Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lenny Kleinfeld’s “Some Dead Genius” Makes NPR’S “Best Books of 2014” List

imageSome Dead Genius

By Lenny Kleinfeld

Synopsis: The novel chronicles Chicago homicide detectives Mark Bergman and John Dunegan as they investigate the murder of a well-known painter and uncover a seven-yearlong trail of extremely talented corpses. Their hunt for a slippery serial killer is complicated by interference from their superiors, the FBI, a ruthless City Hall fixer and a brutal Mob boss.

“Actually, the best tag for this book is “Funny Stuff From The Dark Side For Art Lovers.” This is a Chicago noir: smart, edgy and profane (very profane) yet with the endearing quality of a major city that embraces the Cubs. Author Lenny Kleinfeld brings together a smart cop, a sleazy art dealer, outlandish artists and a hilariously stupid knuckle-breaker (and the capo who hates him) in a rollicking caper that you constantly think you’ve got figured out until you don’t. This book is fun. Loads of fun.”

recommended by Smokey Baer, All Things Considered staff

Click here to purchase Some Dead Genius.

“Clever, well-paced plot and terrifically real characters… A sharp insider’s look at the urban art scene, and an especially addictive narrative voice… There’s one thing more to point out while recommending the hell out of this book: The humanity of it. And that is so refreshing in a Gritty Urban Detective Yarn.” (Wayne Alan Brenner, The Austin Chronicle)

Thriller of the Month/July 2014–“There are cops, a psychotically brilliant business plan, dead artists, living artists, mobsters, an upstart FBI agent, corrupt officials walking City Hall, and an art dealer with skin a curiously Dorian shade of Gray.
 Set in modern-day Chicago, Kleinfeld’s style is slick and playful. The comedy is black and funny, the pace fast. His writing is cinematically visual. He captures in print what the Coen brothers do so brilliantly with their heightened realities on screen. Think plot-driven Tarantino, or The Godfather with wit.” (Sophie Scott, e-Thriller.Com)

“Let me tell you about Lenny Kleinfeld’s wild and witty Some Dead Genius. Kleinfeld’s fast-paced books are likely to appeal to fans of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. This hardboiled black comedy involves a series of artists’ murders investigated by the pair of smart, cynical cops. Chicago locations are put to good use; at one point, the cops pursue the killers through the Art Institute in an extended cinematic scene that could have been choreographed by Quentin Tarantino, had he channeled the Marx Brothers.” (Georgette Spelvin, Read Me

Some Dead Genius continues Lenny Kleinfeld’s romp through Chicago’s dark side that began in Shooters and Chasers. Again Kleinfeld takes readers to the edge of believability—this time through the art world— but manages to deliver the one-two punch of dark humor and beautiful prose that only an exceptional crime novel set in Chicago can manage. And SDG is exceptional. I recommend it highly.” —Libby Fischer Hellman, author of Havana Lost and Set The Night On Fire

“With his hardboiled black comedy Some Dead Genius, Lenny Kleinfeld has now written two of the funniest mysteries I’ve ever read. But more than funny, both books are tight, fast-paced, well-crafted crime fiction.” —Jeffrey Siger, author of the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Mysteries

“Kleinfeld is one of the most original and thrilling crime writers working. Some Dead Genius is a hilarious caper with more layers than a Jackson Pollock canvas. It’s Damon Runyon meets de Kooning.” —Jacki Lyden, NPR Host & Correspondent, and author of the international bestseller, Daughter Of The Queen Of Sheba

Lenny Kleinfeld

Lenny Kleinfeld

Lenny Kleinfeld’s first novel, Shooters And Chasers, was described in a starred Kirkus review as “a spellbinding debut.”

Back before he was spellbinding he was a playwright in Chicago, where he was also a columnist for Chicago magazine. His fiction, articles, humor and reviews have appeared in Playboy, Galaxy, Oui, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. In 1986 he sold a screenplay and is currently three decades into a business trip to Los Angeles.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Q & A with Danny Ramm, Co-writer of Joe Mantegna Helmed ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor; Airs January 21, 2015
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Emmy Winner Richard Thomas and Anna Chlumsky Set For Broadway’s YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, Beginning January 6, 2015
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Photos: BD Wong, Cindy Cheung, Brooke Ishibashi,Thom Sesma, Manna Nichols, Steven Eng, Ariel Estrada and Lori Tan Chinn at Leviathan Lab’s Ghost Stories Apple Video Podcast: New York Post Writer Michael Riedel Interviews David Byrne, Jaygee Macapugay, Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora of Here Lies Love
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Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Q & A with Playwright Camille Darby, 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Playwrighting Fellow
Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion, May 7–August 16, 2015
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee
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Photos: Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion on View through April 19, 2015 at New York Historical Society
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
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Photos: Artist Arlan Huang, One Brush Stroke at a Time
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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