Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Sucker's Kiss

The Sucker's Kiss

A Novel

Alan Parker

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

From the highly acclaimed director of Midnight Express and The Commitments comes a sparkling story of a pickpocket's odyssey through America. During the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, seven-year-old Thomas Moran finds himself accidentally embarking on a career in pick-pocketing. In the following years he becomes a master of his dubious craft and grows to manhood traveling from state to state across America. His picaresque journey takes him through Prohibition and the Depression; into the desperate highs of the Hootchy-Kootchy and the dying vineyards of California, accompanied by an array of richly drawn characters frantically clutching at the crumbling American Dream. Italian and Chinese gangsters, con-artists, corrupt clergy, and speak-easy bootleggers all have a part to play in Tommy's destiny, but it is Effie, the great love of his life, who offers him the chance to change his future, and tries to save him from himself. Colorfully written, engaging and richly evocative of an extraordinary period in American history, The Sucker's Kiss marks the literary debut of a master storyteller.


Praise for The Sucker's Kiss

“Alan Parker is a master of historical perspective. In The Sucker's Kiss, he evokes early twentieth-century San Francisco with all the grit and ferment of a West Coast William Kennedy.” —T. C. Boyle

“Alan Parker has written an engaging, entertaining romp. . . . His rogue's story is funny, ebullient, and ultimately poignant.” —Kevin Baker, author of Paradise Alley

“Memo to Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild: Please go on strike more often. Why? Well, while you were picketing and protesting, a director and writer, Alan Parker, decided to write a hell of a novel, The Sucker's Kiss. You might expect Sir Alan to take as his territory England, particularly North London. He might have written of highwaymen and he chose instead the forty-eight states. There goes his picaresque hero, Thomas Moran, goaded into pickpocketing by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. After that the sky is the limit and two oceans his borders.” —Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes

“Triumphant . . . Parker has created a splendid character, an amiable, amoral rogue whom the reader cannot help rooting for.” —Daily Mail (U.K.)

“A gripping, entertaining, and finely wrought story to match the best of his films.” —The Independent on Sunday (U.K.)

“A thrilling and enjoyable read, filmic and brilliantly paced. As you might expect, Parker is a gifted storyteller.” —Scotland on Sunday (U.K.)

“A vivid, colorful, fast-paced, literary, and cinematic work, full of strong characterizations and wonderfully textured prose.” —Nottingham Evening Post (U.K.)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Alan Parker

Alan Parker---director, writer, and producer---directed his first film, Bugsy Malone, in 1975. His other films include Midnight Express, Fame, Birdy, Mississippi Burning, The Commitments, and Angela's Ashes. The numerous accolades for his work include nineteen British Film Academy awards, ten Golden Globe awards, and six Oscars. Parker was knighted in 2002 for services to the British film industry.

Alan Parker

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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