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Material Things


Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst.  


Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface. 


The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.

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The Tipping Point of Oliver Bass


A pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in Spencer’s modern California noir debut.


Oliver Bass, 17, has been expelled from his fancy San Francisco prep school for talking back to his teachers, despite his historically high grade-point average. In his emotionally cold Pacific Heights home, where Oliver exhaustively reminds readers that his parents didn’t hug him enough as a child, his psychotherapist stepmother Lorraine decides to send Oliver to live with one of her patients for the summer. She believes that Oliver and said patient, Vance Briggs, will help one another grow, as the teen is still recovering from the fact that his mother killed herself when he was 5, and investigative journalist Vance is grieving the suicide of his wife and the loss of his son, Alex, in a car accident.


So Oliver goes to Venice, California, to meet the weed-smoking, light-beer–swilling Vance. Things get off to a murky start, as Oliver is threatened by an infamous Venice boardwalk vagrant and bats away a beautiful woman like a fly. Then Vance reveals that he thinks that his wife and Oliver’s mother were actually killed by others. This could simply be a whacked-out hunch, but then the two uncover a few clues, even as Oliver remains doubtful. Spencer is a former writer and producer of TV sitcoms , but his novel is cinematic—even sprawling. As a character, Oliver toes a curious line between Holden Caulfield and Philip Marlowe. 


"A page-turning mystery with a frustrating protagonist from a veteran storyteller. . ."

Kirkus Reviews 

"Spencer’s heartfelt noir opens with a moving description of the suicide of the narrator’s mother. He keeps the twists coming in the service of the relentlessly downbeat plot."  

BookLife- Publisher's Review