ICE PICK, a suspense novel set in 1938 Los Angeles
Donovan Daley is a Dust Bowl Okie working as an ice man, with a secret nighttime avocation as a burglar of rich homes. Wanda Kitchen is a radical Jewish union organizer, in Los Angeles to repair the local garment workers union. They have an unlikely romance. They also both have a grudge against Charles Rucker, a big-shot Nazi sympathizer and oil swindler.
They decide to steal Rucker’s ill-gotten money. But Rucker, who hates Okies and Jews, has his goons in the infamous Red Squad of the LAPD positioned to ambush them. Donovan and Wanda manage to steal the money and survive the ambush, but there’s a shootout and a siege in an abandoned hotel. Rucker is livid when the couple escape, his money with them.
The police, the Nazis and the Pinkertons scour Chinatown, Hollywood and the noir neighborhoods of thirties L.A looking for Donovan. Wanda is captured by Rucker. Distraught, Donovan desperately searches for her. There’s another shootout. Donovan escapes another ambush. But in this emotional thriller, which takes place in that tumultuous era just before World War II, tragedy strikes the couple and emphasizes the foolhardiness of their heist and their idealism.
ICE PICK is a serious novel with compelling characters who presage the social conflicts that will roil America for decades to come. Set just prior to World War II, it is steeped in ideological turmoil, institutionalized racism, technological change and the factional battle for the future identity of a great nation.
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“Donnie Dale is a prose magician in his gritty novel Ice Pick. He seamlessly conjures the hard-bitten world of labor activists, brutal gangsters, and entrenched racism and bigotry in 1930s LA, caught in the grips of the Depression. Dale brings two masterfully wrought characters into unlikely union, first through raw lust and then deepening affection and devotion. Wanda Kitchen is a young educated Jewish woman and an intrepid organizer for the Ladies’ Garment Union, while Donovan Daley is the Ice Man, a castaway from a failed family farm in Dust Bowl Oklahoma. Donovan possesses demonic strength, a volatile temper, and a noble savage’s sense of justice. Through a synergy of opposites, Wanda and Donovan combine forces against corruption in this violent, thrilling, and yet, at times, tender novel.”
—Jeffrey Greene, author of WATER FROM STONE and BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS.
“Donnie Dale’s Ice Pick is hardboiled L.A. noir, to be sure. It’s often violent and unflinching. (You’ll never see a pair of pliers the same way again.) But it’s a novel with a big heart and a good head as the love story of Donovan and Wanda unfolds to a blending of action and ideology that forever changes both characters, and the reader, as well.”
—Thomas Cobb, author of CRAZY HEART and the upcoming BLOOD IN THEIR EYES.
About the author of Ice Pick
A published novelist, writer for the film and TV industries and long-time freelance magazine writer, Donnie Dale earned a living as a writer all of his working life. At its core, his life has been about creativity. Stories about people, the human condition, the funny and awkward and tragic and joyful and horrifying lives around us—those are the stories he tells.