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About Ryan Leone
Ryan Leone grew up in Santa Barbara, California. He was expelled from three high schools for drug related offenses, spending much of his teenage years in and out of institutions. Despite these setbacks, he got several poems and short stories published in various anthologies. He was later accepted to a prestigious internship program in Boston for television writing but was quickly asked to leave because of his growing drug problem. He spent the next decade in innumerable jails and rehabs throughout the country. In 2008, after a two year federal investigation, he was indicted for his involvement in an international heroin cartel based out of Mexico. He spent four years in prison and wrote his first novel, Wasting Talent, during his incarceration. It was published in 2014, and he recently had an essay appear in Beatdom. Rehabilitated and off drugs, Ryan Leone currently resides in Los Angeles with his fiancé.
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Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent stands out as a shining example of survivor literature. Ryan's prose evokes lost giants like Hubert Selby Jr and Eddie Little. As art, and as inspiration, Wasting Talent delivers. Ryan Leone is the real deal!"
- Jerry Stahl, bestselling author of Permanent Midnight
"I feel I should write a disclaimer about Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent, like 'Don't try this at home.' So, I will: Don't read this at home. Go to a dark place where nobody knows you and read it by candlelight or by the flashing red lights of a police car. You'll find yourself falling off a cliff, right behind the author of this savagely honest journal that's both nihilistic and frighteningly, beautifully human. It's a seamless, masterful blend of substance and style that will scar you -- like the best writing does."
- Jim Uhls, screenwriter of Fight Club
" Wasting Talent is a book that grabs you by the neck and squeezes, written by a man who is that rarest of things: a capital-W-writer. Now, there's a lot of people out there with books, but let's face it: few of them can write. Ryan Leone, I'm pleased to say, can Write. His sentences come at you like bullets, blasts of hard-bitten, hard-won poetry - the kind of poetry that can only be written after risking a few rounds with the devil himself. Wasting Talent isn't a drug memoir, it's way more than that - its a man bearing his soul... and very few writers are brave enough to ever attempt that."
-Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City
"In the opening pages of his compelling and addictive new novel, Wasting Talent, Ryan Leone writes: "I didn't even have to say anything--true junkies have that sense." His needle-sharp prose is a relentless testament to the fact that Leone indeed "has that sense." Written from the dark underbelly of a society in desperate need of repair, Leone offers readers an authentic, rat's-eye view of the human condition. Told with a voice that refuses to be ignored, Wasting Talent is a courageous demonstration of a survivor's crucial talent never going to waste - even in the bottomless human wasteland it so brilliantly depicts."
- Jonathan Shaw, author of Narcisa
"Like describing your band as "funk with an edge," there are generally few labels worse than "defies definition." In the world of writing, it is only the rarest, most special of books that can pull this off. Wasting Talent by Ryan Leone is such a book. You can't call it a recovery memoir, and it's not exactly junkie lit. Crime? Thriller? Experimental? The bottom line: the work exudes enthralling, and the mutherfucker can flat-out write. From the opening bell, you know you are in the presence of greatness. Like his protagonist, Damien Cantwell, you can feel the abundance of talent (there's so much here that "wasting" a little becomes almost excusable). Leading a band of drug-addled misfits, Cantwell becomes the stand-in for every dreamer and exceptional screw-up forced to square peg these mundane round holes. Leone captures what addiction is really like.”
His music could have made Damien Cantwell the star of his generation.
But living fast has its consequences, and Damien soon finds himself spiraling into a dark world full of unfettered debauchery and brutal violence
The horrors of drug addiction are painted in sharp, biting prose in this novel about throwing away everything and finding that some things are too precious to lose.