Forest of Fortune tells the story of three haunted souls--an alcoholic, an epileptic, and a gambling addict--who try to turn their luck around at a decrepit Indian casino. But something's not right at Thunderclap Casino. As the three of them come to terms with the ways in which they are haunted by the past and struggle with their addictions, they must confront the malevolent force that won't rest until old wrongs have been made right.
Jim Ruland is the author of the award-winning novel Forest of Fortune and the short story collection Big Lonesome. He is also the co-author of Do What You Want, My Damage, and Giving the Finger. Jim writes for Razorcake—America’s only non-profit independent music zine. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Believer, Electric Literature, Esquire, Granta, Hobart and Oxford American, and has received awards from Reader’s Digest and the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Southern California.
Named one of "Six Must-Read Books to Finish Out the Summer" by Los Angeles Magazine
"Ruland combines dark humor with a thorough understanding of human frailty in this offbeat gothic gambling tale." --Kirkus Reviews
"Ruland brilliantly blends the darkly comedic crime fiction sensibilities of Charles Willeford with creepy paranormal undertones a la Dean Koontz in his addictively readable debut.... Powered by adept characterization, darkly lyrical prose, and an unexpected but oh-so-perfect ending, this is the literary equivalent of a slot machine jackpot." --Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
"The book is not quite a supernatural thriller, more like a stylishly written contemporary noir with some seriously weird overtones. Ruland's character design is impeccable; these are very real people, each with his or her personal issues to sort out and pretty much the unlikeliest heroes you'll meet for the next while. This one deserves a look." --Booklist
"A little spooky, very funny, and thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. Ruland writes with real aplomb and takes no prisoners." --Fiona Maazel, author of Woke Up Lonely
"Jim Ruland's debut novel Forest of Fortune celebrates casino luck, mostly bad. A tour de force about a casino's back rooms and environs, Forest of Fortune delivers on the seductive hardboiled territory of dread and despair. I'd bet plenty that you'll like this." --Terese Svoboda, author of Bohemian Girl
"American culture is now casino culture, as anyone with a mortgage or student loan or 401(k) knows all too well. Jim Ruland's terrific novel gets to the heart of the matter, his characters struggling mightily to keep their heads above water, to find something better, something more, in all the wrong places." --Scott O'Connor, author of Untouchable and Half World
"...captures the soul and voice of hard-luck, hard-living Americans in a way that conjures up earlier masters like Raymond Carver and Richard Ford. Jim Ruland has an uncanny ability to get inside his characters...." --Jerry Stahl, author of Happy Mutant Baby Pills and Permanent Midnight
"[A] masterpiece of desperation, delusion and misdeeds.... Ruland...brilliantly taps the fundamental irony of casinos.... A satisfying read." --Los Angeles Times
"Ruland's skillful prose...has an effortless grit and authenticity.... With both heart and wit in spades, and a few bold surprises up its sleeve, Forest of Fortune is a literary jackpot." --Fiction Writer's Review
"Stylishly inventive prose.... The novel explodes in an almost surrealistic climax.... Jim Ruland can write." --Blogcritics.org
"Jim Ruland's novel Forest of Fortune is one of the finest examples of the new golden age of literary crime fiction." --Largehearted Boy
"This is not your average casino story: ghosts, legends, and mystery darken and curl at its edges. Desperation and the humor in desperation run amok." --Los Angeles Review of Books
"Forest of Fortune comes highly recommended for its impressively effective characterizations that capture and maintain our interest.... Ruland...has now joined the ranks of emerging novelists to watch." --Bookgasm