Beat the Devils

Beat the Devils

February 10, 2023
10:00 AM - 10:30 PM

The Lessans Family Literary Series Presents:

Friday Fiction with Josh Weiss, Beat the Devils
Friday, February 10 | 10:30 AM | Free | Virtual – Via Zoom


The Lessans Family Literary Series is pleased to present the next installation of our four-part Friday Fiction series.  We are thrilled to welcome Josh Weiss for a virtual book club style program.  Josh will discuss his debut novel, Beat the Devils and will be in conversation with JCC community member and author Deborah Kalb.


In Josh Weiss’ alternate history of post- WWII America, Joseph Raymond McCarthy ascended to the presidency in the early fifties and is looking for ways to serve a third term. Anti-communism is all the rage, but antisemitism is also prevalent, just less overt.

Members of McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee now act as a quasi-military force, providing muscle in support of their president’s prejudice and racism. Operating in this toxic environment is Nazi concentration camp survivor Morris Baker, an LAPD detective who gets through his days by obsessing over his caseload and imbibing copious amounts of alcohol. Baker catches the case of his career when he receives a call about a double homicide involving failed movie director John Huston and an obscure journalist named Walter Cronkite. A note found on Cronkite’s corpse compels Baker to undertake a dark journey, where he is forced to confront the tragic events of his, and his adopted country’s, past.

Tight, well-paced, inventive, and inspirational, Weiss’ splendid debut is classic noir tinged with the slightest pinch of science fiction; readers can thrill to the bits of dissonant history they recognize, even as they revel in the mayhem and suspense that permeate the text.


Josh is originally from South Jersey. Raised in a proud Jewish home, he was instilled with an appreciation for his cultural heritage from a very young age. Today, he is utterly fascinated with the convergence of Judaism and popular culture in film, television, comics, literature, and other media. After college, he became a freelance entertainment journalist, writing stories for SYFY WIRE, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, and Marvel Entertainment. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his incredible wife, Leora; their adorable Cavapoo, Archie; as well as an extensive collection of graphic T-shirts, movie posters, vinyl records, and a few books, of course.