Shep has been dealt a bad hand in life. Halfheartedly raised by a cold grandmother and chronically ill following his deployment in Desert Storm, he self-medicates with alcohol and daydreams of salvation at the hands of women—ultimately landing on one woman in particular: Lila, the young actress he believes is his daughter despite all evidence to the contrary. As Shep navigates the mystically rendered streets and strip malls of the San Fernando Valley with his only companion, his dog Lionel, he takes increasingly desperate measures to insinuate himself into her life.

Kinney’s precise and considered prose examines the insistence on reshaping the past through the lens of one’s own trauma and conceived desires as a means of moving forward. Why do we so often look for solace and redemption through others, pushing ourselves to do anything for them, even when it harms everyone involved?

Hot, gritty, swirling, hypnotic and sensual… an unhinged, sweetly sinister sun-baked noir; all danger, doomed love, and compassion.
— Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying
A stunning journey through the hard-beating heart of a California everyone needs to see and know, and now they can through Anne-Marie Kinney’s evocative, heartbreaking, hopeful and hilarious novel. Her landscape is singular, and her voice a welcome new addition to American fiction. I loved this book – and the people, and dog, in it.
— Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and Between Heaven and Here
Kinney’s beautiful writing propels this story of a traumatized Nebraska man navigating the diffuse loneliness of Los Angeles. Coldwater Canyon is haunting.
— J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest