puts too much heat on Sal, and he knows this botched job will be his death sentence to the Mafia. So he agrees to their radical idea to save his own skin.

A few surgeries and some intensive training later, and Sal Cupertine is gone, disappeared into the identity of Rabbi David Cohen. Leading his growing congregation in Las Vegas, overseeing the population and the temple and the new cemetery, Rabbi Cohen feels his wicked past slipping away from him, surprising even himself as he spouts quotes from the Torah or the Old Testament. 

Yet, as it turns out, the Mafia isn't quite done with him yet. Soon the new cemetery is being used as both a money and body-laundering scheme for the Chicago family. And that rogue FBI agent on his trail, seeking vengeance for the murder of his three fellow agents, isn't going to let Sal fade so easily into the desert.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1619025783
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Gangster Nation

It's been two years since the events of Gangsterland, when legendary Chicago hitman Sal Cupertine disappeared into the guise of Vegas Rabbi David Cohen. In September of 2001, Rabbi Cohen’s temple is thriving. The mortuary and cemetery―where Cohen has been laundering bodies for the mob―is minting cash. But Sal wants out. He’s got money stashed in safe-deposit boxes all over the city. He only needs to make it through the High Holidays, and he’ll have enough to escape Vegas, grab his wife and kid in Chicago, and start fresh.

Across the country, former FBI agent Matthew Drew is running security for an Indian-owned Casino outside of Milwaukee, looking for vengeance for the murder of his partner. So when Sal’s cousin stumbles into the casino one night, Matthew takes the law into his own hands―again―not knowing that the Native American mob, led by an enigmatic assassin named Peaches, plans to take over the Chicago Family. Into his crosshairs fall Sal’s wife and son, unprotected as the structure of the Chicago mob falls away.

When the horrible events of 9/11 occur, and the authorities move all of their resources to battle this new enemy, all the gangsters in the nation know they have free reign to run wild. This powder keg threatens to expose Rabbi Cohen, with the post-9/11 world closing in around him.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1640091061
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Gangsters Don't Die

Mafia hit-man-turned-rabbi Sal Cupertine is ready to get out of the life. But it’s not going to be easy. His once-brilliant plan to pass himself off as Rabbi David Cohen is unraveling. Enemies on both sides of the law are hot on his trail. His wife and son are unreachable in witness protection and are probably in danger. In order to find his family, get out of the desert alive, and salvage his long-sought-after happy ending, Sal is going to have to confront some very bad people from his past.

Native American kingpin Peaches Pocotillo has wrested control of Chicago’s mob family while expanding his criminal empire in the west, and now seeks to settle an old score with Sal. These two antiheroes have a history that stretches back decades, and the blood feud between Peaches and Sal will lead them to a violent showdown deep in the heart of the low desert.

As complications cast old revelations in a new light, including one that stretches back to the long-ago death of Sal’s infamous gangster father Dark Billy Cupertine, Sal must team up with some unlikely allies—and confront the reality of who he has become.

Author: Tod Goldberg
First Release: 2023
Ebook: B0BT92V8YV
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC