For immediate release

January 21, 2014

Crowd-funded subscription publishing is a hit for L.A. noir historians Esotouric

WHO: Esotouric, L.A.‘s most eclectic bus tour providers, famous for The Real Black Dahlia and Raymond Chandler’s L.A., now publishers of noir period fiction.
WHAT: The launch of the Esotouric Ink imprint with a unique crowd-funding method supporting the printing of Kim Cooper’s 1929 L.A. mystery “The Kept Girl,” which stars the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe.
HOW: 65 Subscribers have stepped in to support this new L.A. publishing house, including The Huntington Library and UCLA Library of Special Collections.
WHEN: “The Kept Girl” is released 2/1/14 in paperback and e-book for Kindle, with Subscribers getting their deluxe copies before anyone else.
INFO:, contact Kim and Richard,, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- A few months ago, Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.‘s secret history, announced the launch of its new publishing arm: Esotouric Ink. The imprint is dedicated to revealing the lost lore of Southern California through beautifully-designed books calculated to appeal to Esotouric’s intelligent, deeply curious audience of passionate L.A. lovers.

A request went out to Esotouric’s fans that they participate in an old-fashioned crowd-funding method: The Subscription Model. Notable Subscription-funded books include John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad.” Inspired by early publishers who bypassed wealthy patrons to spread production costs among a select group of literate, engaged readers and collectors, Esotouric looked to its faithful audience to help bring the first Esotouric Ink book to life.

The Esotouric community responded eagerly, with a total of 65 Subscribers contributing $65 each ($75 for couples) to the costs of launching the new publishing company. In return, they get their names in every copy of the book, a digital reading copy, a deluxe special edition slipcase and an invitation to an exclusive Subscribers’ Appreciation event. Included among the Subscribers are two of Southern California’s most important repositories for rare books: UCLA Library of Special Collections and The Huntington Library.

The book that has the Subscribers so excited is “The Kept Girl,” the debut novel of Kim Cooper, co-author of the national Amazon bestseller “Fall in Love For Life,” author of the top selling 33 1/3 series book “Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’” and the creator of Esotouric’s true crime tours (The Real Black Dahlia, Pasadena Confidential).

A seasoned non-fiction writer, Kim fell into fiction through a series of unexpected discoveries. Several years ago, she received the gift of a rare, self-published pamphlet by a former LAPD officer, Thomas H. James. In “Chief Steckel Unmasked” (1931) James lashed out at corrupt civil servants and the atmosphere of vice that permeated Los Angeles. Intrigued, she researched James’ police career and discovered that he’d been a high ranking City Hall investigator who was demoted to beat cop for asking too many questions. He became famous for loudly critiquing his bosses while on duty at 7th & Broadway, the busiest intersection in town. Two blocks away, the young Raymond Chandler worked as an executive for the Dabney Oil Syndicate.

Could the forgotten Thomas H. James be the inspiration for the mature Chandler’s great detective anti-hero, Philip Marlowe? It was that question, combined with a real-life cult murder mystery that unfolded in the Dabney offices under Chandler’s nose, and through the telling of James’ story and the cult murder mystery on Esotouric’s bus tours, which inspired Kim’s debut novel. With its vintage Art Deco-style cover by acclaimed illustrator Paul Rogers, “The Kept Girl” reflects Esotouric Ink’s dedication to celebrating L.A. lore with a twist.

ABOUT THE KEPT GIRL: Los Angeles, 1929: a glittering metropolis on the crest of an epic crash. A mysterious prophetess and her alluring daughter have relieved an oil tycoon’s nephew of his fortune. But the kid won’t talk. To find the money, the old man calls on a trusted executive, Raymond Chandler, who in turn enlists the aid of his devoted secretary/mistress, Muriel Fischer, and their idealistic patrolman friend Tom James. Soon the nephew is revealed as a high-ranking member of a murderous cult of angel worshippers, and the trio plunges into an investigation that sends them careening across Southern California, from sinister sanitariums to roadside burger stands, decaying Bunker Hill mansions to sparkling cocktail parties, taxi dance halls to the morgue, all in search of the secretive Great Eleven. But when Muriel goes undercover to infiltrate the group’s rural lair, she comes face to face with disturbing truths that threaten to spoil everything, not just for the cult’s members, but for herself as well. A work of fiction inspired by actual events and featuring the real-life cop who is a likely model for the mature Chandler’s greatest creation, private eye Philip Marlowe, Kim Cooper’s “The Kept Girl” exposes a mystery so horrifying, it could only be true.

ADVANCE PRAISE: “A deeply researched and compulsively readable crime novel.” (Denise Hamilton, author of “Damage Control” and editor of the Edgar Award-winning anthology “Los Angeles Noir”)… “Kim Cooper is the perfect Virgil to 1929 Los Angeles… Her knowledge of the city that was is unparalleled, her imagination unnerving. Aficionados of noir Los Angeles will read ‘The Kept Girl’ with fascination and with growing horror.” (John Buntin, author of “L.A. Noir”)… “A delightful addition to this city’s literature. The effortlessness with which it borrows against the Chandler tradition while… retaining its unique intelligence and slyly contemporary flavor is just plain stunning.” (Matthew Specktor, author of “American Dream Machine”)… “Holy cats, this woman can write!” (David Kipen, editor of “The WPA Guide to Los Angeles”)

“The Kept Girl” by Kim Cooper is released in paeprback and Kindle from Amazon on February 1, 2014 from Esotouric Ink. Audiobook coming soon.

Upcoming Events (details at

February 9 – Noir at the Bar group reading at Mandrake, 2692 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90034-2604.

February 13 – Book release party and reading at Skylight Books, 1818 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. Sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Additional information, including sample chapter, can be found at and

Esotouric’s Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are available for interviews about Kim’s novel “The Kept Girl” and the launch of Esotouric Ink, Raymond Chandler, the “real-life Philip Marlowe” Thomas H. James and the bizarre intersection of the Great Eleven Cult with Chandler’s professional life in the oil business. Journalists on assignment can often be accommodated on the Esotouric bus. Contact Kim and Richard,, 213-373-1947

For review copy of “The Kept Girl,” please specify format if an e-book is acceptable (.epub, .mobi or PDF), or mailing address for a hard copy, and provide the name of outlet where the review will appear and proposed publication date to Kim and Richard,